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Hazel Brown: Kamla’s victory an ‘important milestone’

By Cecily Asson Wednesday, May 26 2010

Social activist Hazel Brown yesterday issued a call to all women to give full support to Prime Minister-elect Kamla Persad-Bissessar and 11 other women who on Monday were successfully elected to Parliament. She said it was important for women not to waste the opportunity now before them.

“We finally got it, so we can’t throw it away now,” head of the Network of Non- Governmental Organisation NGO of Trinidad and Tobago, Hazel Brown said.

“It now puts pressure on all of us, especially to give support to our sisters in the House.” Persad-Bissessar is the political leader of the UNC.

She said the women in the People’s National Movement (PNM) should now do like the women of the UNC and begin transforming their political party.

Brown said: “There is a great need for the women of the PNM to lead that transformation.” The NGO’s have long been advocating female leadership and more involvement of women at the highest decision making level in the country. Their proposed campaign slogan would be “Put a Woman in the House.”

Out of the 26 women who offered themselves as candidates in Monday’s general elections, five women from the United National Congress (UNC) and six from the People’s National Movement (PNM) emerged victorious and very soon will take their place in the House..

Brown said: “ Her victory is a very important milestone that has been met in this country. There has always been doubt out there, over the capacity of a woman to lead, and it is natural to doubt.”

Persad-Bissessar led her party, the United National Congress (UNC) to a resounding victory over the PNM winning 29 - 12 seats and will create history today (wed) by becoming the first female leader of this country..

The women of the UNC in Parliament are Ramona Ramdial (Couva North), Stacy Roopnarine (Oropouche West), Nela Khan (Princes Town) Persad-Bissessar (Siparia) and Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan (San Fernando West).

The women of the PNM in Parliament Alicia Hospedales (Arouca/Maloney), Donna Cox (Laventille East/Morvant) Paula Gopee-Scoon (Point Fortin), Patricia McIntosh (Port-of- Spain North/St Ann’s West) Marlene McDonald (Port of Spain South) and Joanne Thomas (St Ann’s East).

Brown said women have always been leaders in communities and other sectors but have always been under represented in Parliament.

She said she wants to see next a female Mayor in Port of Spain and a female President of the Republic is the next step.

Newsday spoke to an overjoyed Ramdial who successfully fought and retained the Couva North seat which was last held by former UNC political leader Basdeo Panday. She told Newsday among her plans for the constituency is to help empower the women in rural parts of the constituency.

According to Ramdial, 30, a teacher by profession, women have never been taken seriously in some societies.

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