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Ramdeen to women: Respect yourselves

By Cecily Asson Sunday, March 9 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Leela Ramdeen, stands  with Debra East,  Captain of the Girl Guides at  St Joseph  Convent, San Fernando yesterday at Harris Promenade at an event com...
Leela Ramdeen, stands with Debra East, Captain of the Girl Guides at St Joseph Convent, San Fernando yesterday at Harris Promenade at an event com...

AS THE world celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) yesterday, here at home, Chairman of the Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ) Leela Ramdeen called on women to have respect for themselves as she lamented the behaviour of women at the just concluded Carnival celebrations.

Ramdeen said: “To boost your self esteem does not mean showing everything you have to the world and at Carnival time this year, I am afraid that is what happened. Women have a duty to respect themselves.”

She was speaking to students of St Joseph’s Convent, San Fernando who, in collaboration with the Pro Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) and the CCSJ, commemorated International Women’s Day on the Bandstand Harris Promenade with an interactive mural and chalk art session. The theme for the two-hour session was “Creating the Virtuous Woman — the Proverbs 31 Model.” Ramdeen was the feature speaker.

“As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, I really make a plea to women to think about their behaviour. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and that means we have a duty to look after it and not expose it and behave in such a way. My heart went out to the little ones who were looking on at so many women behaving badly at Carnival time,” she said at the event.

Ramdeen said the vulgar behaviour which Archbishop of Port-of-Spain Joseph Harris and Port-of-Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee referred to last week, did not start overnight and “has been coming for years.”

“Somehow these same women would go to their churches, their mosques, their temples, wherever, they belong to our society. We need to build strong people, people that have respect for themselves.

You cannot demand respect when you don’t have respect for yourself.”

Ramdeen also commented on statements by Legacy’s bandleader Mike “Big Mike” Antoine and Ronnie McIntosh who leads the band “Ronnie and Caro”, both of whom said in report in yesterday’s Newsday that the focus should not be on vulgarity, but on crime instead and that women who exposed themselves were “not from Trinidad.”

“I disagree with the two bandleaders. We have to build a nation of dignified people, people who can play mas without the vulgarity that exist. Many of the female masqueraders live right here in Trinidad and our task is to get them to realise that it is not going to take them forward. We are making retrograde steps by doing that.”

Ramdeen advised the teenaged students to let change begin with them by using ordinary situations.

Referring to Rhonda Maingot, founder of the Living Water Community, as an example, Ramdeen said that though born into wealth, Maingot gave up all out of concern for the social ills around her and together with Rose Jackman founded the community whose work is well know throughout the Caribbean.

She also made reference to women like the late Pat Bishop and Corinne Baptiste McKnight.

“Let people know you and be inspired by you because of your works.”

Yesterday’s forum was also attended by OLPH parish priest Msgr Christian Pereira, Ag Principal of St Joseph Convent Jennifer Manwaring along with other staff members and members of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)..

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