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Coudray: Why no honour for Kamla?

By LAUREL V WILLIAMS Monday, March 10 2014

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DISAPPOINTED: Local Government Minister Marlene Coudray at a civic reception at the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation on Saturday. ...
DISAPPOINTED: Local Government Minister Marlene Coudray at a civic reception at the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation on Saturday. ...

LOCAL Government Minister Marlene Coudray has expressed disappointment at a regional corporation for “missing the opportunity” to honour this country’s first female Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on International Women’s Day.

Coudray was delivering the feature address at the 11th Annual Civic Reception and awards ceremony on Saturday (International Women’s Day) hosted by the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation at Rampersad Brothers Baneh, Raju Trace, San Francique Road, Penal.

A total of 71 students received awards for academic achievements while 11 persons including ten males and a female also received awards for their contribution to community service. Seven retirees were also honoured. Theme of the event was “Recognising Excellence.”

“I looked at the list of awardees and was disappointed that we only had one woman (Usha Rampersad-Gokool). To my mind this corporation missed the opportunity today, particularly of all days International Women’s Day, to really acknowledge our first female Prime Minister for all she has done for us,” Coudray said. The Prime Minister is also from the Penal/Debe region, but was absent for the awards ceremony on Saturday. Coudray praised Persad-Bissessar saying that as a woman and first female political leader, she had to endure many negatives.

Coudray added that it was her view that the Prime Minister had to struggle more than any other male Prime Ministers all because of her gender. Coudray further said that she was not taking anything away from the men who received their awards but added she was was a woman at their sides through it all and that was what enabled them to achieve.

She noted that many students from the Penal/Debe region attend schools in San Fernando. “It is a tremendous achievement for the students because of the rural neglect these communities faced. I was appalled when I visited this area and saw the level of neglect. Despite all the challenges faced, you were able to achieve and excel. I commend you greatly for this. You have learnt early to live with challenges,” Coudray told the students.

Among the officials who attended the ceremony were Member of Parliament for Oropouche West Stacy Roopnarine; corporation CEO Raymond Seepaul; corporation chairman Premchand Sookoo and councillors.

Coudray charged that while Roopnarine is a role model for students, “the greatest role model of all is the Prime Minister.” She said her ministry intends to do all within its power to support the Penal/Debe Corporation as well as all Local Government bodies in the country. This she said was to achieve the fullest potential and to continue to achieve the outstanding achievements.

She challenged the corporation as well as the NGO’s in the community to build a centre for women and promised to communicate with Gender Minister Clifton De Coteau, for the project to be advanced within the next 12 months.

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