|Jowelle making election bid |
By VASHTEE ACHIBAR Sunday, August 31 2014
Prominent San Fernando hair-stylist, and animal rights activist Jowelle Taylor de Souza has been awarded the Humming Bird Medal Bronze. The national award is given to persons for loyal and devoted service to Trinidad and Tobago. In her case it is given for community service for her work as an animal rights activist.
Jowelle, who was born male, shot into the spotlight several years ago after undergoing what is said to be the first sex reassignment surgery in Trinidad and is well known for her outspokenness on national issues and her passion for animals.
Speaking at her Independence Avenue, San Fernando Hair Salon yesterday, Jowelle who paused from her work to sit down for the interview said she was delighted to know her work is being recognised.
“It means a lot to me, that they are awarding something of that nature. I am pleased. Animals are important to me. In first world countries animals are well-taken care of. ”
She was careful to point out that the award is not about her but what she is doing for abandoned animals. Jowelle is the founder of “Animals Alive” a shelter for over 300 dogs and cats and is located at Ralph Narine Trace, South Oropouche.
She said her objective is to save as many animals as possible that are abandoned or ill- treated. “We do not run a “kill centre”. Our animals are well cared for and we encourage adoption.
“I would also like to encourage volunteers to come to the centre to assist.” She said her staff of at least 12 persons work long hours to take care of the animals and that operating costs are high.
“I work hard and I hope that one day people would see what I am doing and join in.” She receives an annual subvention from government to help with salaries but says the bulk of the funding comes from her business. Jowelle who starts work at 6am said she works at least 12 to 16 hours a day. Some of her clients include former Attorney General Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj but she confesses to doing the hair of Presidents and other prominent persons including former US First Lady Hillary Clinton.
Jowelle said she is not fazed by negative comments that some may make about her sexuality. “ I would not change a single thing in my life and if I had to live all over again I would do exactly what I did before, she said. Among her plans for the future is to contest the San Fernando West seat as an Independent candidate in the 2015 general elections.