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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Trinidad & Tobago PM - takes oath on Bhagawad Gita


We should feel most cherished and happy on reading this news item ! 

Barely 24 hours after she was sworn in as the first woman prime minister, she donned a life jacket and waded into the flood waters to tour areas affected by torrential rains sweeping across her Nation.  Later she was to make an emotional ‘pilgrimage’ to her ancestral village Bhelupur. She tried to fight back her tears but failed. As tears rolled down her cheeks, the ‘granddaughter of the soil’ entered her ancestral home and hugged women relatives in this remote and dusty village  [do read my earlier post : http://www.sampspeak.in/2012/01/premier-from-bhelupur-buxar-trinidad.html] .  Her Nation, a Republic became independent of Great Britain on August 31, 1962. At midnight on August 30, 1962, the Union Jack (British flag) was lowered and the island  Nation’s was raised for the first time.

If you are wondering who she is ?  - it is Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the seventh person to hold this position. She was sworn in as Prime Minister on May 26, 2010 and is the country's first female Prime Minister.  She leads the People's Partnership, a coalition of five parties, formed for the general election of 24 May 2010.  The twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, known for warm beaches and its wild annual Carnival celebration,  broke the glass ceilings  electing its first female prime minister.

The landslide victory of the coalition led by her United National Congress (UNC) party in last month's election has brought a sense of euphoria and feeling of hope to this incredibly wealthy republic.  Trinidad and Tobago has sailed smoothly through the global recession, cushioned by a sea of oil and natural gas. The squandering of billions of dollars by the former government and alleged corruption helped bring this 58-year-old grandmother-of-two into power. She unseated former PM Patrick Manning whose People's National Movement (PNM) party had governed the country for 42 of the 48 years since its independence from the UK. 

Trinidad and Tobago officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean, sharing maritime boundaries with other nations including Barbados, Guyana, Venezula – and some of these Nations are well known to those of us following Cricket, especially that of Caribbeans.   The island of Trinidad was a Spanish colony from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1498 to the capitulation of the Spanish Governor, Don José Maria Chacón, on the arrival of a British fleet of 18 warships on 18 February 1797.

Its present day cricketers include – Daren Ganga, Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons,  Kevon Cooper, Dwayne Bravo, Ravi Rampaul, Denesh Ramdin, Samuel Badree, Sunil Naraine, Amit Jaggernauth and the mercurial Kieron Pollard.  Famous players of yesteryears would include – Ian Bishop, Mervyn Dillon, Larry Gomes, Gus Logie, Deryck Murray, Sonny Ramdhin, Jeff Stollmeyer, West Hall and Brian Lara. 

Upon getting elected as the Country’s first Prime Minister, greetings poured in from and around the World.  She said her focus would be on  "dealing with the people's business" as the  most important task at hand -  she told her 1.3m citizens during the live televised address of her historic swearing-in ceremony.  An attorney by profession, Ms Persad-Bissessar is no novice to politics having been the MP for her area Siparia, a rural town in the south of the island, since 1995. In the last 15 years she has weathered many political storms, even as she broke gender barriers.
Trinidad PM with Bhagavad Gita - photo courtesy : bbc.co.uk

The swearing-in ceremony was significant to us, as she swore on Bhagavad Gita, the holy book, promising to do her duty to her people.  A descendant of Indian indentured labourers who came to Trinidad to work the sugar plantations from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar between 1845 and 1917, Ms Persad-Bissessar grew up with traditional Indian values and strong religious ties. Ms Persad-Bissessar has shown admirable political savvy, openly courting the media and reacting swiftly to public opinion.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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