Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 10th 2014 Contents A9
Monday, March 10, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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At a function to honour students and com-
munity leaders on Saturday night, officials
of the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation
(PDRC) were criticised by Local Government
Minister Marlene Coudray for failing to pay
tribute to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar for International Women s Day.
In the feature address at the PDRC s 11th
annual Civic Reception and Awards Ceremony
at Rampersad Brothers Ranch, San Francique,
Coudray said Persad-Bissessar, who lives in
the region, should have been acknowledged
for the work she has done for women and
"I am happy to be in this Penal/Debe region
that bred our first woman political leader and
first woman prime minister of Trinidad and
Tobago, the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
I looked at the list of awardees and was extreme-
ly disappointed that we have just one woman.
"Penal Debe Regional Corporation missed
the opportunity today, particularly of all days,
International Women s Day, to really acknowl-
edge our first female prime minister of Trinidad
and Tobago, particularly for all that Kamla
Persad-Bissessar, our honourable prime min-
ister, has done for not only the people of this
country, but particularly for the women of this
country. Prime Minister, I salute you even
though you are not able to be here."
Coudray said as a female prime minister
Persad-Bissessar has had to struggle more than
any of her male counterparts.
Ten men and one woman were awarded for
community service and Coudray said many of
the men had a woman at their side. She chal-
lenged the PDRC and NGOs in the region to
establish a shelter for women and children in
honour of Persad-Bissessar.
Coudray said during her tenure as Gender
Youth and Child Development Minister, she
had identified an area for the shelter and was
willing to provide the details and speak with
the current minister, Clifton De Coteau, to get
the project started.
The minister also praised the 53 students
who were honoured for their achievements in
last year s Secondary Entrance Assessment
and winning national scholarships.
"It is a tremendous achievement for these
young people. Tremendous I say because of
the rural neglect these communities face.
Despite all of the floodings and challenges you
faced, you were able to leave your homes and
go to various schools as far as San Fernando
and you were able to achieve and excel. I com-
mend you greatly for this and encourage you
to continue," Coudray said
store I m in has
no paper napkins.
In fact, most of
the shelves are
empty. The store
that Trinis over
here this weekend
I enter another
grocery a little fur-
ther on. Three
tourists by the window are exclaiming about some-
thing, but, focused on finding what I need, I don t
look up to see what is amazing them.
At the cash register, the cashier s comment to his
friend connects the dots: "You eh wanna ketch dat
"Nah, dat too small. "
I look outside. A camera-wielding male tourist is
tiptoeing like David Attenborough behind a young
iguana in a patch of grass near the carpark.
The cashier makes a comment about how the iguana
must be an appealing sight to tourists. I look up again
and see one of the female tourists also advancing
gingerly toward the reptile, a wide smile on her face
as she positions her "point-and-shoot."
I wonder if they are aware that their exotic green
model may one day be the wild meat in someone s
My two-person restaurant, Table for Two, is veg-
etarian, so no chance of iguana being on the menu.
I return home and continue preparing the meal and
personalised experience for the young London couple
who will be tonight s diners. They arrive at 6.30 pm
and the night, their last in Tobago, progresses won-
I don t usually do this, but I offer to
take them back to their hotel, which
isn t too far away. As we hit the road
and I see a multitude of cars parked
along the sides of the highway, I wonder
if something has happened, knowing
how some T&T citizens like to park,
walk and maco car accidents.
Then I remember...it s Carnival Tues-
day night. Maybe the couple should
have called a taxi after all. My heart
drops as I envision myself trapped in
long lines of traffic to get back home.
Some may wonder how I could forget
it was Carnival Tuesday, but, immersed
in my have-to-dos and want-to-dos,
with little or no sign of Carnival in the
areas I have frequented alone or with
friends all weekend (Lambeau, Buccoo,
Bon Accord, Orange Hill), it has been
easy to experience this as just another
long weekend on which there is more
traffic, since Trinis are here.
Up ahead, policemen in fluorescent
vests direct traffic off a part of the high-
way that now belongs to a band of
happy, mud-caked revellers.
To ease me up from a potential grid-
lock and perhaps also to experience the
last glimmers of Carnival before flying
home, the cheerful couple says: "We
can walk from here." We say our good-
byes, thank yous and bon voyages and
I drive home on a clear road.
The day after, Ash Wednesday, I am
in Scarborough just after 8 am, to pay
bills. The roads are quiet and clean. As
I walk, I see scant evidence that Carnival
was here mere hours ago: garbage bags
neatly stacked at the roadside, one dusty
red feather, tents in the carpark near
the Botanical Gardens, a squashed mas
standard with large green sequins, the
strong stench of urine along a lengthy
I breeze through virtually nonexistent
lines at TSTT and T&TEC, thankful to
those who are at home nursing hang-
overs, sleeping late or partying at a Car-
nival cooldown fete somewhere.
Later, a small truck carrying pans
crawls before me on the road. It has a
tired, content aura about it. I slow down
as it turns into the panyard.
Another Carnival has come and gone.
Coudray criticises PDRC officials
The long weekend in bags.
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