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T&T has first female Prime Minister

T&T has first female Prime Minister

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Kamla Persad-Bissessar created history in Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday afternoon when she was sworn in as the first female prime minister of the twin island republic.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr.Ralph Gonsalves, issuing congratulatory remarks to her the day before she took office, said she is doing so at a very challenging time in the region and the region will be looking to her for leadership.

On Tuesday, May 25, 2010, in the wake of the defeat of his close friend Patrick Manning, Political Leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM), Gonsalves described the victory of the People’s Partnership as remarkable.

The People’s Partnership comprises Persad-Bissessar’s United National Congress (UNC), The Congress of the People (COP), Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP), National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) and Movement for Social Justice (MSJ). The coalition romped home to victory after clinching 29 seats in Monday’s General Elections. The PNM had to settle for 12 seats.

Gonsalves used the press conference to also congratulate his friends in the People’s Partnership, including Winston Dookeran and Jack Warner.

On the importance of Persad-Bissessar’s role on regional issues, Gonsalves said: “In Jamaica the country is in a meltdown as a consequence of the issue involving Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke and the extradition matter. In Barbados, sadly Prime Minister Thompson is quite ill. In Antigua we see the challenges which we have there.” He said all this is happening at a time when the region has “real difficulties of an economic kind” consequent on the global recession.

The prime minister admitted that initially he had one concern about the coalition’s public policy, that of their commitment to regional integration.

This issue was addressed when a senior leader in the coalition told him not to worry as the coalition is fully committed to deepening regional integration.

“Everybody knows that Patrick Manning is my friend, but there is a new government in Trinidad and Tobago. I have a lot of friends also in the new government. I take the world as I find it and I will work very closely with the government of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar,” Gonsalves promised.

Gonsalves expressed that his administration has several issues to discuss with the new Government of Trinidad and Tobago.

The prime minister pointed out that there are some specific matters on which his administration would need some clarification on very early from the new administration.

“One, their continued role in a successor company for British American Insurance Company. You know we were discussing with them a possible US$100 million investment by them for which they get preference shares in this new entity,” said Gonsalves, disclosing that an agreement was reached in principle with Manning’s administration.

Assistance for the Argyle International Airport was also identified as another issue that Gonsalves intends to discuss with the new government, as well as the deepening union of the OECS.

Gonsalves disclosed that he will be writing Persad-Bissessar shortly, while being mindful that she cannot be crowded because of the load of issues she has to deal with.

The UNC chairman Jack Warner scored the most votes in the elections, 18,767, in which he secured the Chaguanas West seat for the People’s Partnership by the huge margin of 17,296. PNM candidate Ronald Heera mustered a mere 1,471 votes.(HN)

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