News day / OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, this country’s first female prime minister, wrote a letter on the weekend to former Appeal Court judge Paula Mae Weekes, exhorting her to “go brave”, as she prepares today to take up the mantle not only as this country’s sixth President but its first ever female Head of State.

On the eve of what will be a momentous and historic occasion for our beloved country and indeed, yourself personally, I feel moved to express the enormous amount of joy, hope, optimism and great expectations I have for your Presidency, Persad-Bissesssar told Weekes in her letter. Having spent five years leading Trinidad and Tobago as Head of Government and as its first female Prime Minister, I feel especially privileged to witness the elevation of your good self to a similar history making moment.

There was a general feeling that my elevation to the office of Prime Minister augured well for the future of women and girls in our nation in relation to leadership and empowerment. Your Presidency is undoubtedly both a reflection of this as well as a marked and welcome continuation of this progressive development, the Opposition Leader wrote.

Permit me to share with you a key realisation which came to me very early in my tenure as Prime Minister, for I respectfully believe it may serve as a guidepost to your good self. The simple truth is that despite my election as the first female Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, this additional title was but a welcome accessory to the job of Head of Government.

The role of Head of Government, as I quickly realised, was a responsibility that was much bigger than being the first female Prime Minister. The job as Head of Government required much more than the empathy, compassion and maternal instincts which are amongst(what I like to think) are my hallmark traits as a politician.

This role in fact demanded of the office holder an unquestionable and unwavering love for country and a resolute commitment to advancing the interest and welfare of each and every citizen of our Republic, above everything else. It required a steadfast vision and a strong will to work towards transforming our nation so as to benefit and uplift the lives of all the people whom we have the privilege to serve. So too does the role of Head of State.

Madam, I once stood in shoes very similar to those that you wear today and I understand you commitment as well as any concerns and anxiety that you may be experiencing, but I urge you to continue to have faith in God and in yourself and to take heart in your own remarkable life story of achievement and successes, and let that guide your tenure, Persad-Bissessar said.

The Siparia MP continued saying that as Weekes takes her Oath of Office, this represents a spark of “hope” in our nation beleaguered with crime, failing institutions and mayhem.

Restoring a true sense of impartiality, she said, non-partisanship and social justice for all is anticipated by right thinking citizens who know that Trinidad and Tobago can be so much better than what we are today. I wish you well on your journey.

I assure you too, that once you act in the best interest of our nation, you will never walk alone once it is in the pursuit of excellence on behalf of those you swear to serve. I wish you strength, wisdom, courage and God’s richest blessings and guidance as you embark on this new season in your life and in the life of our blessed nation. GO BRAVE, Persad-Bissessar said.


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