Parliament signs MoU with women MPs

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Women Parliamentarians of TT (WPTT) secretary Ramona Ramdial, right, and public engagement officer, Senator Laurel Lezama Lee Sing listen to a point made during the organisation’s first quarterly meeting in the Parliament members’ lounge. Photo courtesy WPTT –

The Women Parliamentarians of TT (WPTT) held its first quarterly general membership meeting in late February to discuss its goals and objectives for the next year.

The meeting was held in the members’ lounge of the Parliament on February 24. Over 20 past and present members attended.

The WPTT’s mandate is to support and empower past, present and future women parliamentarians, and remove all socio-economic, cultural and political barriers to the effective participation and representation of women in Parliament, and other political decision-making spaces.

WPTT president, Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George, called for members to serve with enthusiasm, collaboration, and with a shared sense of purpose to make meaningful contributions that redound to the benefit of women and wider society, a WPTT press release said.

Four major agenda items were discussed at the meeting and they will set the tone and agenda for the year ahead.

WPTT projects and planning committee head, former education minister Hazel Manning, presented the projects and subcommittees for the 2023-2024 term, as approved by the executive.

Former independent senator Sophia Chote, SC, is the debate subcommittee lead; former housing minister Dr Emily Dick-Forde and Independent Senator Sunity Maharaj are the workshops subcommittees leads; former senator Jennifer Raffoul is the wellness retreat subcommittee lead; Social Development Minister Donna Cox is the lead for the end-of-term dinner subcommittee; and Manning is also the strategic plan development subcommittee lead.

The membership discussed a women’s debate which will be launched in March and will coincide with International Women’s Day. A total of 25 women aged 18-25, from various religious, ethnic, geographical, educational and social backgrounds, will be selected, mentored and trained in areas such as the legislative process, gender and sustainable development, advocacy, and diplomacy.

They will form the group to engage in the parliamentary-style debate in July.

It was agreed that the WPTT will engage in a public education campaign to highlight specific and relevant existing governing legislation to inform and educate society on the content, dictates and reach of the law. This is also meant to empower women particularly so they are aware of what obtains legally in various spheres of national life.

This initiative will be led by the WPTT’s public engagement officer and Senator Laurel Lezama Lee Sing, who leads the public engagement committee.

During the meeting, a MoU was also signed between the Office of the Parliament and the WPTT which will actualise co-operation in areas of common interest. Clerk of the House Brian Caesar and Annisette-George were signatories to the MoU.

The WPTT’s official logo was also unveiled and presented to the membership.

The WPTT’s executive includes president Annisette-George, vice president Lyndira Oudit, secretary Ramona Ramdial, treasurer Gail Merhair, Senator Lee Sing, Manning, and mentorship and training officer Senator Dr Maria Dillon-Remy.