Women MPs’ group mourns Marlene McDonald

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Former Minister of Public Administration Marlene McDonald –

FORMER Minister of Public Administration the late Marlene McDonald, 64, was fondly remembered by a women parliamentarians’ group on Monday, while the PNM constituency of Port of Spain South launched three days of remembrance for it former MP.

The Women Parliamentarians of Trinidad and Tobago (WPTT) expressed its great sadness over McDonald’s passing.

“Ms McDonald was first elected as the MP for Port of South in November 2007, and, having won the seat at three consecutive general elections, functioned in that capacity for 13 unbroken years,” related the group. “During her terms in government, Ms McDonald was appointed to serve in several ministerial portfolios.”

These included the ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs (2007-2010), Housing and Urban Development (2016-2016), Public Utilities (2017),

Public Administration and Communications (2018), Public Administration and Communications (2018), and Public Administration (2018-2019).

“From 2010-2015, she served as the Opposition…Whip in the House of Representatives, and defined herself as an excellent co-ordinator of her team, leading to effective and productive parliamentary sittings.

“Her term of parliamentary service was defined by her passion for the development of her constituency, and for the women of the country.”

WPTT recalled McDonald as a cabinet minister, on the occasion of International Girls in ICT Day 2019, using her platform to encourage young women and girls to dare to dream, take up the challenge of contributing to the country’s development, and redefine how women-led ICT could affect how people live, work and play.

WPTT secretary, former Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial, said, “As an experienced MP and minister, she was always quick to lend advice to the younger women in Parliament. She will be missed by all who knew her.”

The WPTT statement said McDonald’s passing came during the group’s activities for 16 days of activism against domestic violence against women and girls.

WPTT president Bridgid Annisette-George, Speaker of the House of Representatives, reflected, “Former Member McDonald and I began our terms of service as parliamentarians and members of the Cabinet in November 2007, she as an elected MP and Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, and I, as a Senator and Attorney General.

“Our ministries collaborated to host a workshop on domestic violence in December 2008, to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.”

December 10, 2023 was the 75th anniversary of that declaration.

The intended outcome of the workshop was the establishment of a central domestic violence registry, to give teeth to the then existing legislation.

“In April of 2016, the Central Registry on Domestic Violence was officially launched, having been built upon the significant foundation laid in large part by Ms McDonald.

“Her energy, passion and solid leadership all strengthened the work of the Parliament, and her contributions are appreciated. May Marlene find eternal and peaceful rest.”

The executive and membership of the WPTT sent condolences to McDonald’s family, friends, colleagues and former constituents.

“May our sister rest in peace.”

The PNM Port of Spain South constituency is hosting three days of remembrance for McDonald. On Monday, it opened a register of condolences for friends, family and constituents to visit the MP’s office at 70 Piccadilly Street, Port of Spain to leave written tributes.

On Tuesday, city councillors will co-ordinate the lighting up of one dedicated street from each electoral district in the constituency to pay tribute to McDonald.

On Wednesday, a memorial service for McDonald will be held at Port of Spain City Hall at 7 pm.