PNM Women's League 41st Annual Conference

A token of appreciation presented to Mrs. Hazel Manning (R)
A token of appreciation presented to Mrs. Hazel Manning (R) Reporters
Event Date: May 25, 2008
Posted: June 10, 2008

The PNM National Women's League 41st Annual Conference was held on Sunday 25th May, 2008, at St. John's Hall, Port of Spain, in front of hundreds of people, mainly women, who wore white symbolizing the league's solidarity. The theme of this year's conference was "Empowering Women to Manage their Economic Future" and several speeches and reports were delivered in this light.

Ambassador Joan Yuille-Williams, Deputy Political Leader of Party and Election Matters, formally opened the address in her usually relaxed style followed by opening remarks by Lady Vice-Chairman Mrs. Magna Williams-Smith. The minutes of the 40th Annual Conference were then read by Councillor Denise Aleong-Thomas followed by presentation of reports by the various members of the executive.

The election of offices for 2008-2009 was presided by Mayor Murchison Brown who wore the hat of presiding officer. Some of the results of the elections which were held privately are as follows: Fist Vice-Chairman, Honourable Eulalie James; Second Vice-Chairman, Mrs. Anna Acosta-Smart; Third Vice-Chariman, Mrs. Valerie Achille; Secretary, Mrs. Marva Bostic; Assistant Secretary, Samantha Felix; Treasurer, Irene Hinds; Education Officer, Councillor Janice Wallace-Henry; Welfare Officer, Mrs. Angela Vincent; and Public Relations Officer, Honourable Penelope Beckles.

Guest speaker, The Honourable Karen Nunez-Tesheira MP, Minister of Finance, spoke on the main theme of female empowerment and managing their economic future. She began by intimating that behind every good person, male or female, is a good woman, giving her own spin to an old adage. She continued that women's economic future is their economic independence and stressed that choice - choosing to stay at home or to develop careers - is the key to economic independence. Nunez-Tesheira also stressed that the PNM has given women the opportunity to further their education and thanked the political forefathers for this. This view was backed by Nafessa Mohammed who expressed that women have constitutional rights which grants privileges equal with men.

Although the exciting mood of the crowd had waned after lunch, the womenfolk were happy to hear from their political leader, the Honourable Patrick Manning, who gave the feature address. The Prime Minister jokingly began by expressing that "I like women," and left it up to the audience to derive any connotations which they may have perceived. Prime Minister Manning in his address chronicled the many victories of the PNM throughout the length and breadth of his speech, while also taking the credit for shattering the glass ceiling for females in Trinidad and Tobago. Manning also boasted of having as many as forty-one female candidates in the 2007 General Elections and claimed that they were chosen because they were good and not because they were of the opposite sex.

Addressing the controversial UDeCOTT, Manning stated that we can use this company as a model for development because of its track-record of success. He also maintained that he agrees that there must be transparency and accountability in public affairs and it was for this reason that he agreed to probing by a Joint Select Committee, which, in his view is a speedier and superior process than a Commission of Inquiry. A Commission of Inquiry, he believes, would only frustrate the will of the public. He also emphasized that the preference of the Joint Select Committee to inquire into UDeCOTT was a Cabinet viewpoint and not just the viewpoint of the Prime Minister. He believes that this was not stated by the media and he asked that the media be fair in their reporting.

Following the Prime Minister's address was the presentation of awards and tokens to outstanding members of the PNM Women's League. The vote of thanks was then given by Assistant Secretary Mrs. Marva Bostic who bid the gathering farewell after a full day of activities.

PNM Women's League 41st Annual Conference in pictures:

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