You are here
Caribbean countries would be better served by having women Prime Ministers
According to historical data, women can handle power! Janet Jagan, Eugenia Charles and Portia Simpson Miller, were all successful past women Prime Ministers of our Caribbean islands. They gave us the incentive to realise that women can and will take charge where and when needed. My partner and I strongly agree with the statement - Caribbean countries would be better served by having women Prime Ministers.
Janet Jagan’s life was motivated by a strong, caring concern for people; and the driving passion of her politics was the pursuit of their rights, particularly those of the poorer marginalised classes. Interestingly, Ms Jagan made a name for herself in those early days through her advocacy for birth control and family planning. She saw for herself how large unplanned families were an albatross around the necks of the poor. Ms Jagan did not care about possessions and was always willing to go out of her way to help others.
She was aptly awarded the Golden Medal for Peace, Democracy and Women’s Rights in tribute to the contribution she made in these areas and particularly for her strong advocacy for women’s rights in Guyana. After the death of her husband and colleague Cheddi Jagan, she was sworn in as Prime Minister of Guyana. With the advent of the 1997 elections, Jagan became the Presidential Candidate of the PPP/C and won the elections receiving a larger percentage of the votes than in the elections of 1992. With that victory she became Guyana’s first female to hold the highest office of the land from December 19, 1997. She was a woman who struggled all her life for the advancement of her country, her people and future generations. Ms. Jagan shows here how as a woman, she was able to identify and resolve problems surrounding families.
During Eugenia Charles’ time as Prime Minister of Dominica, she enabled the increase in adult literacy rates, expanded the number of secondary schools in the country, provided an education trust fund, a youth skills training programme, and initiated the Dominica State College. By 17 March 1981, Ms. Charles unveiled a plot to overthrow the government and it’s Dominican Freedom Party (DFP) by an armed mercenary group. In 1992, Eugenia Charles was given the title Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE), having been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Harare, Zimbabwe for her leadership and achievements.
She had retired in 1995 as Prime Minister after 15 years [1980-1995] of continuous popular re-election to office, based on service and leadership to that position and to her country. The Heads of the Caribbean Community awarded Dame Charles the Order of the Caribbean Community in February 2003. The OCC is the Caribbean’s highest and most prestigious honour. She was described as The Grand Dame of the Caribbean. Ms. Charles shows as a woman, her concerns about education and also her strength as a leader to be competent, as she was able to differentiate corruption.
Portia Lucretia Simpson-Miller developed a reputation as Road Warrior and a tough comrade. In 1970, she was appointed parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and in the office of the Prime Minister. She was Jamaica’s Leader of the Opposition and was the country’s seventh Prime Minister from 30 March 2006 to 11 September 2007. She was Jamaica’s first female Prime Minister. Portia Lucretia Simpson-Miller is also a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an International network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilise the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development. Portia Simpson-Miller has been described as one of Jamaica’s most popular politician having served in the Peoples National Party for 34 years. Ms. Simpson–Miller shows as a woman, her passion for egalitarianism.
Portia Simpson Miller created history by joining the likes of Margaret Thatcher, Dame Eugenia Charles, and Janet Jagan who represented their countries at the highest level of leadership in their countries. The world has described these women as being outspoken, sincere, firm, decisive, honourable, principled, pragmatic, incorruptible, tough, determined, strong-willed and quick on the retort. Women in general are strong and are more concerned about family, the environment and life in general. As innate nurturers, they have the natural ability in any and every role that they choose to serve in. Women are always better prepared. Their performance in positions of leadership and teamwork aspires towards excellence. We the people of the Caribbean need Prime Ministers who are keen about helping the region prosper and progress. We need women to take charge and start making changes just as Janet Jagan, Portia Simpson-Miller and Eugenia Charles did for the Caribbean in their time.
A woman - as a Prime Minister? Wouldn’t that show the young girls or young women of the Caribbean that anything is possible? It would give them the motivation to strive for better jobs, good education and most importantly, independence. The progress of Caribbean women is fundamental to the development of family life. A woman serving our very own countries can understand and articulate the problems concerning women, families, and by extension, society. Yes, indeed, we need a woman Prime Minister who can relate and address these issues. Why not make a superior change for the Caribbean? We are positive that a woman of great character could make a magnificent transformation in our Caribbean islands.
We need to consider that the men who have been in charge have failed us as is evidenced by the high increase in the crime rate and so much poverty just at our doors. As it appears, our male Prime Ministers lack the sensitivity that women were born with to deal with these matters. As a young woman along with my male partner, we strongly think that we need a Prime Minister to care about the country and more importantly the people they are serving. We need a woman to help our beautiful chain of islands become a better place. Women would definitely make better Prime Ministers, they are strong and highly concerned about what matters most. Why not make a better change? Caribbean countries would be better served by having women Prime Ministers.
Renessa Kangalee and Shane Layne
Arima Central Secondary School
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.