At least one admission made by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves on Asbert News Network’s latest ‘One De Spot’ installment has caused some debate amongst social media commentators.
PM Gonsalves was responding to a question regarding his Unity Labour Party’s succession plans post elections 2020. He said, “I have a democratic party and I have been training good young men unfortunately I don’t have a young woman inside yet of the stature and quality of Camillo [Gonsalves] and Saboto [Caesar] but they coming along.
“I’m telling you, you notice how during this period of COVID and for quite some time now, you notice how I’m letting – you see Saboto and Camillo moving their thing and the humble African [MP Fredrick Stephenson] himself in this period with all his social safety net thing; Luke his profile rising with the health thing with COVID and so on.”
One day following the wide-ranging interview, a post appeared on social media based activist Adriana King’s Facebook feed which read, “the PM said there is no young woman in the party of the stature of Camillo & Saboto.” Amidst the comments on that thread was an observation believed to be made by one ULP agitator Kezron Walters.
That post read, “no young woman similarly positioned. Stop lying. Is Debbie [Charles] or Minerva [Glasgow] a contemporary of Saboto or Camillo? To which Adriana is believed to have responded, “bravo! That is a brilliant point to make.
A party that does not encourage the growth of young women! I love it.”
Walters’ supposed comeback was a quick reminder of some of the young women who served the Unity Labour Party particularly as politicians over its almost 2 decades of being in charge of SVG’s political affairs.
He allegedly wrote, “Adriana King, of course the party does. It has had many young female senators over the years including Rochelle Forde, Michelle Fife and Andrea Young.
And there will be many to come. It’s why the majority of youth in SVG support the ULP.
According to CaribbeanElections.com Rochelle Forde is a lawyer and former parliamentarian in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Forde qualified as a Barrister-at-law and Solicitor having completed her course of study in London at the Inns of Court School of Law.
She was appointed a Government Senator and Deputy Speaker from 29 December 2005 to 29 January 2010, under the Unity Labour Party administration. Forde is legal advisor to several Local Authorities and companies and is Counsel for an indigenous Banking Institution.
Michelle Fife, that same site also reported, won the 2001 Miss SVG Pageant and took advantage of the scholarship to obtain a first rate education and launched her distinguished career.
She received an Honours Degree in Law from the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill Campus) and obtained her LEC and Barrister qualification from the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica; after she’d graduate of the Girls High School and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College.
Fife was called to the bar in Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2007. “Upon returning home, she committed herself to public service. She worked as a Crown Counsel in the Attorney General’s chambers for two years. During those two years, she worked to put criminals behind bars in the office of the Director of Public Prosecution.
She also worked to ensure that Vincentian entrepreneurs and businesspeople were protected during her tenure as Acting Registrar of Commerce and Intellectual Property. Fife was appointed a Government Senator and Parliamentary Secretary from 19 January 2010 to 9 November 2010, under the Unity Labour Party administration. She unsuccessfully contested the West Kingstown seat in the 2010 general election for the Unity Labour Party (ULP) losing to Daniel Cummings of the New Democratic Party (NDP).”
In November 2014, Andrea Young took up office as High Court Registrar in the aftermath of controversy surrounding, Tamara Gibson-Marks, her immediate predecessor’s reported embezzlement of monies entrusted to her care. Hitherto, Young was a senator for the Ruling Unity Labour Party from 2001 to 2005. She was Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly from 2001-2003 and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing from 2003-2005, according to iwnsvg.com.
Maureen Brackin, the New Democratic Party Women’s Arm President reflected, “women have always been instrumental in every sector of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Women played a vital role in the development of the NDP. Remember years ago women like Ms. Yvonne Francis-Gibson were a front runner preaching about the development of women and SVG as a whole.
“Also you would realize that Jeannie McDowall-Ollivierre played a very vital role in the development of the Woman’s Desk that women have taken part in so I don’t know what mood the Prime Minister would have been in at that time but even within his own Party we know that there were people like Mrs. Girlyn Miguel and Rene Baptiste.
“For the youngsters I don’t know what experiences that he is encountering right now with those young women in his Party but from my vantage point I know persons like Rochelle Forde and Debbie Charles to name a few have been working hard for that Party.”
Deborah Charles is a career educator who unsuccessfully contested the West Kingstown seat in the December 2015 election, losing to Daniel Cummings of the New Democratic Party.
She was appointed a Senator and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, National Reconciliation and Ecclesiastical Affairs in the fourth Ralph Gonsalves Administration.
Charles together with Dr. Minerva Glasgow, former Deputy Director of the National Insurance Services, make up the female component of the ULP’s legislators in Parliament. Senator Glasgow replaced House Speaker Carlos James and also serves as his Deputy.