Trinidad gets Indian origin woman PM

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 00:14

Port-of-Spain: Kamla Persad-Bissessar of
Indian origin has been elected the first female Prime Minister
of Trinidad and Tobago in an early election, ousting an
incumbent hurt by soaring crime and allegations of public

Persad-Bissessar and her five-party People`s Partnership
coalition won 29 of 41 seats in the Caribbean nation`s
parliament, according to preliminary election results on Tuesday.

The 59-year-old attorney told thousands of supporters at
a celebration early today morning that her government will not
allow one ethnic group or social class to dominate the
twin-island country.

"We will build on our collective strength and character
and everyone of us will rise; no one will be left behind,"
said Persad-Bissessar, whose United National Congress party
draws support mainly from people of East Indian ancestry.

Two-term incumbent Prime Minister Patrick Manning had
called elections 30 months ahead of schedule. His People`s
National Movement, which draws most of its support from people
of African descent, held a 26-15 advantage in the House of
Representatives before the vote.

"We accept the results and I accept full responsibility
for it," Manning told his supporters late yesterday night. He
said he will be evaluating his own future after 40 years in

Ahead of yesterday`s vote, Persad-Bissessar promised more
community-based policing, higher pensions and a fund for
children who need medical treatment they can only get

Manning, who also served as prime minister for four years
in the early 1990s, highlighted his government`s spending on
education and training programs for young people. His campaign
warned that the economy could suffer from handing the vital
energy sector to a government without Manning`s experience.


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First Published: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 00:14

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