Trinidad and Tobago

First female PM takes reins in Trinidad and Tobago

Reuters
2 min

Trinidad and Tobago has sworn in its first female prime minister, completing a new chapter for the oil-rich Caribbean nation. Kamla Persad Bissessar, a Hindu, will also become chair of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.

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Persad Bissessar took the oath of office after her People's Partnership party's landslide victory at the polls Monday, taking 29 out of 41 seats.

Her victory sends the People's National Movement (PNM) into opposition after more than four decades of almost unbroken rule.

Persad Bissessar, a grandmother of two, swore solemnly to uphold the constitution and the law as she took the oath standing next to President George Maxwell Richards.

"I will conscientiously, impartially and to the best of my ability discharge my duties as prime minister and do right to all manner of people without fear or favour, affection or ill will," she said.

Persad Bissessar’s rise up the political ranks began in January last year, when she successfully challenged her mentor, Basdeo Panday, for leadership of the United National Congress, which he founded 20 years ago.

She was joined by a coalition of four other parties, under the banner of the People's Partnership, which united to confront and dislodge the PNM.

On the heels of celebrating her landmark win, Persad Bissessar already faces immediate challenges as heavy rains this week brought severe flooding in many parts of the country after six weeks of drought.

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