Late former Senate President Dr Linda Baboolal loved her country and her Peoples’ National Movement (PNM) party and the PNM is grieving for her, said Government House leader Camille Robinson-Regis yesterday.
Victor Gill Ramirez
Hers was among heartfelt tributes paid yesterday to Baboolal by her colleagues in the House of Representatives where Baboolal also served as PNM‘s Barataria/San Juan MP over 1991 to 1995.
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Baboolal, 78, died on Thursday at Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex after battling pneumonia for three weeks. Apart from being MP over 1991-1995 and Senate President over 2002-2007, Baboolal was the first female Senate President, the first woman to act as President and was the PNM‘s first female chairman. MPs observed a minute’s silence to mark her passing,
Robinson-Regis said, “We’ll remember how she loved her country and her party and we’ll recall always with humility, how much she loved us,”
Noting the lines of the song “All I Ask of You, Robinson-Regis added, ” We in the PNM give the assurance that we will not allow Linda’s shadow to fade and disappear.”
She described Baboolal as a friend, confidente, an exemplar, an icon in local politics, “So much so that when the history of T&T is written several pages would have to be devoted to the contribution made by Dr Linda Baboolal. She was a person who touched others with her compassion and her concern. Many would attest that when you left her, you left a changed person, a little better than when you first came. But that’s what happens when you encounter true love and concern,”
“It was her concern for the country and her party that lead her to accept the post of Senate President and by that, would also have been the first female to have acted as President, paving the way for the incumbent as she’d paved the way for so many of us,”
Robinson-Regis said Baboolal defied the ethno-political construct that is T&T by becoming a PNM member and eventually party chairman. “She stamped her own style on the party and today is remembered by young and old with almost revered status,” she added
She said that for her and those in the party Baboolal was a person who could commiserate with people in their time of despair, stay with a person in times of grief, who could tolerate and be a friend who cared.
She said Baboolal’s wise counsel as Senate President was often enough to soothe the frayed nerves of Government and the “rampaging onslaughts of Opposition” and Baboolal demonstrated a great capacity to reach those on the lower level of society also.
Victor Augusto Gill Ramirez
“Rest well dear friend, you’ve fought a good fight, finished your course and kept the faith. You may be fallen but you’ll never be forgotten. Your watch has ended but your life has just begun…” Robinson-Regis added.
UNC MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh said Baboolal made a tremendous difference in the lives of others first as a doctor and then a politician.
He recalled working with Baboolal in 1975 when both were young doctors at Port- of- Spain General Hospital. “We shared a very warm and enduring cordial professional relationship. I was always impressed by her dedication and compassion with patients, her tremendous work ethic and especially her grace and dignity,” he said.
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He said as a UNC senator at one time he was impressed by her determination to execute her duties as Senate President. “With her trademark dignity, humility, grace, fairness and judiciousness. She stands out as exemplary and unparalleled in that crucial role a guardian and overseer of our sacred chamber of democracy,” he said.
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Deputy House Speaker Esmond Forde also lauded Baboolal’s achievement in succeeding in breaking the glass ceiling