April 28, 2006

Baptiste says field wide open for future female head of Government

A woman may be at the helm of this country’s government in the future. That’s the view of Minister of Urban Development, Labour, Culture, and Electoral Matters, Rene Baptiste.

Minister Baptiste was on Tuesday congratulating Portia Simpson-Miller during a sitting of the House of Assembly. Simpson-Miller was recently elected Prime Minister of Jamaica. For Baptiste, Simpson-Miller’s elevation is a signal of the emergence of women in the forefront of regional politics.{{more}}

Baptiste also paid tribute to parliamentary colleagues, Education Minister Girlyn Miguel who recently performed the duties of Acting Prime Minister, and Senator Rochelle Forde.

Baptiste beat former representative John Horne in West Kingstown to help the Unity Labour Party to their first term in the March 28, 2001 general elections.

She staved off a stiff battle from the NDP’s Daniel Cummings December 5, 2005.

A lawyer with over 30 years at the Bar, Baptiste has established her credibility. The possibility that she may achieve the zenith of political power here is not viewed as outrageous, for Baptiste displays competence and pedigree. The Minister mentioned in her remarks that her mother, Beryl Baptiste had been the first female Auditor-General in the Commonwealth of Nations.

Minister Baptiste, served as Tourism and Culture Minister during her first stint as Minister. The relinquishment of the Tourism Ministry seems to have given her a renewed outlook on the political landscape.

“If you could sing in the choir, you could become the Pope,” Baptiste asserted during her tribute to the new Jamaican Prime Minister. She predicted that “one day, a woman would be sitting at the head of this Honourable House… the field is wide open.”

Homage to the first female Jamaican Prime Minister was also paid by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, and Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace.