The distribution of public invitations for Monday’s inauguration of T&T’s first female President Paula-Mae Weekes is said to be “slow” but Members of Parliament are hoping that it increases over this weekend.
T&T Guardian understands that all MPs were given 50 invitations each to distribute to their respective constituents to attend the ceremony, which will be held at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain.
Chaguanas East MP Fazal Karim said not everyone seemed interested in attending the event but added that he found that “mostly women accepted invitations, due to it being the first female President.”
“I distributed 30 to the councillors, three were given to staff and 17 will be distributed to the general public over the weekend,” Karim said.
Couva North MP, Ramona Ramdial said that as a woman, she is happy to witness the inauguration of T&Ts first female President.
“It’s history in the making, just like it was in 2010 when the country elected its first female Prime Minister. For all young girls and women aspiring to high public office this is definitely a boost,” Ramdial said.
“Once again the glass ceiling has been shattered with respect to the Office of President, which has been male dominated in the past. I also wish to see Madame President tackle the most pressing problem for women these days which is domestic violence and abuse; education and awareness; training and legislative reform is required to deal with the issue,” she added.
Ramdial said she passed on the invitations to her councillors for distribution but admitted that not many people came forward showing an interest.
“Probably over the weekend people will decide. Only about five persons would have taken to attend so far. The invite is for 10 am on Monday, so for many that time is hard with school and work, et cetera,” Ramdial said.
Weekes was elected unopposed by the Electoral College comprising members of the House of Representatives and the Senate as the country’s sixth President on January 19 and received her instrument of election at a brief ceremony at the Parliament Chamber on January 27.
Members of the public who want to witness the historic inauguration have been advised by the Office of the President that they must present an invitation for the function.
Invitations are available at the offices of the 41 MPs, or at the box offices of the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa) and Southern National Academy for the Performing Arts (Sapa).
The dress code for the inauguration ceremony is formal wear or business attire.Members of the public with invitations will be accommodated at the North Stand of the Savannah.
Gates to the entrance for the public will open at 7 am on Monday. The inauguration ceremony starts at 10 am and all guests are required to be seated by 9 am.