by Natalie Monique
Trinidad and Tobago Prime MInister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar recently returned from a 12 day State visit to India, where she was able to accomplish both business and personal ventures. She got the opportunity to visit her ancestral village in Bihar, where she was welcomed by 100,000 villagers in cultural style.
The India Times described the moment, ‘A helicopter carrying Kamla Persad Bissessar, the first woman prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, descended on a specially constructed helipad near the village in Itarhi block of Buxar district, about 125 km from state capital Patna, amid tight security….The moment she arrived here, there was a roar of applause and cheering from the waiting crowds for the ‘pradhanmantri beti’ or ‘daughter PM’, officials said.’ She was accompanied by a 25-member delegation, including her husband as well as other Trinidadians.
We recently carried a story highlighting her visit, Mrs Persad-Bissessar was greeted in royal, red carpet style in India, arriving in a Jet and other treatment considered by some to be somewhat lavish. Some persons have taken to the internet to voice their mixed feelings on the visit. They are questioning the ‘legitimacy’ of the trip as a State visit, and the ‘possible’ economic repercussions on the Trinidad people.
However speaking with Trinidad Express, when asked about the number of people on the mission to India, the PM said, “My delegation consists of my ministers and their support staff. I am not in a position to say how many delegates accompanied me exactly, but the expenditure for me and my delegates was paid for completely by the Indian government and I am very thankful for that. Apart from my delegation there are other people who have accompanied me on this trip and they have come here at their own cost.”
The Prime Minister has also told TE that a full report will be submitted shortly to the Trinidad Parliament, on the mission and achievements of the trip, the total number of of persons who participated and the total cost. “Each time we travel, we have reported and indicated what we will do, and on our return, we have been accounting to the people through Parliament and media briefings….when Parliament sits, we will continue with good governance measures to report to you all,” In regards to the length of the trip, she highlighted that most of the time was spent travelling, four days for just flight time alone.
Sources say, ‘according to an official record sent by the Trinidad and Tobago government to Bihar, Persad Bissessar’s great-grandfather Ram Lakhan Mishra had left Bhelupur in 1889.’ “She thanked villagers and reminded them of the close relations she shared with them for generations. She recalled that other descendents were living in this village,” and thye say, according to officials, villagers gifted her a chunk of its soil and a silver crown. She also planted five trees — neem, pakad, pipal, ashok and barh near her ancestral home.
Below are a couple photos that were posted on the PM’s Facebook page of her recent feat:
It is reported that about 150 people from Trinidad and Tobago accompanied her on the trip to India, included in her delegation was famous cricketer Brian Lara. He said, “I quite enjoyed this trip as this time I came here not as a cricketer but as an ambassador.” PM Persad-Bissessar said told sources the trip was not about ‘finding her roots’, she said, “Finding one’s roots is a fairly modern concept. If I had to do so I would come here personally by myself like I have done in the past.”