Friday, December 15, 2017

'We have lost a daughter of the soil'

POSITIVE IMPACT: Carol Cuffy-Dowlat

ATTORNEY and politician Carol Cuffy-Dowlat, a long-standing member of the Congress of the People (COP) political party, has died.

Cuffy-Dowlat passed away at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope on Friday night, after an extended illness that had kept her away from her most recent job as a radio talk show host.

She was a former councillor in the San Fernando City Corporation, an opposition and government senator, parliamentary secretary in the housing ministry, and served on several State boards.

Cuffy-Dowlat was the COP's candidate in the 2010 election campaign of the former People's Partnership coalition, and ran against the People's National Movement's (PNM) Patrick Manning for the San Fernando East seat.

She got 6,109 votes to Manning's 9,736 votes.

She first challenged Manning in the 2002 general elections on a UNC ticket but copped 5,557 votes to Manning's 10,772.

She joined the COP and contested the Oropouche East seat in the 2007 general elections and became one of the leading women in that party.

As news spread of Cuffy-Dowlat's death yesterday, many condolences went out to her family.

The Sunday Express was told her funeral will be held on Wednesday.

Chairman of the United National Congress (UNC) David Lee offered his condolences on behalf of the UNC leadership and executive to Cuffy-Dowlat's family.

In a release, Lee stated, “The United National Congress and more so the politics of Trinidad and Tobago has lost a stalwart and true servant of the people. For many years Carol gave of her time and resources selflessly to enhance the lives of others as well the national institutions she belonged to.

“As a lawyer she made significant contributions to the legal fraternity but her greatest contribution as a lawyer will be the many individuals who she represented and reached out to on a pro-bono level. As a political activist Carol demonstrated the true meaning of patriotism as she sought to defend the rights of our citizens based on the principles of democracy, freedom and equality. In recent times she became even more well-known for her stint as a talk show host where similar to her Political and legal career she continued to speak out for the vulnerable in our society and ensure the greatest issues affecting our population was nationally raised,” he said.

Lee added: “If one was to highlight her greatest accomplishment above all her great accolades, the one easily chosen would be Carol's humanity and caring characteristic. As a human being Carol was indeed a wonderful person always willing to give off herself to benefit others while she was a brilliant mother and source of advice and inspiration. Many of us will remain indebted to Carol Cuffy-Dowlat for the positive impact she has made on our lives.

“The UNC has truly lost a stalwart while the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago have lost a daughter of the soil.”


A lost friend and colleague


Political leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) Rekha Ramjit also extended condolences to the family.

Speaking to the Sunday Express, Ramjit said she was deeply saddened by the loss of her friend and colleague.

She said: “I know she was not well but when I spoke with her just a few days ago she seemed fine.”

In a statement she said: “Carol's legacy is her lifetime of public service through the many roles she filled in her career such as attorney at law, Local Government councillor, senator, parliamentary secretary, founding member of the Congress of the People and talk show host. She was extremely passionate about the governance of our country and the welfare of citizens, and from my last conversations with her, she had a lot more that she wanted to give and to accomplish in the pursuit of national development.

“Carol will be remembered for her brilliance as an analytical thinker and visionary, high moral standards and values, and her unwavering dedication to truth.”


Team player


Minister of Local Government and Urban Development Kazim Hosein who served with Cuffy-Dowlat during their tenure as councillors, extended heartfelt condolences of her passing.

Hosein said he spoke with Cuffy-Dowlat two weeks ago and said he was unaware of that she was ailing. He praised her for her service in the political and legal arena.

“I worked with her from 2003 to 2019. She was always very punctual and articulate when she made her contributions. She was the lone UNC person then and represented Les Efforts West/La Romaine. When we last spoke, she told me that she liked that volunteer programme and that she herself wanted to become involved and do some volunteer work. I will miss her. She was truly a nice person to have known,” said Hosein.

He added: “She was a true team player throughout her tenure, and a brave servant to the burgesses of the city as the lone member of the COP on the Council at that time.

Her desire to serve our country was unceasing from her pro-bono legal contributions, to her human rights advocacy, to her political activism. Even in her latest career as a media personality, she persisted in her objective to provide a voice for those in need across Trinidad and Tobago.”


NCIC saddened


The National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) public relations officer, Surujdeo Mangaroo said yesterday, “It is with great sadness we learnt of the passing of Mrs Carol Cuffy-Dowlat, a woman who had a very distinguished career in law and politics. A woman of strength and determination to succeed. I personally have had a long standing relationship with her both as a lawyer and politician. I will always remember you as a very compassionate human willing to offer a friendly word of advice whenever you see the need. My dear sister, words cannot express my deep sense of loss at this time. On behalf of the president of the NCIC Dr Deokinanan Sharma and the entire executive we wish Lord Krishna's blessings to you as you journey to the great beyond.”