PRESIDENT-elect Paula-Mae Weekes yesterday admitted she was overwhelmed by the thanksgiving service held for her at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain.
“I was a little overwhelmed, but it was a wonderful experience and these are my people. I know almost everyone here,” she said – and she should as she served as Chancellor of the Anglican Church in the Diocese for over 20 years.
As he delivered the sermon, the Right Reverend Claude Berkley said there was a time for every season, and a first for everything. He said the world was celebrating the firsts of many women holding major political positions.
The latest first for TT was the appointment of Weekes as this country’s first woman president. She will be sworn in next Monday as President Anthony Carmona demits office.
“We are at an historic juncture where we celebrate our first female president. We appreciate those who have gone before to help mould her,” he said.
Berkley said while some Anglicans operated like “long distance correspondents”, that was never the case with Weekes.
“We thank you for your service as Chancellor and service to the Church. We pray, on behalf of the Church, sustained health and service. Well done to you our faithful servant,” he said.
With a subtle warning as to the enormity of her responsibilities, Berkley cheekily cautioned, “Welcome to the conundrum of Trinidad and Tobago.”
Berkley asked how was the world supposed to respond to God when we raised up all these women to all these high positions. He said they were no threat to society.
“Are men supposed to tremble? How can your womanly touch help us with crime and violence? How can we be inspired to rise above polarisation? We are losing our souls too quickly. We serve a living God. How can you help us?” Berkley asked.
“We know of your enthusiasm, and we thank God for you. We believe God has prepared you for the way that you have to go. We urge you forward with wisdom. For everything there is a season, and for every matter a time under heaven,” he said.
Weekes was indeed overcome as she was serenaded by the Bishop Anstey High School Choir, alma mater, and Michelle Dowrich who sang My Tribute.
At the end of the service, Weekes stood patiently at the end of the aisle as she greeted everyone who attended the service. She shook hands, hugged, thanked and smiled with “all of my people.”
One woman was overheard saying, “I’m not washing my hand again”.
She just shook hands with her future President.