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COP’s Cuffy-Dowlat dies at 59

AZARD ALI Sunday, April 16 2017

ATTORNEY and politician Carol Cuffy-Dowlat, 59, died on Friday night after a long struggle with diabetes.

Cuffy-Dowlat fell into a coma last Wednesday and was warded at Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, where she passed away peacefully two days later.

She leaves to mourn her two children, Dr Kevin Cuffy, an orthopaedic surgeon and a captain in the TT Regiment, and his brother Anderson.

Cuffy-Dowlat was a founding member of the Congress of the People (COP) and served as a senator and a councillor for Les Efforts West/San Fernando municipal district on the council of the San Fernando City Corporation.

Cuffy-Dowlat also served as a parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Housing, when she was appointed in 1996, under the Basdeo Panday-led United National Congress (UNC) government and served for three years under former minister John Humphrey.

COP chairman Dr Anirudh Mahabir, in tribute to her yesterday, said Cuffy-Dowlat had been with the party since its inception in 2006 and first fought a general election against Dr Roodal Moonilal, of the United National Congress (UNC), in the Oropouche East constituency in 2007 but lost.

She ran again in 2010 against late prime minister Patrick Manning, who was also the political leader of the People’s National Movement, in San Fernando East where she had captured 6,109 votes but was defeated by Manning who had 9,736 votes.

“Carol was with us since inception and was very loyal. She carried the flag of the Congress and spoke out on many national issues. She was a radio talk-show host and said what she wanted to say. In the last few months, she was not able carry on as diabetes got the better of her. She will be sadly missed,” Mahabir told Sunday Newsday.

Cuffy-Dowlat, who is from Chickland Village, Freeport, attended Holy Faith Convent, Couva, and was a prize-winning student at the Sir Hugh Wooding Law School.

She practised law in the civil courts and became a director of Sou Sou Lands Ltd up until her passing.

Sou Sou Lands Ltd managing director Dr Allen Sammy described Cuffy-Dowlat as a director who gave yeoman service to most of the company’s projects which focussed on lowcost housing for low-income earners.

“She was a strong social activist and gave tireless advice to Sou Sou Lands for 40 years on land law, as it related to acquisition of State lands,” said Sammy. Sou Sou Lands Co-operative Society Ltd chairman Lennox Sankersingh yesterday said Cuffy-Dowlat had a full political life and was committed to local government reform.

“Her drive and dedication to local government will always be remembered.

She almost single- handedly organised a Caribbean conference of non-government organisations to discuss housing issues for the low income,” said Sankersingh.

In extending condolences, UNC chairman and Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee described Cuffy-Dowlat as someone extremely passionate about the governance of TT. “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,” Lee said in a release.

Independent Liberal Party political leader Rekha Ramjit, in a statement, also praised Cuffy-Dowlat for her passion for good governance and the welfare of citizens. “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,” Ramjit said.

Humphrey hailed Cuffy-Dowlat as someone who helped the poor to receive land deeds under the Sou Sou Lands project. She had the courage, he added, to run against Manning, “when she could have easily been given a safe seat and won”. Rural Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein also spoke highly Cuffy-Dowlat, noting they served together on the San Fernando City Council from 2003 to 2010. “She was a true team player throughout her tenure, and a brave servant to the burgesses,” he said in a statement.

“Her desire to serve our country was unceasing from her pro-bono legal contributions, to her human rights advocacy, to her political activism.” Hosein disclosed Cuffy-Dowlat had approached him two weeks ago about joining the ministry’s project to set up volunteer networks in the municipalities.

Cuffy-Dowlat’s funeral will be held on Wednesday but details of where were not released yesterday.



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