DR Linda Baboolal, former Senate President and medical doctor, once accompanied a colleague into surgery to ensure all went well, mourners learnt at her funeral on Monday at All Saints Anglican Church, Port of Spain.
Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis in her tribute shared the details.
“I had to have a medical procedure and confided to her all my fears. That woman amongst women went into the theatre with me and I am told that she carefully monitored my surgeon's every move.
“I did not know who to feel sorrier for, myself or the poor surgeon who was scrutinised by a lioness.”
Robinson-Regis hailed Baboolal as a lioness protecting her family from public life while also roaring on a PNM platform to make grown men quiver.
“She loved her family with her all and still had so much to spare for the rest of us.”
Robinson-Regis said Baboolal had defied TT’s ethno-political construct to head the PNM, so risking social and cultural exclusion.
“Like all women in politics, Linda had her highs and lows. She told me once that politics is not for the faint hearted, words that I have never forgotten to this day.”
Baboolal had taught her to take disappointment in stride, which was easy if, like Baboolal, you did not fall in love with office.
“Linda was in love with service. True service is about the people.”
Robinson-Regis recalled Baboolal as “an exceptional teacher, compassionate doctor and excellent chef,” having taught her to make biriyani rice.
“In this hurly burly world of testosterone-based politics, Linda Baboolal brought a measure of balance to discussions and debates, often displaying a level of empathy and compassion for the other.”
She said Baboolal’s compassion asked colleagues to go where it hurts and enter places of pain and anguish.
“Her compassion challenged us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who were lonely, and to weep with those in tears.”
Communications Minister Donna Cox in her tribute cited author John Maxwell saying we cannot choose how many years we live, but can choose how much life those years will have.
“I saw a woman who gave life to many, whose compassion and care, whose selflessness even in the face of adversity, knew no bounds.
“I considered her to be a mother, mentor, matriarch of the PNM and so much more.”
She recalled recently getting a text message from Baboolal on a fabricated story about the Prime Minister on social media, with Baboolal’s firm admonition, “Deal with this now."
Cox said, “The lines of communication between Dr Baboolal and myself were always open, and she was always willing to offer advice or admonition, support or scrutiny or a buff where she felt necessary.”
Among the mourners were Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George, Senate President Christine Kangaloo and Opposition Senator Wade Mark. Also present were Rohan Sinanan, Harvey Boris Faris Al-Rawi, Dr Tim Gopeesingh, Garvin Nicholas, Hillan Morean, Mariano Browne, Nigel de Freitas, Kenny da Silva, Stuart Young, Joan Yuille-Williams, Franklin Khan, Anthony Garcia, Maxie Cuffie, John Rahael, Lisa Morris-Julien, Christine Sahadeo, Jarrette Narine, Paula Gopee-Scoon, Jacqueline Sampson-Meiguel, Hazel Thompson-Ahye and Deborah Thomas-Felix.