International Women’s Day march returns to Woodford Square

Lynette Seebaran-Suite - File photo by Jeff K Mayers
Lynette Seebaran-Suite - File photo by Jeff K Mayers

The Network of NGOs of Trinidad and Tobago for the Advancement of Women has returned its annual International Women’s Day (IWD) event to Woodford Square, Port of Spain.

For about five years now, the event which includes a march was held at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain. However, this year’s organisers decided to host the event, once again, from the square on March 8.

The day’s events run 10 am - 4.30 pm and will start with a display of booths by artisans at the square. At noon, there will be the procession through Port of Spain. Participants will filter onto Frederick Street from the square and head south to Independence Square, west to Abercromby Street and from Abercromby Street, east to Duke Street and then back to Frederick and return to the square.

Merle Hodge -

There will be a break, and at 2 pm there will be entertainment during which those interested in bringing solidarity messages can do so, the network’s co-ordinator Jacquie Burgess said in a phone interview.

Port of Spain mayor Chinua Alleyne will deliver opening remarks. A representative from the Office of the Prime Minister – Child and Gender Affairs was invited as well as Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Nisha Bissambhar -

The events are being undertaken with the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at The UWI and the Family Planning Association.

This year’s theme is Inspire Inclusion: Bring your message and come.

The network’s other event for IWD is its annual concert: Woman Power.

Burgess said the fundraising concert is its second edition and will be held at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Frederick Street, Port of Spain.

Not only will it commemorate IWD, but also raise awareness of the many issues women face in today’s global environment.

Nadia Batson, Carol Addison, Nailah Blackman, Xavier Strings, Nisha B, Vaughnette Bigford, Xavier Strings and Neval Chatelal are among the performers. NWAC Calypso Queen Naomi Sinnette is also expected to perform, and Miss Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam will host the event.

Four women will be honoured during the concert: Speaker Brigid Annisette George; Law Association Lynette Seebaran-Suite, SC; UWI principal Prof Rose-Marie Belle Antoine; and writer and lecturer Merle Hodge.

Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine -

The concert is being held under the patronage of Minister of Social Development and Family Services Donna Cox.

As for the march, Burgess and the network wants all of its member organisations – men, women, able-bodied or challenged – to participate.

While Trinidad and Tobago has done some work to inspire inclusion there were acts which showed there was still some way to go, Burgess said when asked if the country had done its work to inspire inclusion.

She said not enough people were paying attention to the idea that “everybody in this space, in Trinidad and Tobago, has a space and should be respected.”

Nadia Batson - File photo by Jeff K Mayers

Burgess said some children were still brutalised by parents and while many abhorred violence against women, some did not see beating children as a violent act against them.

“So some of these things really tell us that inclusivity is not as it should be.

“We would really like people to get onboard and it is about respecting others and validating that everyone has a right and a space in this country,” she said.

Vaughnette Bigford -

The network said it was very concerned when asked about regressive policies as it spoke to women across the world, Burgess said.

She invited Trinidad and Tobago to support the concert and march on March 8.


"International Women’s Day march returns to Woodford Square"

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