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‘Pres picked a woman to head PSC’
Comments made by Pennelope Beckles on the non-appointment of a female to the Senate by President Anthony Carmona is being viewed as “petty” in some quarters, given that the President recently appointed a woman as head of the Public Services Commission (PSC). “For the first time in the history of our country we have a woman, Dr Marjorie Thorpe, holding the position of head of the PSC, and in the face of that someone comes out and wants to give the President flack for not appointing a woman to the Senate.
“But more than that, the deputy chairman is also a woman, Zaida Rajnauth,” the source added. Thorpe replaced Ambassador Christopher Thomas who held the post since 2004. Under section 121 of the Constitution, the PSC acts as a “buffer” to insulate public servants from undue political influence. It is responsible for appointments, promotions, transfers and disciplinary action.
“You now have a woman in charge of promotions in the Coast Guard and the Army. Where else in the world will you find that?” the source questioned. The source went on to say that the President in his “retooling” of the Senate was not considering gender, but was looking at engaging the expertise relevant to the economy, particularly to financial and energy issues. He felt he could not have a Senate without an energy expert included, the source said.
The Sunday Guardian was further informed that President Carmona met individually with each member of the Senate for two hours each, engaging them on issues. “Which other President do you know to have been that meticulous about his appointments?” the source questioned.
Thorpe’s career includes service as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and General Studies at UWI, Head of the Department of English, and Co-ordinator of the Women and Development Studies, in addition to being lead consultant for the establishment of Costaatt’s Division of Humanities. She has served on UWI’s Strategic and Planning Committee.
She has been a member of several constitutionally-appointed boards including the TT Defence Force Commissions Board (of which she was the first-ever female chairman), Police Service Commission, Salaries Review Commission and Judicial and Legal Services Commission. Thorpe is a former director of Republic Bank Ltd, and a board member of Cabinet’s 2012 Youth At Risk Committee.
She also served as T&T’s Ambassador Permanent Representative to the United Nations, helping establish the International Criminal Court (ICC) mooted by former President Arthur NR Robinson. Thorpe was deputy director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (Unifem); was a top executive at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); and was T&T’s Resident Representative of the UNDP.
Dr Thorpe has been regional co-ordinator for the Commonwealth Writers Prize, chairman of the Fulbright Scholarship Awards Screening Committee and vice-chair of the judges panel of the Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
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