'Lioness' Linda laid to rest

A gi­ant among men, a li­oness and true solid­er.

That was how Dr Lin­da Ba­boolal was de­scribed yes­ter­day, as hun­dreds showed up at the All Saints An­gli­can Church, Mar­li Street, Port-of-Spain to bid her farewell.

 

Among those who at­tend­ed Ba­boolal's fu­ner­al ser­vice were Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley and his wife Sharon, At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Faris Al-Rawi and Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young, in­clud­ing sev­er­al Peo­ple's Na­tion­al Move­ment (PNM) Sen­a­tors and MPs.

Rep­re­sent­ing the Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress were MP Tim Gopeesingh and Sen­a­tor Wade Mark.

Last Thurs­day, Ba­boolal, 78, died at the Er­ic Williams Med­ical Sci­ences Com­plex, Mt Hope.

Ba­boolal was the coun­try's first fe­male Sen­ate Pres­i­dent.

 

She al­so act­ed as T&T's pres­i­dent, served as San Juan/Barataria MP and held the port­fo­lio of min­is­ter of so­cial de­vel­op­ment and health un­der the PNM.

In pay­ing trib­ute to Ba­boolal, La­dy Vice-chair­man of the PNM Camille Robin­son-Reg­is said the par­ty will for­ev­er re­mem­ber her for her ded­i­cat­ed ser­vice and com­mit­ment which earned her the po­si­tion of chair­man.

"This is par­tic­u­lar­ly acute when the per­son­age be­ing eu­lo­gised is one who walked as a gi­ant among men."

Like all women in pol­i­tics, Robin­son-Reg­is said Ba­boolal had her highs and lows, but in the world of testos­terone-based pol­i­tics, she brought a mea­sure of bal­ance to dis­cus­sions and de­bates.

"She told me once that pol­i­tics was not for the faint­heart­ed. Words that I nev­er for­got to this day."

Robin­son-Reg­is said Ba­boolal al­so taught her to take dis­ap­point­ments in stride.

One thing Ba­boolal did, Robin­son-Reg­is said was to pro­tect her fam­i­ly from the "slings and ar­rows of pub­lic life."

Robin­son-Reg­is shared a joke, stat­ing that once she had to un­der­go a med­ical pro­ce­dure and con­fid­ed in Ba­boolal about her fears.

"That woman amongst women went in­to the the­atre with me and I am told 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."

On the po­lit­i­cal plat­form, she said Ba­boolal was known for pow­er­ful roar which made "grown men quiv­ered when she called their names."

Robin­son-Reg­is said Ba­boolal showed her how to cook biriyani rice.

"The com­pas­sion Lin­da dis­played, asked us to go where it hurts, to en­ter in­to the places of pain and an­guish. The com­pas­sion she taught us, re­quired us to be weak with the weak, vul­ner­a­ble with the vul­ner­a­ble and pow­er­less with the pow­er­less. This is the in­deli­ble stamp she left on this par­ty which she loved to her death."

 

Through­out Ba­boolal's life, Robin­son-Reg­is said many saw her as trust­wor­thy, car­ing and kind. She added she was nei­ther en­vi­ous, boast­ful, eas­i­ly an­gered nor self-seek­ing.

"We cel­e­brate the life of a woman who be­came a moth­er, a grand­moth­er who was coun­sel­lor and con­fi­dant to all and a men­tor who saw us not for who we are but for what we could be­come."

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Don­na Cox said Ba­boolal was al­ways pre­pared to lay down her life po­lit­i­cal­ly, spir­i­tu­al­ly, so­cial­ly and eco­nom­i­cal­ly for us.

"Dr Ba­boolal is no longer with us. I salute her as a solid­er who has moved on. But the mark she has left will live for­ev­er in our hearts," Cox said, her voice crack­ing as she spoke.

De­liv­er­ing the eu­lo­gy was five of Ba­boolal's chil­dren.

El­dest daugh­ter Ma­g­a­ret Pa­tience said her moth­er rose from hum­ble be­gin­nings to sit in one of the high­est seats of the land.

Through sobs, Pa­tience said her fa­ther, Dr Michael Ba­boolal was her moth­er's "team­mate, part­ner and soul­mate" for years.

Apart from at­tend­ing to her pa­tients and be­ing ac­tive­ly in­volved in pol­i­tics, Pa­tience said Ba­boolal al­so sewed, loved singing and cook­ing and was an avid read­er.

Car­olyn Mosh­tagh said her moth­er was the pil­lar of strength in the fam­i­ly.

"Mom gave with­out be­ing asked....even with­out any­one know­ing....she gave sac­ri­fi­cial­ly of her­self at all times."

Mosh­tagh promised not to let her mom down.

"We lost an amaz­ing per­son....the world has lost a sparkle be­cause my mom is not here in it."

 

Sh­ery­lann Ram­saran, Ba­boolal's third child de­scribed her as a hum­ble in­di­vid­ual and role mod­el.

What she re­mem­bered most about her mom was her laugh which lit up a room and her words of wis­dom that mon­ey can­not buy in­tegri­ty and sin­cer­i­ty.

Ram­saran said her three daugh­ters al­ways took their grand­moth­er's ad­vice to rise above the crit­i­cisms of oth­ers.

"Mom was and will al­ways re­main a bea­con for so­ci­ety....an un­shake­able foun­da­tion that will in­spire many for years to come."

At no point in time, Ram­saran said Ba­boolal felt dis­ap­point­ed or dis­cussed dis­ap­point­ment while serv­ing the PNM.

Hen­ry Ba­boolal said his moth­er was ded­i­cat­ed and lov­ing.

"Our re­la­tion­ship at times was rocky. We def­i­nite­ly did not get off to a great start. That is for sure. But for some rea­son...and some point in time we just con­nect­ed."

He ad­mit­ted to dis­agree­ing with his mom at the time.

"But we nev­er fell apart. I have nev­er known any­thing more beau­ti­ful than Lin­da. The name, fit­ting enough, means beau­ti­ful in Span­ish."

Try­ing hard to con­tain his tears, Ra­jen­dra Ba­boolal said his moth­er was his "re­al-life su­per­hero and queen" who had gas and oil flow­ing through her veins, as she was a fan of British rac­ing dri­ver Lewis Hamil­ton.

Rem­i­nisc­ing about her life, Ba­boolal said his mom was in­duct­ed as an hon­orary mem­ber of the T&T Au­to­mo­bile Sport­ing As­so­ci­a­tion and cooked food for me­chan­ics and rac­ing dri­vers which they will miss.

Fa­ther Ash­ton Gomez who de­liv­ered the homi­ly said Ba­boolal lived her life to the fullest serv­ing peo­ple.

 

He said in the coun­try a lot of peo­ple are de­serv­ing of a "bouff" be­cause they have for­got­ten the watch­words dis­ci­pline, pro­duc­tion and tol­er­ance.

In­stead, we fo­cus on self­ish­ness, pride and hypocrisy, Gomez said.

"Some­times peo­ple are too quick to re­spond and to re­ply to non­sense. We all need some shak­ing up. Hold your tongue when it needs hold­ing or to let loose in the kind­est way pos­si­ble."

Gomez said while Ba­boolal has been be­stowed with great ac­co­lades on both sides of Par­lia­ment, can we say that about our­selves.

"How are we go­ing to be re­mem­bered? What are peo­ple go­ing to say about us? It is go­ing to be about our self­ish­ness?"

He plead­ed with mourn­ers not to bad talk our coun­try.

"For us who are left be­hind do not make pur­pose­ful mis­takes."

She was cre­mat­ed at the St James Cinerary.

Reporter: Shaliza Hassanali

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