The Santa Rosa First Peoples Community has launched the process for electing a new queen, following the sudden passing of the late queen Jennifer Cassar.
A statement by the First Peoples Community says that according to tradition, now that the 40-day period following the death of the late queen has passed, nominations are open for persons to be considered for the Office of Queen of the Community.
It says that on Sunday, nomination forms were distributed to members present at the monthly meeting of the community.
Nominations are to be submitted to the Community’s Headquarters not later than 7th October, 2018, according to the following criteria:
The nominee must:
1. Be well known and highly respected in Arima where she lives.
2. Demonstrate an inclusive and unifying leadership, placing high value on traditional knowledge and beliefs, and keeping the customs of Santa Rosa alive.
3. Show a leadership role among the women of the community, including organizing them for the rituals associated with the preparation of the statue of the Saint for the Feast of Santa Rosa.
4. Encourage interest in and knowledge of traditional crafts among the other women in the community.
5. Be familiar with and committed to traditional knowledge, and spirituality of the First Peoples
6. Demonstrate a mediatory relationship with Santa Rosa, Patroness of Arima.
7. Ensure the succession by training all the younger women in the community that are considered suitable, and then selecting the best candidate from among them to continue after her.
The Queen is normally chosen from among the active membership of the community.
If the active membership feels that there is no one suitable among them, and nominate persons outside of the active membership, consideration will also be given to those persons who fall within the other criteria stated.
The statement says that with the revival of the offices of Chief and Shaman, during the 1970’s, the community’s governance has reverted to its original historical governance structure of Chief, Shaman and Queen, which was eroded under the colonial system.
There is a collaborative governance structure, under the leadership of the Chief, that has forged new paths from 1990 to the present.