Social Activist, Writer, Author
Bernadette Hood-Caesar, an active trade unionist and social advocate, chronicles her personal journey where she chose to make a stand in a class-action suit against the State of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in her new book, The Courage to go Forward. She stood up for her rights and for the rights of 65,000 staff members employed in the Trinidad and Tobago public service.
SD: The title of your book, The Courage to go Forward, is very empowering. Why did you choose this title?
BHC: I chose the title because I think that it was appropriate for what I endured during the period.
SD: Tell us the premise of your book?
BHC: The premise of my book is because of the history. I wrote the book so that my grandchildren will be able to read it especially when I am gone.
SD: Why was it necessary to write The Courage to go Forward and how important was it to tell your story?
BHC: It was important to write my story because the case is a precedent-setting case and it is used as case law in the courts of Trinidad and Tobago.
SD: You filed a class-action suit against the State of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. How did you find the courage to go up against a giant such as the government?
BHC: I never thought about the giant government. All I remembered is my anger because my family life had been changed because of the money I lost.
SD: You speak about always being positive in the book, how did you manage to be and stay positive at such a time as that?
BHC: I remained positive because I depended on God for strength. I also read my Bible, especially the Book of Psalms. I prayed and went to church with my sons regularly.
SD: How did you feel when you won the case against the government? Were you surprised that you won?
BHC: I made history in Trinidad and Tobago because a win for me was also a win for 65,000 public officers.
SD: You made history in Trinidad and Tobago. Tell us about that.
BHC: My union, the Public Services Association of Trinidad and Tobago, was the only public sector that fought the government. They were not allowed to so they supported me when I took my case forward.
SD: Is there a message you are trying to get across in The Courage to go Forward?
BHC: The message is "anyone can be and stay positive if he or she has the strength to do so."
SD: What can readers take away from this book?
BHC: Readers can take away that one person can change things if he or she is willing to take up the mantle and run with it.
SD: Was the book well received and what were some of the things people have said about it?
BHC: The book was well received during the first week of the publication. Close to one hundred books were sold in Trinidad at the cost of $100.00. Many persons were requesting copies and inquiring where they can buy a copy.
SD: What’s next for you?
BHC: My next steps are:
(a) A documentary on Courage
(b) A committee was formed and the focus is to look at a second edition of Courage.