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Kamla: Ensure that our children are safe and loved

By Julien Neaves

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday called on every Member of Parliament and every citizen to become a child advocate to ensure children are safe and loved in Trinidad and Tobago.

Persad-Bissessar also expressed condolences to the families of the victims of the "horrendous" Connecticut massacre in the United States.

She was delivering Christmas greetings during yesterday's sitting of the House at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain.

Noting that in Government's toy distribution throughout Trinidad about 60,000 toys had been distributed, Persad-Bissessar said:

"Whilst we are celebrating a very joyous time and the love we have for our children I think it was very heart-rending, very tragic, to learn of the horrendous events in Connecticut which unfolded last week.

"Twenty-six persons lost their lives. Twenty of them innocent children under the age of 10. So on behalf of all us here in the Parliament I extend our condolences to the people of the United States and in particular to the families of those lost to this very senseless crime in this their time of grief and mourning. We hold you all in our hearts, we lift up in our prayers, that you will find the strength to move beyond the pain and the anguish that you feel, trusting that in time you'll experience God's healing power and grace."

She noted that in this country children have to be protected.

"Here at home too we have experienced some unbelievable acts of violence against our children and so such behaviour is intolerable (and) unconscionable," she said.

Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley also mentioned the shootings during his Christmas greetings.

"And the experiences of the people of Connecticut are experiences that we in Trinidad and Tobago can acknowledge and reach out to the families that are experiencing horrendous pain and hope that nobody else in the world would experience that kind of development in their community."

He continued: "Because Mr Speaker every time it appears in the news one feels as if it has happened again and in Trinidad and Tobago we have to take all the necessary steps to ensure that the promise of Christmas and the hope of Christmas will be realised in the years ahead, that we would never experience those kinds of pain".

Last Friday, Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people, 20 of them children, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut before taking his own life.

See Pages 27 and 29

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