PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says she sees no conflict between her office and the Office of the President arising from the inaugural speech of President Anthony Carmona.
She was speaking yesterday as she laid the executive report of the Committee on Young Males and Crime in Trinidad and Tobago in Parliament at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain.
"And, Mr Speaker, lest anyone think otherwise, there was a question raised whether there would be conflict with the Office of the President and the Office of the Prime Minister. I want to make it very clear, Mr Speaker, that I see nothing in the address of His Excellency to lead someone to such a conclusion".
She pointed out that Carmona was "very clear" that he was confined within the bounds of the Constitution as the Office of the Prime Minister is also bound.
"We look forward to a very harmonious working relationship with His Excellency, and we commend him ...for his very stirring and thought-provoking inaugural address," she said.
She noted Carmona called for "out-of-the-box solutions", in what some may describe as an "out-of-the-box address".
"He was thoughtful, he was inspirational, he was challenging, exhorting every citizen of this country to recognise individual responsibility to nation-building. Justice Carmona heralded a literal new paradigm of presidential leadership and ushered his term of office by reminding us of deep and fundamental issues," she said.
"Like all our citizens, I was deeply moved by the words, eloquence and forthrightness of His Excellency," she added.
On the report, she noted because the crime problem was not addressed a decade ago, the current administration has to face a more challenging problem.
"It is a tragedy that whereas years ago when issues should have been initially perceived and confronted, more holistic solutions would have been predominant. Allowing crime to surge over the years now calls for a deeper introduction of expensive corrective measures while we also need to look at more of the fundamental issues that are causing crime," she said.
She noted even before her Government came into office, they recognised that broken and dysfunctional families had removed a "fundamental rock of stability" to guide young people into gainful and productive behaviour.
"Unfortunately, as a country, we did not address the issues when they first began rearing over a decade ago. We ignored, vacillated,excused, sought to find dubious explanations like collateral damage but blindly refused to face and deal with the fundamental problems," she said.
She added: "So by the time we came into office, the situation had grown into enormous proportions, making the challenges even more demanding."
She noted that the comments and recommendations of the Ryan committee "echo and validate the observations and findings of members of our Government".
The chairman and deputy chairman of the committee were political scientists Prof Selwyn Ryan and Dr Indira Rampersad respectively. The other three members were University of the West Indies (UWI) Prof of Gender and Cultural Studies Patricia Mohammed, former UWI dean of arts and general studies Dr Majorie Thorpe and Independent Senator Dr Lennox Bernard. The report, entitled No Time to Quit: Engaging Youth at Risk, is inspired by a line from David Rudder's "Madman's Rant".
Persad-Bissessar noted one recommendation of the report was to invest in sport, and Government had consciously engaged in the concept as a vehicle for nation-building. She also listed a number of infrastructural sporting initiatives by the Government, including plans to build major sporting facilities.
She noted the report has implications for various ministries, including Sports, a major area, but also Education, Community Development, Gender and Youth Affairs, Labour and Micro-Enterprises, and National Diversity and Social Integration.