Task force will deliver

Chairman Maha­bir-Wyatt on protecting nation’s children:

By Anna Ramdass

The Child Protection Task Force will deliver and ensure mea­sures are implemented to protect the nation’s children, says chairman Diana Maha­bir-Wyatt.

The 17-member task force was appointed by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, in the wake of three murders of young children in this coun­try.

Yesterday, Mahabir-Wyatt and her team met with the Prime Minister after they had discussions among themselves and appointed sub-committees.

Speaking to the media at a news conference at the Parliament building, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain, Persad-Bissessar expressed confidence the task force will be effective, especially in ensuring the Children’s Authority receives full support to become functional.

Noting the recent murders of children, Persad-Bissessar said, “We don’t know how ma­ny more out there who are being abused; we just don’t know because it is such a silent killer, that is, only when the last act is taken that we find out.”

Describing the Prime Minister as a “hard task mana­ger”, Mahabir-Wyatt said the task force will bring about change, unlike other committees and task forces in the past.

“We are very passionate about what we are doing, we are very serious; we are committed to making sure that things will be implemented and we are not going to stop until we see results,” said Mahabir-Wyatt.

The task force, she said, will examine three main areas.

The first is the Children’s Authority and working towards getting this body up and running.

A report specifically on this, she said, will be given to the Prime Minister by Christmas.

The second area involved legislation and looking at the proclamation of various acts and how they affect others.

A legal subcommittee, said Mahabir-Wyatt, will deal with this aspect.

The third major area, she said, involved looking at the prevention of problems and examining the processes in the existing social programmes and ensuring they get the support to be valid and efficient.

Margaret Sampson-Browne, who heads the Trinidad and Tobago Police Victim Support Unit, will chair this committee.

Mahabir-Wyatt said the task force will not work in the dark and will inform the public of its work as they go along.

Members of the Prime Minister’s 
Child Protection Task Force
• Diana Mahabir-Wyatt—Chairman—management expert
• Clifton De Coteau—Minister of Gender, Child and Youth 
• Raziah Ahmed—Junior minister of Gender, Child and   
  Youth Development
• Sandra Jones—permanent secretary, Ministry of 
  Gender, Child and Youth Development
• Anna Maria Mora—psychologist
• Stephanie Daly, SC—chairman of the board of 
  directors of the Children’s Authority.
• Hazel Brown—special envoy on women and girls
• Brenda Gopeesingh—special envoy on women and girls
• Gregory Sloane-Seale—programme co-ordinator, 
  Citizens Security Programme 
• Zena Ramatali—president, National Parent Teachers’ 
• Pastor Clive Dottin—of the Seventh Day Adventist Church
• Kathy Bharrathsingh—manager of Student Support 
  Services, Ministry of Education
• Angela Edwards—chief technical officer, Ministry of   
  the People and Social Development
• Trudy Rouse—manager of Mental Health, Ministry of Health
• Rondall Feeles—president, Single Fathers’ Association of T&T
• Margaret Sampson-Browne—retired assistant CoP
• Hazel Thompson-Ahye—attorney, mediator, educator 
  and child rights advocate
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