Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 1st 2013 Contents A6
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt December 1, 2013
Judy Wilson, CEO of Rainbow Rescue, has
slammed governments---past and present---
for failing to protect our nation s children.
Wilson said that both the People s National
Movement and the People s Partnership have
failed to provide intervention for children in
need of care and protection, ensuring that
they are nurtured, protected, supported and
"Governments after governments have done
nothing meaningful for our children. It s just
like window dressing. Children are not a pri-
ority for the Government."
Wilson said the time has come for this
Government to get the Children s Authority
Act fully proclaimed and the Children s
Authority of T&T operational.
Established in 2009, the authority is a child-
centred, family-focused organisation that
advocates for the rights of children.
Almost four years in office, Wilson said the
PP has not lifted one finger to protect our
children, many of whom have lost their lives
under horrific and gruesome circumstances.
She said after a child s life is snuffed out,
citizens make a big hue and cry. But days
later, the child is forgotten.
The Belmont-based caregiver was one of
several people who slammed the Government
for failing to act in the interest of our children
after the discovery of six-year-old Keyana
Cumberbatch s decomposed body in her home
at Building 5, Maloney Gardens, on Thursday.
Keyana, who died of massive cerebral trauma,
was sexually assaulted by her killer.
'Mothers must get
their prority right'
Wilson also made a passionate plea to single
mothers to get their priorities right for the
sake of their children.
Wilson said too many women were getting
involved in relationships that did more harm
than good for the family unit.
Yesterday the Congress of the People, a
member of the PP, called for stronger pro-
tection of our children, while the Catholic
Commission for Social Justice pleaded with
citizens to stand up for the rights of the
nation s children.
Child activist and former government min-
ister Verna St Rose-Greaves disrupted Par-
liament on Friday, shouting that Prime Min-
ister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had failed the
nation s children. She said it could no longer
be business as usual.
PM---enough is enough
Persad-Bissessar in a press release issued
on Friday stated that the murder of Keyana
was a tragedy that was simply too horrific to
The PM stated that her thoughts and prayers
were with Keyana s family.
"But as Prime Minister, I will not allow
this to happen to our children. I will not allow
it to continue, enough is enough! And to the
one who is responsible for this crime or any
crime such as this, we will find you, and we
will punish you," the release stated.
Playing politics with
the nation's children
Former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence
Maharaj said yesterday that the PM s tough
talk came 13 years too late.
Maharaj said that in 1998 there was a public
consultation on the issue of protecting chil-
"We passed the Children s Authority Act
in 2000. It was felt at that time that children
needed protection, and that the Children s
Authority would have had wide ranging powers
in communities and nationally to take the
The act was passed in both Houses,
Maharaj said, and only had to be proclaimed
when the PNM went into office. That did not
He said the legislation was part of a package
which included the Children s Community
Residences Foster Care and Nurseries Act of
"So it was recognised by the public that it
needed these laws to protect children."
However, Maharaj said when the PNM came
into office in 2007 they asked for new laws,
and "they went through the whole process
The Opposition UNC, Maharaj said, "led
by Kamla at that time, took the position that
all that was needed was a single process to
do whatever amendments were needed and
implement the law."
This, too, fell by the wayside.
During the run-up to the 2010 general elec-
tion campaign, the UNC condemned the PNM
administration for wasting time and not
implementing the act.
Almost four years later, Maharaj said, the
PP has not implemented the act.
"The Government has not regarded the
children as a priority, but they are prepared
to cry crocodile tears. This is total incompe-
PNM, UNC had 13 years
to implement the act
Maharaj said both the UNC and PNM had
13 years to implement the act.
"But this Government should share the
most blame for having condemned the PNM
and then doing the same thing," he added.
Maharaj said when he examined the act of
2000 and current act "there is not much of
a difference. So what they have done really
is a lot of politicking."
He said when an act is passed it is merely
to put in place institutions.
"So that cannot take four years to imple-
ment. I think there is no political will and
Maharaj said mid-December was sufficient
time for the Government to implement the
Act will be fully proclaimed
by February---De Coteau
Gender, Youth and Child Development
Minister Clifton De Coteau, meanwhile, has
promised that by February 2014 the Children s
Governments past and present...
Playing politics with children
Continues on Page A7
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