Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 1st 2013 Contents A7
December 1, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
that by February 2014 the Children s
Authority Act would be fully pro-
De Coteau gave the assurance on Fri-
"By February the act will be fully
proclaimed," he promised.
"It is really a sad day for us in Trin-
bago. I could feel the pain. This situation
is really unfortunate," De Coteau said,
commenting on the death of Keyana.
It was reported that the act was not
been fully proclaimed because some
children s homes disagreed with parts
of the legislation, fearing it would take
away their autonomy and give the
authority complete control over them.
De Coteau said while it was easy to
get angry and point fingers at the
authority and the Government, "we
have laws for other things as well, and
people blatantly break these laws."
De Coteau said his ministry was
doing its part to help parents, in par-
ticular single mothers.
"We are looking at communities and
the general care of children."
Asked what provisions his ministry
had put in place to assist distressed
single mothers, De Coteau said there
are six safe houses women can go to
when faced with problems in their rela-
tionships or marriages.
He admitted that the community
residences that were also set up to pro-
tect vulnerable mothers and children
needed to be advertised.
"Honestly, it appears to be one of
the best kept secret."
Given the circumstances, De Coteau
said, "we always have to try and
De Coteau also said some single
mothers sometimes end up in a rela-
tionship "thinking that this person is
the right choice, when they are not."
Browne: UNC record very poor
Almost three years after the Prime
Minister promised to leave no stones
unturned to protect our children, noth-
ing has changed. Our children continue
to be slaughtered.
The observation was made by
Diego Martin Central MP and for-
mer minister of social development
Dr Amery Browne on Friday.
Browne recalled that in 2011 the
PM had attended the funeral of
Daniel Guerra, eight, who was bru-
tally murdered after he went miss-
ing. Daniel s body was found in a
flood-swollen river at Tarouba,
San Fernando. Three autopsies
were done on Daniel s body, the
last showing that he died from
In tears at Daniel s family home,
Persad-Bissessar begged parents
to protect their young ones. She
even said that the Government
must leave no stones unturned to
bring the monster to justice, even
if it means bringing in international
"Since then, many children have
been innocently slaughtered, we ve
had no update on Daniel, and we ve
had no implementation of any of
the promises made at that time."
Detective Constable Darwin
Ghourlalal, who was charged with
Daniel s murder, walked out of the
San Fernando Magistrates Court
a free man a few months ago.
"It is sad that our children
remain at risk. This country is not
safe for children. That is clear,"
"Many decades after T&T
signed the Convention on the
Rights of the Child there are still
steps required of us, as a State and
society, to make this place fit for
Browne said while the UNC took
issue with the Children s Authority
and the Children s Bill while the
PNM was in power, "unfortunately
their record has been very poor."
Browne said in 2009 the Chil-
dren s Authority Act was partially
proclaimed in Parliament to allow
for the immediate appointment of
a Children s Authority board,
recruitment of staff and facilities.
It was projected that by 2011
the authority would have been fully
established, but that never hap-
"We have recognised the role
for a strong national agency to take
the lead in this particular matter
beyond all the politics and pos-
turing that occurred in the past.
I am fully in support of any steps
that can be taken to get this
authority up to speed."
Last April hundreds marched in
solidarity for abused and murdered
children in T&T.
Browne said the slow imple-
mentation of the act over the years
had impacted several administra-
• He said, however, the public
must get more involved in advo-
cating for a system that can help
create a safer environment for chil-
"The public must have greater
responsibility within their own
homes, organisations and com-
munities to increase awareness of
the signs of danger."
•Parents must also not shun
from their responsibility, Browne
"There are some things beyond
our control, and it is clear that the
devil can enter into the hearts and
minds of individuals and produce
the most brutal and horrific actions
against a child."
• Browne said the Government
should waste no time in putting
strong and effective systems in
place, including the mobilisation
of trained professionals to help
vulnerable and at-risk families.
"We have seen too many cases
of people leaving children in care
of unfit individuals, including our
• His advice to mothers:
"Whenever there is doubt, there
is no doubt."
'PNM gave Verna's Children's Bill
Browne also agreed with
Maharaj that 13 years was too much
time for the act not to be fully
He explained that there were
some weaknesses and controversy
with the initial drafted legislation.
Maharaj says mid-December sufficient to pass act to protect children...
'PM's tough talk comes too late'
Malik and Makasi Reyes
Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj
Dr Amery Browne
Continues on Page A16
Continued from Page A6
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