Opposition Leader, Kamla Persa-Bissessar, is urging citizens in the nation to “refocus our energies, efforts and resources towards fulfilling the requirements of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a UN Convention to which this country is signatory.
In her message in observance of Universal Children’s Day 2019, the former prime minister and UNC political leader says the promotion and celebration of children’s rights will only redound towards building a better world for T&T’s children.
Mrs Persad-Bissessar, who is a former education minister, also says it is time we put the nation’s children first..
The full text of the opposition leader’s remarks, follow…
" I join the national and international community in recognizing Universal Children’s Day 2019, a day we recommit to advancing the rights of children and improving child welfare.
Even as we mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we recognize that there still so much to do for our nation’s children. Celebrated on 20 November each year, Universal Children's Day offers each of us an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children's rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for children.
We are called upon as a citizenry to refocus our energies, efforts and resources towards fulfilling the requirements of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
As a nation we are called to renew our commitment to the principles of child enrichment and enlightenment through four core principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child inclusive of:
1. Non discrimination
2. Devotion to the best interest of the child
3. The right of life, survival and development
4. Respect the views of the child and right of the child to participate
Sadly, when we look at our country today, we see that these principles are being flouted by some of those entrusted with the care of children.
Therefore, as I commend all those valiant NGOs and individuals who have taken child welfare to the core of their efforts, I call on all citizens to come together, hand in hand to create the systems, environment and framework needed to ensure all children achieve their true potential.
We are called upon to put children first, as they are the future leaders of our country. Each child is special, valuable and talented, and has a role to play in country's development.
Recognizing the critical need to lay the strong foundation by focusing on child development, the Government I led created a specific Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development as it was our view that this required just as much attention as the economic and social development. We introduced many policies to integrate technology in the classroom, to equip our children with the much-needed skills of the future. It is unfortunate that many of the initiatives introduced by my Government have been stopped.
Today is a day where, as citizens, we must all reflect on how our words, deeds and actions have or will impact in the progression of our children. We must temper our actions so as to ensure that they work in tandem with the creation of safe and secure spaces which will allow for all children to achieve their goals.
Let us use this special day to reinforce that no child is born without skill or talent, and it is our responsibility to inspire them to proudly utilize their unique gifts for the betterment of our nation.
I urge all of us – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other guardians - continue to show our children how important they are, and how loved they are. Protect them and cherish them.
We must all work towards a better future for our children and grandchildren, and ensure that we play a defining, positive role in the lives of the children around us. "
Story by NEWS DESK