In 2010, the Kamla Persad Bissessar administration began the distribution of computers to children in Form 1 of Secondary Schools. Approximately 95, 000 computers have been distributed to students and teachers. When this matter first came up in Parliament it met with serious criticisms and even outright opposition from the PNM MP’s particularly former school Principal and now MP Patricia Mc Intosh.
This opposition has not waned. Today every child up to Form 5 has received a computer from the PP Government. This is an interesting method for the re-distribution of the nation’s wealth and the uplifting of the vulnerable children and their families. It also says a lot about the value system of Mrs Bissessar and her government in terms of creating a more equitable society and providing opportunities for all.
While this is happening in her Government we have the unsightly spectacle of an aspiring PM Dr Keith Rowley “dry humping a child” and dismissing it as “its carnival.” What a contrast in values. That same weekend we saw the Hon PM Mrs Bissessar with her grandson visiting the temples for Maha Shivrathri.
The development and protection of the child has always been at the heart and core of the Kamla Persad Bissessar administration. Whether it is computers, the Children’s Life Fund, the Children’s Hospital, the achievement of Universal Early Childhood Education, the construction of over sixty two (completed) new early childhood education centers, the partnering with private institutions to ensure that 36,000 young children are in quality early childhood centers, our children’s safety, security and future have always been a major goal of her administration.
Lest we forget, the introduction of the baby milk grant for vulnerable mothers is another example of her love and care for children.
Apart from these initiatives, the establishment of the Children’s Authority as well as the introduction of other legislation aimed at securing the well-being of our children has set apart her administration from that of the PNM. It is her administration that has established the Child Protection Task Force headed by Mrs Diana Mahabir Wyatt as well as a program for the upgrade of Community Residencies for housing children. Recently, the Youth Rally involving the churches, NGO’s and other youth and children’s organizations aimed at uplifting the children as well as increasing the nation’s sensitivity and consciousness about our children was successfully held with the coordination of Pastor Winston Mansingh and others.
Most recently, her call to the Minister of Education, and the setting up of a Cabinet Committee for a report to deal with bullying and in general violence in schools demonstrate that for her, children and their well-being is not a one off thing but it is at the heart of her desire to achieve prosperity for all (including children). The Minister of Education has ensured that 194 schools now have 16 piece pan ensembles as part of the pan in the classroom program and as well has successfully introduced a multicultural music program in schools with 46 instructors. The child is at the center of Mrs Bissessar’s vision for children are the future.
Now, how does this compare with what we saw on Carnival Tuesday in San Fernando. It asks and answers the question as to who the people will want as leader and Prime Minister for the next five years. The people of this nation still prefer a values based leader.
With the soon to be opened National Aquatic Center and the National Cycling Center and the already opened Teaching Hospital in San Fernando where 109 new Pediatric beds have been added there is no doubt as to who really has a vision for the children of this nation and who is putting that vision into action.
The Kamla Persad Bissessar Legacy has already been written in this area of national transformation.
Deputy Political Leader -UNC