SOME ten new facilities to help vulnerable children were yesterday announced by Minister of Local Government, Marlene Coudray, speaking on behalf of Gender Affairs Minister, Clifton De Coteau.
This was one of several measures to help the nation’s children, including TT signing a United Nation’s Children’s Fund (Unicef) agreement to recognise the status of children, all coming after public outrage at recent cases of gross child-abuse including the murder of Keyana Cumberbatch, six.
The initiatives were all announced at yesterday’s post-Cabinet media conference at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), St Clair.
Coudray said Cabinet approved $191 million in funding for the Gender Ministry to build the 10 shelter facilities.
The $191 million consists of $156 million for construction costs, $27 million for consultancy and project management costs and $7 million for a preliminary budget. Coudray said. The assessment centres for at-risk, neglected and abused children will be built at Ste Madeleine and Chaguanas. They will assess what physical and psychological support is needed by youngsters.
The safe homes will help young domestic violence victims until they are socially and financially independent, and are to provide security, psychological support and access to the social services. The two female facilities will be at Princes Town and Guaya.
Two transition homes — one for males, the other for females — will each house 12 persons for about two years and later help them achieve independent living. Cabinet will help rebuild an old Salvation Army hostel for young women, known as the Josephine Shaw House. An institute for healing is carded for Chatham, and two remand homes for Golden Grove.
Planning Minister, Bhoe Tewarie, said he will sign a Multi Nation Action Programme agreement with Unicef to promote children’s rights in line with the United Nations (UN) Conventions on Women and Children, and the UN’s Millennium Development goals. He said that by 2016, TT should have all the requisite laws in place to protect children from violence and all forms of discrimination.
Tewarie also said today he will sign an $11 million agreement for the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) whereby the UN, Government Ministries and local NGOs will work towards the goals of poverty reduction, health, citizen security, gender equality and food security and the environment.
Tewarie also said a technical/vocational and cultural/community facility will be built in Belmont on 14 acres of lands donated by the Roman Catholic Church to the Maryland Belmont Community Development Foundation working with his Ministry. The project will otherwise be funded from the Public Sector Investment Programme and the Infrastructure Development Fund.
The facility will add to the capital city’s sustainable development.