On this International Day of the Girl Child, I express my hope for a brighter future for our nation’s children, and to see our young girls become more empowered and confident in their ability to take charge of their destiny.
Today, Trinidad and Tobago joins the global community in commemorating the International Day of the Girl Child, and I urge all girls and women to continue to work hard towards your goals, and to not let anyone deter you from achieving them.
To our nation’s leaders, which include all Parliamentarians, I call on you to do your part to lift the barriers to the development of our nation’s girls, and put measures in place to fulfill their potential.
I have always been mindful of the important role that education plays in empowering our girls, and I will continue to advocate for greater investment in our nation’s children and youth, in particular, through the use of information and communications technologies.
This is why the Government which I led focused on expanding ICTs in schools, and equipping our children with the tools they need to survive and thrive in what is being described as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” – a technological revolution that fundamentally changes how we work and live.
It is disappointing and disheartening that under the current administration, we are seeing the destruction of the gains made by the People’s Partnership in this area of ICTs in education.
Our nation’s girls are part of a global population of more than 1.1 billion, and each of them deserves equal opportunity, and the chance to fulfill their goals and dreams.
While many of our nation’s girls and young women are fortunate to be able to access opportunities for education, employment, healthcare and other services, far too many of them are faced with challenges such as poverty, abuse, a denial of educational opportunities and blatant discrimination based solely on gender.
We must, all of us, do more to end discrimination, and to protect our young women and girls.
To our girls of all ages, I encourage you to let your voice be heard. Be bold and grab hold of the reins of leadership, as each one of you has the potential to become a future leader and bring about positive change in our society.
Take it upon yourselves to work in your communities, to fight for equality, equity and justice, and to hold our leaders to account.
I remain adamant in my view that no society will ever attain its full potential until it allows its girls and women to take up leadership roles so they can contribute as equals in advancing national development.
Today as we celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, I re-commit to continue to do all in my power to end all manner of discrimination based on gender, and to empower our girls and women to fulfill their potential.
Leader of the Opposition