This Sunday we take time to honour and celebrate the special role fathers play in the home, in their communities and in our nation.
While this holds true today, the traditional roles of fathers have evolved; they are also compassionate, generous, and provide care and love to their children.
Today, more than ever, we need our nation’s fathers to ensure that they teach their children important values such as honesty and integrity and lead by word and example.
In this way, by instilling positive values from an early age, children can become productive citizens and better human beings. I urge fathers to use the opportunity of this Father’s Day to reflect on your role and responsibilities in order to identify limitations and solutions, as well as to recommit to strengthening family bonds.
In the midst of your celebrations, however, I ask that you take a moment to spare a thought and prayer for those who have lost their fathers, and to those fathers who may have lost their sons or daughters, some who may have fallen victim to crime.
Under this Government, we are losing a generation of young people, young men – fathers and future fathers, as a result of rising crime and criminality. More must be done to protect our young boys from falling prey to the wrong influences, and also to assist those fathers who have lost loved ones through varying circumstances, or who may be having a hard time coping with financial difficulties.
It is with this in mind that the Government which I led focused on improving education, creating new opportunities for young people to learn skills with which they could gain sustainable employment, or get into business on their own.
We increased access to tertiary education, including technical-vocational programmes, started a parenting education programme, implemented a Community Education Skills Programme, and introduced the Micro-Enterprise Training and Development Grant (MEG) for small business development. Such programmes are critical in providing opportunities to young people, so that they can improve their lives and those of their families.
As we mark Father’s Day, there are exceptional men who either take on, of their own accord, or who may have been thrust into the role of guardian or mentor. It takes courage to step forward and take up the responsibility of caring and nurturing young minds, and these “fathers” deserve praise for demonstrating such commitment, and bringing hope to so many.
Being a father is no easy task, and there will always be challenges. To have the strength and will to rise above these challenges, and to sacrifice, work hard so that your children can have what they need, for this I applaud you.
On this occasion of Father’s Day 2018, on behalf of the Opposition, I extend my best wishes to all fathers, and father figures, of our beloved nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
I thank you for your dedication and devotion to your children and families and I wish for you a very Happy Father’s Day.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition
17th June 2018