Princes Town MP Barry Padarath highlighted the wanton disregard for the vital units established for the country’s most vulnerable, by this PNM government. In a recent statement, Stephanie Daly SC – Chairman of the board of the Children’s Authority (CA) has highlighted the increasing demands and the serious lack of funding in the CA. Padarath explained that the Child Protection Unit has met with a similar fate and therefore the only ones suffering are the children and youths of the nation. His stance comes on the heels of several dire concerns raised by Daly SC regarding the realities faced by the children whose care falls under the authority.
The Princes Town MP indicated that the Government was starving critical institutions and organs of state from funding and resources and that an important institution like the Children’s Authority should be high on the list of priorities of the Government
The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (also referred to as the Authority) is a specialised agency with the responsibility for the care and protection of children, especially those who are at risk or have been victims of abuse or neglect. The initiative that started under the People’s Partnership Administration, had recently recorded over 5,700 (five thousand, seven hundred) abuse cases, 20 percent of which are sexual abuse cases. The Princes Town MP stated that the Children’s Authority as well as the Child Protection Unit, have been repeatedly airing their urgent concerns over the past few months since they lack the basic machinery required to treat with the issues affecting those under their care. The state must become serious about protecting our children. The PNM government is hurriedly bringing half-baked legislation forward to trap the public under an illusion that some effort is being made on their part to help the most vulnerable, when in fact, they are starving the very machinery established to actually do the work required to make that difference.
Padarath warned that the government needs to act swiftly to prioritise the protection of our nation’s children, he stated that the government should begin dialogue with the Police Service and the Children’s Authority as soon as possible on these matters and that the PNM’s lack of action or dialogue on these matters is utterly disrespectful and hurtful to our nation’s children.
The Princes Town MP indicated that he was very disappointed that the medical, legal and social sectors of the country appeared to be under siege by the Government and that there was a continued erosion of trust and confidence in these institutions because of the lack of support from the Government. He further lamented that after a sixty three billion dollar budget passed by the current administration there should be greater levels of support to the most vulnerable especially the children.
He also highlighted that Government was taking the milk out of the mouths of babes with respect to the termination of the baby care grant as well as the programs geared towards assisting families with cerebral palsy.
Padarath called on the Government to heed the calls of the Child Protection Unit and the Children’s Authority and to provide them with the resources that is needed to carry out their work effectively. He recalled that the Prime Minister had indicated that the Police Service must be held accountable for the results that their work yields or lack their off. He stated that similarly the state also owes it to these institutions to ensure that they are well staffed and well-resourced in order for them to yield real, tangible and positive results.
The MP stated that the government should stop paying lip service to these critical issues and that their Public Relations was becoming more and more transparent. He added that the time had come for action and therefore they must stop punishing the children of our nation and give the much deserved support to our critical institutions and stop starving them from resources