Opposition Shadow Minister for Children’s Affairs, Barry Padarath has produced two pieces of Hansard that clearly illustrates that former Social Development Minister, Manohar Ramsaran on Friday June 2nd, 2006 indicated in the Finance Committee that the Sabga Report was laid in the Parliament.
Padarath also produced the Hansard record of the Parliament from the debate on the Children’s Amendment Bill dated November 19th, 2002 where then Independent Senator, Professor Ramesh Deosaran made specific reference to the report. Both pieces of Hansard and references are attached.
The Princes Town MP said that this flies in the face of the comments and insinuations made by Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley that the Panday administration hid the report and protected perpetrators of sexual and physical abuse against children.
The Opposition MP stated that former Minister Ramsaran and the Panday administration acted on the report and implemented several of the recommendations which included the strengthening of the legal framework that governs children’s homes.
Padarath has called on the Trinidad Express to issue an immediate apology to Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad Bissessar for accusing her of having no moral authority to speak on matters of the abuse of children based on an insinuation that the report was hidden and nothing was done to effect the recommendations.
The MP further added that it was the UNC administration that birthed several pieces of legislation that was aimed at protecting the children of the country, while the PNM left it to languish when they came into office in 2002. He added that it was Siparia MP, Kamla Persad Bissessar that championed and advocated for the operationalizing of the Children’s Authority, which only happened many years later when she became the Prime Minister.
The Opposition MP said that the current government must surely be concerned about the high ranking non UNC politicians named in the report as well as the holder of a very high office in the country. The question that is now being asked is what will be done on that issue.
The Princes Town MP indicated that the Prime Minister has been a member of Parliament for over three decades and would have been a member of the house when the issue of the Sabga report was raised or referenced. Had the Prime Minister done a simple search of the Parliamentary Hansard, he would have known that the Sabga report was not hidden but instead he chose to politicize the abuse of children in order to score political points.