PRESIDENT Paula Mae Weekes said last Friday that she intends to be a hands-on head of state in helping to build communities, and while there are limitations to her role “I think, first of all, the President needs to be available.
“That is to say, while we must follow protocol and things must be done in good order, the President must be able to be in contact with the communities,” Weekes said during the launch of i95.5FM’s Laventille Nights Series at the Sea Lots Basketball Court.
She said this was one reason she accepted the invitation to attend the event.
Weekes was responding to a question from i95.5FM host Dale Enoch with respect to how she sees her role in advancing particularly depressed communities.
“I think, first of all, the President needs to let the communities know that where things are bad, they need not always be so, and to inspire the people who are able. And it is the people in the communities who have to do the work, give them ideas and mould their thinking, help them develop their own ideas about how they are going to make their communities better. So, it means the President has to go out...”
Weekes said while she has received requests for visits to communities “in an environment that isn’t necessarily conducive to problem-solving.
“So that the President has to go out into the communities, speak with the people and get a true sense of what is going on, because while I do not live in an ivory tower, my particular insight into communities is, to some extent, anecdotal. So that you have to get there and hear the people speak – not their representatives, the people themselves – and then you can speak to them directly to see what relief you can bring to areas, by finding resources that come from another sector of the society that might be able to assist them.”
The President said the solutions to the problems confronting many communities would not be solved overnight. On her tenure thus far, Weekes said she has met many people doing incredible things in communities.