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Sunday 26 May 2019
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Draft National Child Policy complete

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy.
Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy.

MINISTER in the Office of the Prime Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy says the draft National Child Policy has been completed.

She was contributing to debate on the 2018/2019 budget in the Parliament building Tuesday.

She said the policy is the first of its kind in the region and should set a framework to provide adequate and suitable legislation, services and infrastructure that will ensure the rights of the child. It will serve as an umbrella policy, she explained, to introduce separate sub-policies, including the Child Protection Policy, a National Strategic Framework for Child Protection, the Children in Alternative Care Policy, the Nursery Policy, Early Childhood Development policy, Framework for Care and Protection of Children with Disabilities and Vacation Camp Manual and Guidelines.

She said NGOs have told her they admire her drive and passion but she “feeds off” her boss, the Prime Minister, and his direction, leadership and passion motivated her to do her best.

Webster-Roy said she had always heard negative stories about the St Michael’s Home for Boys, but as governments came and went no one was brave enough to take the bull by the horns.

“If it not working, if the staff not functioning, if the boys aren’t being cared for, close it down. Find some place else to put them. This Government, this Cabinet, this Prime Minister was brave enough to do it.”

All the former inmates, she said, have been successfully transferred via family reintegration or to alternative community residences. She said whenever she has discussions with Dr Rowley she is always reminded of her own father.

“He may not always make a point the way we want to hear it, but the message is always sincere and from the heart. When it comes to matters pertaining to children and women, two of our most vulnerable groups in society, there is no compromise with this Prime Minister, and this has been demonstrated through some of the policy measures implemented under his leadership.”

Webster-Roy, also Tobago East MP, said Tobago has faced tough times and its fair share of challenges over the last two years. She said despite inconveniences endured while Government worked to resolve the issues on the seabridge, “We can’t deny the fact that there has been growth and meaningful development taking place on the island of Tobago and in Tobago East.”

She said a number of projects had been completed, or were ongoing or planned which can be celebrated. She reported the Roxborough Police Station construction was well advanced and will be completed in this fiscal year, the Old Grange Police Station was progressing as planned, demolition of old Roxborough Fire Station building will start this week and construction of a new modern one will begin in this fiscal year.

“I may not go around the country all cocky and boasting with a bullhorn, but I can confidently say that I have consistently advocated for and on behalf of the people of Tobago,” she concluded.

She said one fault of this Government is not boasting enough about what it does and why it does it.

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