Youth, youth advocates pleased with new President

Zalia Robinson-Regis takes a selfie with her sister Sarai, Prime Minister Keith Rowley, mothe Camille Robinson-Regis, and Sharon Rowley during the reception following at NAPA, Frederick Street, Port of Spain. - Ayanna Kinsale
Zalia Robinson-Regis takes a selfie with her sister Sarai, Prime Minister Keith Rowley, mothe Camille Robinson-Regis, and Sharon Rowley during the reception following at NAPA, Frederick Street, Port of Spain. - Ayanna Kinsale

Many of the attendees at the inauguration of now President Christine Kangaloo at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Monday were students who came with school contingents. They reacted with approval to Kangaloo’s inaugural speech, which focused on how the president’s office could reach out to young people.

During her inaugural speech, Kangaloo promised that she would try to put in place several objectives which would involve youth. These include programmes in primary schools to demystify the role of the president, advocacy for the adoption in communities of year-round, youth delinquency prevention programmes like the panyard model, and for the office to become a cradle of intellectual, cultural and artistic exploration among young people.

A Queen’s Royal College student said he found it was very inspiring for the country to have a president that has a vision for the country and wants to change the country for the better.

Another student said, “as someone who’s never been to something like this before, it’s good to see people clap and cheer for the new President.

A Bishop Anstey High School student said the speech was inspirational. “I hope the stuff she said she’s going to do, I hope it actually happens, and for the first time being here, it was nice.”

She said she would attend events at President’s House if given the opportunity.

A Girl Guide said it was nice to meet the President. “It was a pleasure meeting her and seeing what she is like, she seemed very nice. I feel ok about the plans she said and what she’s going to do. I would like to see her come to my school.”

A student representative of the Red Cross Society from the St Margaret’s Boy’s Anglican School said,

“I felt honoured to be here and I’m glad that there’s someone in the community of TT who can take this responsibility and actually try to do it.”

Education Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said she loved the focus on youth and was looking forward to seeing what the ministry could do to assist with the President’s efforts.

Approached for an interview at the reception, the Prime Minister said, “Allyuh not serious.”

UWI Principal Rose-Marie Belle Antoine said she was proud that Kangaloo was an alumna of the institution.

“I thought the speech was quite conciliatory, and it’s good that accessibility will be an important part of her term, I was happy to hear that, although there needs to be balance, because there are all these security issues, but it’s a good move to be more accessible to the public and for them to understand the role of the President.”

Court of Appeal judge Gillian Lucky said Kangaloo’s speech was inspirational and motivational, and showed the new President’s personality.

“Her focus on the youth is excellent and Her Excellency must be complimented that she indicated in clear terms, which she repeated at the end in true lawyer style after making submissions, what the goals are and how we are going to achieve them. By focusing on the youth, the future of our country, she has given each and every citizen the opportunity to participate. My hope is that everyone who heard the President today, or will read and hear her speech, will ask themselves, what role can I play in terms of fulfilling the goals laid out by Her Excellency.

She said what came to mind was using movements like Girl Guides to spread the message about the presidency, as well as a “Know Your Presidency” show similar to the “Know Your Country” show.

“What we have to start doing is raising awareness using the mediums and fora that resonate with young people – Instagram, TikTok, Facebook – but of course with our offices you have to have it controlled. I am heartened by what the president has said, I love the inclusivity of the focus, and the roadmap we have been given.”

Girl Guides’ Association President Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan said the group would be inviting Kangaloo to be their patron.

“What she said about youth resonated with what we’re doing in Girl Guides right now. You would understand the need for the teaching and values of Guiding, they are still very relevant today to our young girls. I was happy today to hear her speak about primary schools, because that’s where it starts. One of the things we miss, is that we think we can develop these morals, values, behaviours, of that ideal citizen at a later stage in life. It doesn’t happen then, it happens from very young.

“I hope the President keeps her promise to be accessible and our girls will have access to her because it is these sort of role models that inspire our girls to lead, and I look forward to our President playing that role, inspiring girls to lead.”


"Youth, youth advocates pleased with new President"

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