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PM yet to name Child Task Force

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has not yet named the members of the proposed Child Protection Task Force as was promised on Sunday. In a release by her office yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said the names would be released “upon the completion of protocols and confirmation of the acceptance by nominees.” The team’s first meeting is scheduled for Friday at the Gender, Youth and Child Development Ministry, Tower D, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain.



The PM announced the establishment of the task force after visiting on Sunday the relatives of six-year-old Keyana Cumberbatch. A post-mortem revealed she died from blunt force trauma and may have been sexually assaulted while unconscious. 



Persad-Bissessar said yesterday the task force would carry out an in-depth analysis of the factors which caused an increased risk of crime against children and make proposals on how legislation, government, non-governmental organisations, parents and other stakeholders could better protect children.


She said the team was expected to submit its report within six weeks and its recommendations would be discussed in Cabinet and subsequently presented to Parliament. The recommendations will be implemented by relevant ministries and state agencies. The PM said all previous surveys and reports on child protection would be revisited and considered by the task force and experts and other stakeholders would be welcome to make presentations and discuss the various issues concerning the well-being of children.



Task force mandate

The PM said the objectives of the task force were:
• Start, complete and review all provisions, regulations, legislation, and public processes to protect children. 
• Provide recommendations and create risk resolutions. 
• Suggest ways to fully empowering the Children’s Authority.
• Make recommendations on specific risk areas which will require state interventions.
• Suggest how early-warning systems can be structured to detect children who live in risk situations and provide improved counselling and specialist care services for children.


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