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Mahabir-Wyatt heads Child Task Force

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal pose for a photograph with recipients of new homes during yesterday’s distribution of homes at Cypress Hills, Union Hall, San Fernando. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH

Several of the 16 people named by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar as members of  the Child Abuse Task Force were uncertain of their appointments up to yesterday evening. Some named members insisted nothing had been confirmed. The task force, which has already come under criticism from Opposition MP Amery Browne, was initiated in response to the murder of six-year-old Keyana Cumberbatch.



It also follows an emotional outburst by former gender minister Verna St Rose-Greaves  in the Lower House on the Parliament’s failure to proclaim the Children Act in the Lower House. Several members of the task force, expressed confusion that their names were disclosed to the public. Manager of Mental Health at the Ministry of Health, Trudy Rouse, said she was not sure whether or not a task force had been officially set up.


“I agreed to go to a meeting to discuss the opportunity but I cannot say that I confirmed or accepted an appointment,” Rouse said. “I confirmed my attendance to the meeting.” Gregory Sloane-Seale, who finds himself on his second such task force, after serving on the Child Protection Task Force initiated after the death of eight-year-old Daniel Guerra in 2011, said he had agreed to Friday’s meeting. 



He added: “I have not been appointed yet. I agreed to go to the meeting. I need to see a terms of reference and to discuss exactly what it would be that we are doing. “The last task force I was on had recommendations and an action plan and that needs to be discussed.” Former Independent Senator and human rights activist Diana Mahabir-Wyatt, who initially denied that she had been contacted for the position, will lead the 16-member task force, which will be mandated to report on its findings in six weeks.


The task force will meet for the first time on Friday to discuss, among other things, its terms of reference and the official appointment of members.


Task force members

• Diana Mahabir-Wyatt, management expert — chairman.
• Clifton De Coteau, Minister of Gender, Child and Youth Development.
• Raziah Ahmed, junior minister of Gender, Child and Youth Development.
• Sandra Jones, permanent secretary, Ministry of Gender, Child and Youth Development.
• Anna Maria Mora, psychologist.
• Stephanie Daly, SC, chairman of the board of directors of the Children’s Authority.
• Hazel Brown, special envoy on women and girls.
• Brenda Gopeesingh, special envoy on women and girls.
• Gregory Sloane-Seale, programme co-ordinator, Citizens Security Programme.
• Zena Ramatali, president, National Parent Teachers’ Association.
• Pastor Clive Dottin, of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
•Kathy Bharrathsingh, manager of Student Support Services, Ministry of Education.
• Angela Edwards, chief technical officer, Ministry of the People and Social Development.
• Trudy Rouse, manager of Mental Health, Ministry of Health.
• Rondall Feeles,  president, Single Fathers’ Association of T&T.
• Margaret Sampson-Browne, retired assistant commissioner of police. 
• Hazel Thompson-Ahye,  attorney, mediator, educator and child rights advocate. 


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