United States Ambassador Candace Bond says that country stands ready to assist T&T in making education a reality for migrant children. Bond said so during a visit to La Romaine Migrant Support (LARMS) at the St Benedicts Roman Catholic Church yesterday. It was her first stop on a visit to south Trinidad
“We stand ready, along with the international community here, to assist in helping make education for migrants and refugees a reality in the country. I actually have a large background in that, as do members of the international community, and we’ve been discussing, and we stand ready to help the government of Trinidad and Tobago make that a reality,” she said.
Bond said she had served on the Los Angeles School Board overseeing two million students. She said education makes a significant difference in the lives of children and allows them to succeed.
She said the US Embassy is pleased to partner with LARMS which was awarded a US$25,000 Julia Taft Refugee Grant.
Noting the group’s assistance to families to meet their most fundamental needs by providing food, medicine and education, Bond added: “As LARMS teaches children and supports families with a variety of services, you will fulfil lives and make dreams come true.”
The ambassador said the United States accepts more refugees and migrants than any country, including 30,000 people primarily from this hemisphere every month.
“And we are the largest donor to address this humanitarian crisis, having given over US$2.8 billion to help assist migrants and refugees,” she said.
LARMS founder/coordinator Angie Ramnarine thanked the US Embassy for their support since the group’s inception in 2019.
“The support we have gotten from the United States Embassy has been the most tangible and the most long-term we have received up to now,” she said. “This was one case of diplomacy reaching the grassroots and they walked every step of the way with me to make sure that that happened.”
Recalling that they received funding from the grant in November 2022, Ramnarine said it is a six-month fund designated to be used not only for food and medicine but also for educational needs. She said the funds were critical in ensuring their programmes and services continue.
Bond also visited the Blind Welfare Association in San Fernando, where she became emotional while speaking about her “dear friend” Stevie Wonder.
“He would just be so proud to be here with you. Stevie is someone who has been able to use digital tools in technology to have the most beautiful life. His life is so full. He does not let anything stop him,” she said
Bond said the US Embassy gave a grant to Blind Welfare Association to teach coding to the visually impaired and ensure they are not left behind in the digital divide.
Encouraging them to take a page from Stevie Wonder’s book and embrace technology, she said she would ensure he visits T&T.
The ambassador also met with San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello, had lunch with members of the San Fernando Greater Area Chamber of Commerce and visited Naparima College and San Fernando Hill.
She said she looked forward to learning about communities in San Fernando and “will be on the hunt for the best doubles.”