038_Global13_Spotlight_Tri&Tob

Global 13

SpotlightTrinidad and Tobago  Planning and Sustainable Development, the tering secondary school, as well as to their government has identified six business clus- teachers, underscoring the government’s ters – Energy, Food Sustainability, Maritime, commitment to learning and to bridging the and National Innovation Policy, which we Credit: © World Economic Forum/Photo Bel Pedrosa and skills-building programmes.In Trinidad and Tobago, one of the maindigital divide.challenges of the education system is not theexclusion or marginalisation of young girls,but that our young women are significantlyoutperforming their male counterparts. TheEconomic diversification is not a quick Tourism, Creative Industries and Financial Services – to drive its diversification targets. The government is also actively pursuing the operationalisation of a National Innovation System of Trinidad and Tobago (NISTT) anticipate will act as a catalyst for increased problem is rather the underachievement of innovation to be the driving force behind our boys and young men. Therefore, we have economic sustainability. sought to target young males in mentorship fix solution but has to be sustained in the Our thrust to bridge the digital divide has medium and long term. It would require Kamla Persad-Bissessar speaking at the 2011 World resulted in greater access to online tertiary political will and fortitude to water and Economic Forum on Latin America in Rio de Janeiro education programmes, thereby opening nurture the seeds of diversification, through the window of opportunity for both young the economic ups and downs, to take deep The vision for the Commonwealth has al- men and women to learn at their own pace roots and bear fruits many years from now. ways been multifaceted, as it has evolved and achieve their own academic goals My administration has the diversification over the years to cater to the political, social while they pursue their careers. of the economy as a top priority and is com- and economic development of its member mitted to the long-term process. states. In doing so, the vision for the Com- As Commonwealth Chair, you had project- monwealth is that of a network of col- ed an increase in women’s representation Caricom continues to fail to meet projected laborative organisations and partnerships, in parliament and cabinet to 30 percent objectives in relation to the establish- which can be a force for the greater good of minimum, 50 percent where the first has ment and operation of the Single Market its membership and for the world. been reached. Was that a successful pro- Economy. Several deadlines have been jection? Has it been achieved in your own missed. Has the economic and trade group- government? ing run its course? In Trinidad and Tobago, The government of Trinidad and Tobago is I do not believe so. Economic integration for committed to establishing mechanisms to countries all over the world has always been one of the main challenges accelerate the achievement of gender equal- a challenge. Caricom is the second major ity in political participation and representa- of the education system market for Trinidad and Tobago and pro- tion at all levels of the electoral process. It vides an avenue for sharpening our domes- is not the exclusion or is also dedicated to ensuring women’s full tic competitiveness since we are the leading participation on the basis of equality with exporter in Caricom, generating in excess marginalisation of young men in all areas of public life, including of 80 percent of intra-Caricom merchandise girls, but that our young governmental bodies, the judiciary, trade exports. Therefore, Trinidad and Tobago’s unions, the private sector, political parties, further integration with the Caricom region women are significantly employers’ organisations, research and aca- must, by necessity, remain a priority. demic institutions, and national corpora- Trinidad and Tobago, as a member of outperforming their tions. Caricom, is fully committed to the realisa- male counterparts My government intends to support these tion of a Caricom Single Market and Econ- objectives by providing gender awareness omy (CSME) since the main objectives training for recruiting bodies, including po- of the CSME are: full use of labour (full litical parties, to ensure that women partici- employment); full exploitation of the other One area envisioned for further develop- pate equally; and by implementing mecha- factors of production (natural resources and ment is the strengthening of the Common- nisms to evaluate and monitor progress. capital); and competitive production lead- wealth’s role in education, in particular, I am pleased to report that there have ing to greater variety and quantity of prod- the issue of the education of young girls. been increases in women’s overall partici- ucts and services to trade with other coun- This is particularly important to me, as in pation in national leadership and decision- tries extra-regionally. many parts of the world there is systemic making in Trinidad and Tobago. Participa- It is therefore expected that these objec- discrimination, which denies them access tion of women has increased in the Lower tives will in turn provide improved stand- to education, therefore shackling them and House from 11.1 percent in 2001 to 28.6 ards of living and sustained economic de- relegating them to a life of marginalisation percent in 2010, and that figure has been velopment throughout the region. and poverty. maintained up to 2012. In Trinidad and Tobago, education re- We are currently preparing for local gov- You were Chair-in-Office of the Common- mains one of the largest expenditure items ernment elections in 2013 and it is my hope wealth up to October 2012 and you are now in the annual budget. We maintain free and that we will see increased women’s partici- part of its leadership, ‘Troika’. What is your compulsory education for all children up to pation in the local government arena. As of vision of the Commonwealth’s role in the the age of 16. My government’s eConnect April 2012, there were 40 female council- future, and how is your government pursu- and Learn (eCAL) programme distributes lors, accounting for 30 percent of persons ing that vision? computers annually to girls and boys en- in local government.● 38 lwww.global-briefing.org first quarter 2013global


Global 13
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