The Network of NGOs of T&T for the Advancement of Women has commended Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for her well thought-out and strategic choices in Cabinet appointees, and particularly welcomes economist Mary King and MP Ramona Ramdial to the Gender Affairs portfolio. "We are grateful for Persad-Bissessar for demonstrating that hers will be a government that listens in taking aboard our suggestion the gender portfolio be included in the Planning Ministry, and agrees on the need that all immediately set to work," said Dr Kris Rampersad, international relations director of the Network in a news release. Rampersad said her organisation also brings to the attention of Persad-Bissessar, as the new chairman of the Commonwealth, the imminent Commonwealth Women Affairs Ministers Meeting to take place in Barbados from Friday to June 9.
The network offers to provide a brief, at a meeting with new Minister of Foreign Affairs Suruj Rambachan, on priority issues related to the Caribbean. These include matters surrounding the location of the chair of the Commonwealth Women's Network (CWN) to the Caribbean. Rampersad said the network, a former host of the CWN, had been involved in Commonwealth meetings since its inception, and served as the NGO host to the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the T&T. Further, the network is seeking meetings with the new Ministers of Culture and Foreign Affairs on the use of international instruments within UNESCO, the Commonwealth and the OAS for strengthening the positioning of local culture abroad.
The network said this had been a vastly neglected area of international outreach and often the network had been the sole T&T voice at various international forums, representing T&T's culture in these areas. Rampersad said: "Given the network's view, all issues are gender issues, and gender issues are national issues. Also on the network's priority lists are audiences with Ministers of Local Government, Chandresh Sharma and King to share our expertise in gender mainstreaming and preparation of candidates for the upcoming local government election." The organisation is seeking an audience with Minister of Food Production Vasant Bharath in developing agriculture so as to adequately benefit rural women and children.
It is also seeking a meeting with holders of social sectors' portfolio, Dr Glen Ramadharsingh and Nizam Baksh, to discuss ways that would benefit the some two-thirds of women and children affected by neglect of social and community development. Rampersad also expressed concern that immediate relief can be brought to thousands of women and children affected by pressures of traffic morning and evening by a feasible and affordable "park and ride" system and called on new Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner to move quickly on alleviating the physical and mental toll of traffic on citizens.