PM: 2013 the year of collaboration
Tuesday, January 1 2013
PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, in her New Year’s message to the nation has declared 2013 as, “the year for collaboration.”
“I make an appeal to public servants that we must improve on our service delivery. The tax dollars and revenue of the country pays us all. Citizens are our employers, all of us, politicians included.
“It takes too long to process applications for pensions, gratuities, National Insurance Benefits, applications for work permits, Certificates of Character, cleaning of drains, repairs to public buildings, upkeep of parks, cemeteries and recreational facilities. The public service must be reformed as quickly as possible,” Persad-Bissessar said in her wide ranging address which touched on issues including crime, the economy and the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago.
She identified child abuse and domestic violence as two areas Government will focus on this New Year. Noting that child abuse has physical, verbal and psychological dimensions to it, Persad-Bissessar said, “In all of these areas we need to make amends. My aim of creating child friendly communities is still much alive. This means that any impediments to a child’s growth, development and happiness must be addressed.”
On domestic violence, the Prime Minister said, “There were horrible domestic violence cases this last year.” Observing that coping with emotional problems appeared to be “a real challenge for a portion of our male population in particular.”
“It is obvious that we have to, as communities, become more aware about these cases and have at the level of the villages and towns persons who can intervene at a very early stage. This brings to mind the need for us to strengthen our mediation centres across the country,” she said.
And a day after promising significant economic and other benefits for Tobago if the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) wins the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections on January 21, Persad-Bissessar declared that this election is, “sending a very clear message to the voting public in Tobago that the Government is serious about treating Tobago with dignity and as an equal partner.”
Persad-Bissessar boasted that 2012 was a good year for this country’s economy. “Despite the continuing global economic and financial challenges we have maintained low unemployment rates, low inflation, a stable economy and financial system and have seen a return in confidence of investors in the energy sector with a minimum of 19 billion to be invested,” she said. Persad-Bissessar also said there are “visible signs of an increase in local economic activities especially in the service and construction sectors, these in themselves are statements of local investor confidence.”
She said crime remains a top priority for Government into 2013. “The security of the nation and the security of our citizens will remain my top priority,” Persad-Bissessar declared. “Crime reduction must be relentlessly pursued with a renewed emphasis and vigour on the removal of arms and ammunition from the streets and the criminals. We must do better in this area,” she said. The Prime Minister, who chairs the National Security Council, stressed that “we must improve our intelligence about how guns arrive here and how they are made available to criminals.”