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T&T | Rowley forms committee to probe depressed communities after protests

Featured Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley
PORT-OF-SPAIN, July 3, 2020- Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has appointed a new committee to examine and establish the causes of disquiet and dissatisfaction among disenfranchised communities throughout the country.

Its aim will be to find a solution to the systemic socio-economic challenges faced by people living there and end them once and for all.

The people in these areas, glibly called “hotspots,” he said, have the same ambition, require the same services and want peace and prosperity in the same way as everyone else.

“(Calling) these areas hotspots and dismissing it is not how we will approach this. We will approach it as special areas requiring special attention,” he said at a media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s on Thursday.

The committee will be headed by Anthony Watkins, whom the Prime Minister described as having spent his life working in social pathology, mental health, correctional services and psychiatric forensic assessment.

Joining him will be radio personality Hans Des Vignes; community activist and former national football coach Jamaal Shabazz; life coach Curtis Toussaint; Culture Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly; social entrepreneur Akosua Edwards; and community activist Nicola Harvey of Laventille.

“And maybe (we will) add one or two others in the coming days,” Dr Rowley said.

The committee will be an appendage to the Roadmap to Recovery team charged with charting an economic sustainability course for the country post-covid19.

The committee echoes an initiative the Prime Minister championed in Parliament in 2004 as a way to connect to at-risk youth. That plan, he said, was passed in the House but shot down in the Senate by Opposition Senator Wade Mark, who suggested it was discriminatory because it focused on a specific group.

Rowley said only he had defended that plan, which could have alleviated some of the tensions in these communities today and positively affected protesters who demonstrated against the police on Tuesday and Wednesday.

He said he was called a racist then, but “would not be dissuaded to change course from this by any person who believes this has to do with race, religion or geography.

“It has to do with the peace, security, good order and opportunity for all the people in TT, particularly those who live this experience. We aim to change that experience.”

  • Countries: Trinidad_Tobago

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