One youth leader believes the team set up to formulate a ‘road map’ for T&T after COVID-19 lacks many critical perspectives.
Vice-President of the Student Guild at the UWI St Augustine Campus Nathanael John today raised several concerns with the initiative, which he insists is commendable and proactive.
Below are the four areas as listed by Mr John:
1. This team comprises of many experts, who sit at the top of their organizations or respective fields which creates a top-down approach to the solving of issues. History has shown that having a top-down approach fails to connect and understand the real needs and the struggles of the men and women who are at the grassroots level of society, who are the most severely impacted by this global pandemic. There is a need for more persons at this table who understands that a bottom-up approach must be factored representing the needs of wider civil society.
2. Out of the team of twenty- two (22), there sit three (3) women. In any progressive society, there needs to be an equal representation of both men and women at the forefront of dealing with issues such as this. Statistics have shown that women and children are the most severely impacted group during any national crisis whether it be man-made or natural. This team needs the representation of individuals from women’s movement within the country to be fully effective.
3. Similar to my previous point, this team lacks proper youth representation who are also severely impacted from the primary level to the higher education level and within the job sector. Across the country, there are numerous youth organizations such and the Trinidad and Tobago’s Youth Council, UWI’s Guild of Students, UTT’s Student Council etc, who can effectively represent the needs and interests of the youth population across our twin-island state. A seat at this table needs to come from the youth population and not just a seat but their VOICE IS CRITICALLY NEEDED AT THIS TIME.
4. I am quite shocked that this team does not have a representative who specializes in mental health and social welfare. If there was not a time that we need to take the mental health of our population seriously, now is the time. According to Mental Health America, there has been a 19% increase in the number of clinical anxiety cases, and they expect that number to rise. The mental health of our population must be considered as we seek to rebuild the country during the aftermath of this global pandemic.
Mr John is now calling on Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley to revisit and revise this team.