Minister of Planning and Development, Hon. Pennelope Beckles hosted a courtesy call with Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Office of the Eastern Caribbean Area, Dr. Aloys Kamuragiye and Mr. Fiaz Shah, Education Manager, UNICEF. The Meeting was held on Monday 09 May 2022, at the Ministry’s Head Office, Port of Spain.
In welcoming the UNICEF team, Minister Beckles commended the work of the UNICEF in the region and congratulated the agency on its many achievements and dedicated work towards the development and protection of children of the Caribbean region since the 1950s to the present.
The UNICEF, Office for the Eastern Caribbean Area has a Multi-Country Programme (MCP) of cooperation with 12 countries and territories in the Eastern Caribbean sub region. This includes eight independent states: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.
At present there are many projects that have been receiving funding from the UNICEF through the Basic Cooperation Agreement (BCA) signed on August 29, 2018, between UNICEF and the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. During the meeting Dr Aloys Kamuragiye and Minister Beckles discussed mechanisms to maintain and ensure the smooth execution of programme implementation in Trinidad and Tobago.
In response to the concern, Minister Beckles stated, “The Ministry is committed to supporting the continued collaborative work between the Government and UNICEF. We want to assure the UNICEF that the relationship between the Government and your agency is paramount and as such an expeditious solution will be forthcoming to ease the process.”
Trinidad and Tobago has benefited in numerous ways from UNICEF’s assistance through the provision of financial support, supplies, training and advice, towards meeting the emergency and long-term needs of children on a continuous basis. In closing, Dr Aloys Kamuragiye thanked the Minister and the Ministry’s team for their support and emphasized that the UNICEF does not use Trinidad and Tobago’s classification as a High income country as an to determine the country’s need for funding, but the impact of programmes on a children’s welfare is important.