Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, has made a $50 million commitment to the duplication of her Government’s much-heralded Children’s Life Fund in Jamaica.
Prime Minister, the Hon Bruce Golding (second left) introducing his cabinet colleague, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon Karl Samuda (right), to Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, the Hon Kamla Persad Bissessar, at the ceremony commemorating the Caribbean Cement Company’s Kiln 5/Mill 5 at the plant, Rockfort, Kingston on Thursday (July 8). Second right is Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon Kenneth Baugh.
Mrs. Persad-Bissessar made the announcement in a speech at the T&T-owned Caribbean Cement Company, Rockfort, Kingston, where she was special guest, along with Jamaica’s Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, at the company’s kiln five and mill five commemoration ceremony.
She said that the Fund would meet the needs of children of poor families who need to travel overseas for surgery not available in their countries, at huge costs which the parents cannot afford.
“We were traumatised by that, and in my campaign recently, we pledged that we would establish a Children’s Life Fund to help the children of those who are financially challenged,” she stated.
She noted that her suggestion for a Pan Caribbean Children’s Life Fund was put to the recent meeting of Heads of Government in Montego Bay, to be funded through the Petroleum Fund established by T&T in 2004 to provide relief for CARICOM states experiencing economic hardships. CARICOM agreed to set up sub-committees to look at it more closely.
“But, because Jamaica is my second home, today I have to say that in discussions with your Prime Minister, we have agreed that we start the Children’s Life Fund in Jamaica and we will contribute the sum of $50 million into that fund over a period of two years,” she said.
Turning to the cement company, Mrs. Persad-Bissessar said that businesses should have a vested interest in supporting the societies from which they make money, and honour the communities in which they operate.
She commended the Caribbean Cement Company, a member of Trinidad and Tobago’s TCL Group, for their outreach activities in Kingston, including the Multicare Foundation, which is impacting on the lives of its employees and the wider community.
Mrs. Persad-Bissessar who is on a two-day visit to Kingston following the CARICOM meeting in Montego Bay, leaves Jamaica on July 9.