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Minister Baksh to attend annual convention in St. George East

Minister of Community Development, the Honourable Nizam Baksh is scheduled to attend the 45th Annual Convention of the St. George East Branch Association of Village and Community Councils at the St. Joseph Community Centre, Market Square, St. Joseph on Saturday October 29, 2011 at 1:00 pm.

He will deliver the feature address at the convention being hosted under the theme “Developing Spaces of Social and Economic Change.” The agenda is as follows:

• Report of proceeding of the 44th Annual Convention
• Tabling of Resolutions
• Installation of Executive Officers 2011-2012
• Social Investment and the Way Forward

The convention will also focus on the St. George East Division’s plan of community development for the next year and how the St. George East Branch Association of Village and Community Councils can assist the Division in fulfilling its mandate.

Caption: Minister Baksh (centre), along with Ms. Monica Ferguson, President of the St George East Branch Association of Village and Community Councils (left) and Mr. Sterling Belgrove, Chairman of the Rose Foundation and National Representative, WANGO (right) at the inaugural Social and Investment Fair hosted by the Association on June 15, 2011at the Centre of Excellence in Macoya.

CREDITS: Information sourced from the St. George East Branch Association of Village and Community Councils
Photo courtesy the Ministry's Communications Unit
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Minister Baksh hails celebration and growth of Divali

The following is the address (verbatim) delivered by the Honourable Nizam Baksh, Minister of Community Development at the Ministry's Divali function held at NAPA on Friday October 21, 2011.

All protocols observed

Shubh Divali! May the joy of this divine festival surround you today and for the rest of the year. This Divali celebration marks the third staff celebration in as many months, and I am happy to share this occasion with you. Over the past three months, the Community Development family has celebrated Emancipation, Eid-ul-Fitr and today we celebrate the Festival of Lights – Divali.

Celebration and Growth of Divali
When Divali was first declared as a holiday in 1966, Hindus in Trinidad and Tobago joined with Hindus all over the world to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness through the lighting of deyas. But even before the public holiday was granted, the festival was cherished and maintained by indentured labourers who settled in Trinidad more than a hundred years before. Hindu customs and traditions were carefully preserved to contribute to the beautiful festival we celebrate today.
Since its official recognition, this holiday has grown within the Hindu community and has flourished to include Hindus and non-Hindus alike. People of every race and religious persuasion engage in this festival, through the lighting of deyas, dressing in traditional Indian wear and looking forward to the sweets of the season. I am glad that we have taken this occasion to celebrate this holiday with the staff at the Ministry.
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Minister Nizam Baksh contributes to budget debate

Budget Debate - Fiscal Year 2012

Introduction and Congratulations

Mr. Speaker, I embrace this opportunity to contribute to the Debate on the National Budget for Fiscal 2012. The Budget, presented by the Honourable Minister of Finance, represents this Administration’s steadfast commitment to ensure sustainable national development even as we grapple with the challenges and impact of the volatile international economic environment. I further congratulate the Minister and his team on identifying innovative means of sourcing capital for infrastructural development and for the sustenance and expansion in our Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Sector. It is to the benefit of our children and future generations that the country is not being plunged into further external international debt; but the necessary funds are being sought internally through our local stock exchanges and the creation of an Infrastructure Development Bank. This country stands to benefit both in the short term and long term.

NIS Pension

As the Minister now responsible for the Division of Ageing, I too share the pleasure and joy of senior citizens as expressed when the increase of National Insurance Pensions to $3000 was announced. The additional funds will not only directly benefit the approximately 80,000 NIS Pensioners but also indirectly benefit those who contribute, their children, grandchildren and others, to the monthly expenses of the aging population.

I, also express dismay that the Leader of the Opposition’s first criticism of the Budget was aimed at the increase in NIS Pensions. How and why would such a measure be bothersome to the P.N.M? I am sure some of you on the other side receive NIS pensions? It is clear that th PNM feels that the $80,000 NIS pensioners should not have an increase to $3000 per month.

National Security

As the Minister of Community Development, I share the firm view that no community could experience true growth and development if it is under threat from within and without. This year’s allocation to the Ministry Of National Security of $5.17 billion gives us further comfort that our national community is being secured at ports of entry, along the coastline and in the cities; towns and villages. Why does this become the Leader of the Opposition and M.P for Diego Martin West second point of criticism, the population must ask?
It is in this context, Mr. Speaker, that I congratulate the Honourable Minister of Finance for presenting a Budget which remains securely anchored by the fundamental philosophy, policy perspectives and pledges of our Peoples Partnership Government.

The Budget presentation allows all to benefit from the policies, programmes and priorities as well as the resource allocation of this Peoples’ Partnership Government.

Community Mobilisation

Mr Speaker, the mobilization, engagement and development of communities is key to preparing our nation for sustainable development.

Ministry of Community Development- A Key Driver for Community Mobilization

Mr. Speaker, at the Ministry of Community Development we are ideally poised to be the key driver of this mission of community mobilization, engagement and development. We interface directly with members of the public through formal and informal groups, for example Village Councils, Women’s Groups, Faith Based Organisations and a range of other Non Governmental Organisations. Our interaction with groups enables us to acquire an intimate knowledge of the socio-economic conditions that characterize communities across Trinidad and Tobago. This allows us to mobilize and motivate communities to identify and address issues relevant to their development.

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Community Development represented at Inter-American drug control workshop

The Ministry of Community Development was represented at the formal launch of the Inter American Drug Abuse Control Commission Workshop on Tuesday October 18, 2011 at the La Boucan Room, Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, Lady Young Road, Port of Spain. Acting Permanent Secretary, Ms Donna Ferraz attended the opening ceremony on behalf of the Ministry, which now has under its purview, the National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Programme, NADAPP.

The four-day workshop hosted by the Judiciary in collaboration with the Ministries of Justice and National Security and the Inter American Drug Abuse Control Commission, is seen as the first major step towards establishing drug treatment courts in Trinidad and Tobago.
Its main objective is to prepare all major stakeholders for the development of a drug treatment court project in Trinidad and Tobago in 2012. The workshop runs until Friday October 21, 2011.
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Trinidad and Tobago observes International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Medical volunteer Michelle Perez (left) gestures as she prepares to take the blood pressure of Mrs Latiffa Baksh, wife of Community Development Minister Nizam Baksh (centre) during a free Health Fair hosted by the Minister in collaboration with Missions International for residents of Barrackpore last Saturday.