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Open Letter to Dr Anthony Sabga Saviour of the Trinity Cross Key Keeper of City Guardian of Demokrissy

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The More Things Change: From  Montage of Articles & Columns
on Social and Economic Development
(c) KrisRampersadArchives2016
Dear Father Tony,
Please hear my plea,
To revive the economy
Try that city key
Tho of you and me
Dey making bobolee
And the poor already
Heading to vagrancy
Save this country
We call La Trinity

 

 I may call you that, Dear Father Tony, may I not, although we is not family, we are still part of the Trini famalee and the human famalee, part of the same national journey on the same ship, and I was part of your empire on the media side for most of me journalistic life and that was how some referred to you in revered whispers though others had less reverent terms; and it may be said, ’twas in your empire whence I cut meh journalistic tooth and whence my career was birthed and so you really are meh father in some sense of the word, eh Tony!
 
Vagrant’s View of Woodford Square, Port of Spain

See more: Demokrissy:  www.kris-rampersad.blogspot.com 

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Take back communities from so-called leaders

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Take back schools and communities from so-called community leaders, chair of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO, Dr Kris Rampersad told educators last week.

She was addressing the closing ceremony of a joint initiative by UNESCO and the Ministry of Education in Port of Spain for pilot training of some 125 principals, school supervisors and teachers.

kris_rampersad2.jpg
Dr Kris Rampersad, Chair of Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO

“For too long our children have been kidnapped and our society has been hijacked and held to ransom by bandits and criminals who are held up as community leaders and to whom, tragically, the society now seems to be turning for advice to address the very problems they create. You are the community leaders,” Rampersad told the graduates, before they were presented certificates of completion of the course, Leading for Literacy Now!

“For too long the schoolmaster and mistress who were once significant and pivotal axes of social life in our villages and districts, have either abdicated their roles as leaders or been forced out of them by other social pressures,” she continued.

The educators participated in a pilot training in leadership skills training towards improving literacy levels beginning with primary schools with special focus on teachers of Infant I and II. A national call was made by the Commission through the Education Ministry and the participants were selected from voluntary applicants.

“For too long we have been held to ransom by bandits and criminals in the guise of leaders and social and community leaders. We ask you now to go back and reclaim those spaces; to see yourself and to present and represent yourselves as the leaders that you are. To put your hands up proudly when there are calls for meetings and discussions and consultations with community leaders and say that you are leaders in your community. We ask you that you return to your schools to no longer cower before bullying parents and misguided children and take charge!” Rampersad said.

She noted that the course has helped equip and tool principals and teachers to return to the new school term with fresh perspectives and approaches to face some of the challenges they may confront.

The exercise was conducted by facilitators from the UK-based National Training College for School Leadership with financial and other technical support from UNESCO, the Ministry of Education, the National Commission, BMobile and the Army Leadership Training Centre of the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment.

“We ask you to use what you have learnt here to not just influence but to transform the directions of our education system and by extension our society as well,” Rampersad urged, noting a growing nervousness in the society enveloped in a wind of change that is causing considerable restless and which requires solid management of the processes of change and transformation.

Acknowledging that the problems facing educators are many, and not insignificant, she challenged the trainees to take their learning back to school and expressed the hope to see positive results by as early as the end of the first term – by December 2013.

“Three months is a very long time in the life of a child, and we know how much they can learn in short a short period. We need to capture their minds and imaginations before someone else does,” Rampersad pointed out.

She said the participants will be engaged in continuous assessment and will share their experiences and recommendations for expanding the programme to all schools and districts of Trinidad and Tobago, adding that commitment for such support has already been expressed by the Ministry of Education.

“We do not deny that the challenges are many and these times demand all our energies and intelligence to manage the changes that are inevitable. We have to ensure that such management occurs and we do not have the negative repercussions as we are witnessing taking place in Egypt and Syria and elsewhere. Let us manage and redirect the changes that are inevitable, drawing from your wisdom and experiences to positively impact our youth and harness their restless energies for change,” Rampersad said. “It will require open-mindedness, flexibility and a lot of patience.”

She also noted that, once the expected results are realised, the Commission hopes to be able to hold up Leading for Literacy Now this as a model project to UNESCO to share with the Caribbean and its global community.

https://sites.google.com/site/krisrampersadglobal
 http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Take-back-communities-from-so-called-leaders%2C-says-Trinidad-UNESCO-chair-17393.html

Let’s take back our comunities from so-called community leaders

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Closing Remarks, Dr Kris Rampersad Chair, National Commission for UNESCO,  at
Leading for Literacy Now! National Workshop for Principals and Teachers
Sister Francis Xavier Heritage Hall, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain
August 25 2013

One of the advantages in living in a place like Trinidad and Tobago is that we have easy access and exposure to the good books of the many and varied cultures, ethnicities and religions that make up our society.
One of our good books tells us that the world was created in six days.
Mrs Elizabeth Crouch, Principal of Marina Regina Prep School and head of the education sector committee of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO lead principals, school supervisors and teachers in the joint UNESCO/Ministry of Education initiative Leading for Literacy Now!
We have come to the sixth day of this our week-long efforts to begin to recreate and transforming our world, the communities and the spaces and the schools we occupy, as Leaders for Literacy, Now!
Do we feel more empowered? Do we feel better prepared and better tooled? We, of the National Commission for UNESCO of Trinidad and Tobago, and our project partners, the Ministry of Education, BMobile and the UK-Based National Training College for School Leadership and the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment hope that we have met and fulfilled some of those expectations that we outlined at the beginning of this week and when this training preparation began with you earlier this year and with us since last year.
We thank you for investing your time and energies and visions with us, and now we have some expectations of our own. We want results and returns on this investment – not just the more than half a million dollars UNESCO and the Ministry of Education with our project partners are investing in this, but also in the energies and ideas we have shared and exchanged.
We well recognise that many of you function under very challenge personal and professional situations. We well recognise that the tasks with which you are charged as principals and teachers are by no means easy. We well recognise that sometimes the diversity of our society demands constant readjustments to varying expectations.
But we want to challenge you now to go forth and reclaim your places as bonafide community leaders. For too long the term, and the role of leaders in our communities have been hijacked by not too savoury elements who are being held up as the role models for our youths and children. For too long we have watched our children being kidnapped by forces and influences that we wanted to think were beyond our control. For too long the schoolmaster and mistress who were once significant and pivotal axes of social life in our villages and districts, have either abdicated their roles or been forced out of them by other social pressures. For too long we have been held to ransom by bandits and criminals in the guise of leaders and social and community leaders.
We ask you now to go back and reclaim those spaces; to see yourself and to present and represent yourselves as the leaders that you are. To put your hands up proudly when there are calls for meetings and discussions and consultations with community leaders and say that you are leaders in your community.
We ask you that you return to your schools to no longer cower before bullying parents and misguided children and take charge!
We ask you to use what you have learnt here to, as I said at the opening, not just influence the directions of our education system and by extension of our society, but to transform it.
You are the community leaders. You are agents of change and transformation.
It is no secret that we live in not just interesting, as Confucius is said to have said, but also in challenging times; times that demand all our energies and intelligence to manage the winds of change that are blowing and that all of us are feeling in our schools and in our districts. We need to manage these changing times so we do not have the negative repercussions as we are witnessing taking place in Egypt and Syria and elsewhere. We need to direct and redirect the changes that are inevitable, drawing from your own wisdom and experiences to positively impact our youth and harness their restless energies for change.
It certainly will require a few qualities that cannot be learnt in a classroom – open-mindedness, flexibility, and patience – but we do hope that this classroom has provided you with some formulas by which you can assess and understand how to acquire and cull those qualities.
As the same good book said, on the seventh, the Creator rested. I don’t think that meant that for you, not for us.
Tomorrow, we go on our drill with the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment which is promising us through the Army Leadership Training Centre, a one-day outdoor team-building and risk training exercise to what you already know and have learnt of leadership.
Like us at the National Commission, the Army Leadership Training personnel recognise that this is particularly important in the dynamic environment in which you find yourself working everyday in our schools. They acknowledge your role as principal and educator as paramount in carving and manipulation this chameleon environment in which you function, in dealing with students and staff and parents from all walks of life and with varying morals, values, and social skills that require some extra special skills to help you cope with situations where the answers may either be nowhere in sight, or just under your nose; where the success of the team will not depend on the strength of any one individual or where achieving overall success may depend on the subordination of personal objectives.
So that’s the task of the seventh day, tomorrow – not to rest, but as the ones created for the task, to continue the good work to go forth and multiply these learnings into your schools and communities. To Lead for Literacy, Now!
Because we all know what the power of literacy is. We are all living examples of that – of how our ability to read and to interpret a line, a page, a book can transform how we see ourselves, how we view others and how to make informed and intelligent choices when confronted with difficult options, or no options at all. That has been my experience as a reader, from districts and schools and homes just like the ones you serve.
And it is our sense of personal responsibility that has inspired my Leaves of Life drive for a revolution in reading, to inspire reading in unorthodox ways; and it is the sense of collective responsibility that inspired Mrs Crouch and our team of the National Commission, and the Ministry of Education in planning and organising this Leading for Literacy, Now! We are building a team and I am sure too an army, for change.
We envision that in the forty schools from which you were drawn, voluntarily, we will begin to see results in learning and literacy – in the ability of our children to read as early as the end of the first term – by December, yes December 2013 – we all know that three months is a very long time in the life of a child and they can learn much in such a short space of time. Are we ready for that! We must claim their minds and imaginations before someone else does.
We also envision that from forty districts in Trinidad and Tobago, we will begin to see an impact on perceptions and beliefs of who are our real community leaders; who are really in charge; and to whom our society should turn when it needs advice and directions and leadership. You! Are we ready for that?
As we promised at the beginning, we will continue to encourage you to not only keep up the dialogue, but translate it into actions within your own spheres and share it with your peers, in other schools and districts as we assess the outcomes of this and get ready to draw in more of our principals and teachers and children as we have been mandated by the Minister of Education.
Yes, we were very serious when we titled this Leading for Literacy, Now! Let as take back our communities; let us take back our children, as leaders, Now!
I thank you.
PHOTO CAPTION: Mrs Elizabeth Crouch, Principal of Marina Regina Prep School and head of the education sector committee of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO lead principals, school supervisors and teachers in the joint UNESCO/Ministry of Education initiative Leading for Literacy Now! Photo Courtesy Kris Rampersad

Culling leaders for literacy among principals and teachers

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Opening Remarks,
Chair, National Commission for UNESCO, Dr Kris Rampersad at
Leading for Literacy Now! training workshop
Sister Francis Xavier Heritage Hall, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain
19August 2013
Culling Leaders for LiteracyMine is the pleasure to welcome you to the opening of this round of training in our project leading for literacy now, on behalf of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO.
 This project, Leading for Literacy Now, represents what we envision as the ideal blend of commitment, energy and drive in taking responsibility and taking action in transforming our society and the spaces we occupy, improving our communities and lifting the life chances of the youngsters and next generation of leaders in our charge.
You may well recognise the urgency we ascribe to this intervention, as we seek solutions to cull leaders for literacy, Now, as indeed – all of us must surely be attuned to the news – for every minute that we lose focus we run the risk of losing another child to one of the many delinquencies and distractions that compete for their attention.
With its ideal mix of stakeholders – it includes a confluence of vision and energies – funding support from UNESCO’s international participation programme  and the Ministry of Education to meet our budget for this pilot exercise of almostsix hundred and sixty two thousand, dollars ($661,720.00), one quarter of which comes from UNESCO’s funds and the remaining three quarters from the Ministry of Education, and indeed we must thank the Minister of Education for his wholehearted endorsement of this endeavour.
This leading for Literacy Now! project, represents an exercise in our collective as well as individual responsibility evident in the commitment of the policy and decision makers in the Minister of Education, Dr Gopeesingh who has provided unflinching support not just in funding approval but also in the involvement of technical staff of his Ministry; the engagement of technical expertise of the UK-based National College for School Leadership; principals and teachers and of course we at the National Commission and especially the very hard working and committed team of its education sector committee, headed by Mrs Crouch, and including:
Mr Bhadase Seetahal Maraj from the Ministry of Education; Dr Sandra Gift of the University of the West Indies; Mrs Shayphan Smith of the Ministry of Tertiary Education; Ms. Lucia Phillip, Executive Director of NALIS; Mrs Liseli Daaga with broad community and NGO experience; alongside the work of the secretariat led by Ms Susan Shurland; Programme Officer Ms. Hannah Katwaroo; and Research Assistant Mr. Sean Garcia.
I particularly look forward to the session on risk management and leadership drill with the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, that certainly is an example of the out of-the-box synergies required to make be effective and make an impact, by engagement other national agencies and institutions in our efforts to Lead for Literacy, Now!
This project forms part of the UNESCO “10,000 Principals Leadership Programme” launched by the UNESCO’s Director General Irina Bokova in 2011 as a global project to improve the quality of teaching and learning opportunities for children. It envisions training of some 10,000 principals with the intended multiplier effect to benefit thousands of teachers and principals and millions children across the globe.
Our National Commission has literacy as a top priority of our national agenda, as it is in among the Ministry of Education’s 16 national priority focus areas for education.
In this context, earlier this year the Commission unanimously took a decision to contextualise this project within what we declared as A Decade for Literacy, endorsed by the Ministry of Education, as we well recognise that it does not end here with the end of this course next Sunday or the end of the pilot a few months hence.
Indeed, it is only a beginning as we task you with taking your learnings from here, into your schools and communities, tooled with the core training activities that speak directly to some of those urgent needs within our society for leaders, for which the schools that are in your charge are the incubators, hence the inclusion of such topics as team building, organisational management, using and generating research and data, and certainly what we have been seeing as greater and greater needs in the dynamic environment in which we function today – risk management and most importantly managing change.
Beyond the immediate intentions of providing you – principals and teachers – with leadership skills so you return to the new school term with new tools to improve reading standards among students, this places you at the forefront of the agenda for change and transformation of our society into the next decade – you are not just influencers of the process, you are the transformers of it!
We have been following keenly the sharing of knowledge and ideas that have been taking place on our Leading for Literacy Now! web platform and are inspired by the cross fertilisation of ideas and energies. We encourage you to not only keep up the dialogue, but translate it into actions within your own spheres so that one of the outcomes of this programme can be the boast of all of us that, under our watch no child was left behind.
For our part at the National Commission, given the commitment we have seen to this project and the unwavering support of all concerned, we anticipate such successes that we are looking to pitch this as a model project that can be adapted for our Caribbean counterparts as well as indeed the global community of UNESCO which maintains education among the five key pillars of its focus including communications and information, science, culture, and social and human sciences.
 We look forward to receiving your reflections on this and recommendations at the end of this exercise and certainly look forward to the greatly empowered role you will play when the new school terms begins next week.
I thank you.

New Presidential Picong Tours Workshop Specials

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TOURS and WORKSHOPS AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

YOUR VOTE
YOUR CHOICE
Any DistrictAny Theme
Bring Yuh Group and Come!

See:

WINDS of POLITICAL CHANGE Previous blog on Demokrssy

VISIT Kris Rampersad Website 

Email
lolleaves@gmail.com
facebook.com/kris.rampersad1

Winds of Political Change – Dawn of T&T’s Arab Spring

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When the meteorologist theorised that the cloudy, hazy days of the dry season in our region could be attributed to dust clouds from way across the Arabian dessert, he was – as many-a-novel-idea-throughout history has been – scoffed at laughed away for a number of years. But now, that theory is entrenched in descriptions of the weather patterns and conditions of this part of the world. Some modern geography texts and the guide books of some of the countries of the Caribbean, South America and the Amazon tell of the amazing displacement of dust from the Sahara desert more than half way across the world: Sahara Dust.
I am not sure if you are feeling it, but there are some breezes, some fresh, some even containing some disruptive dust elements, that are again blowing from across the desert over there, this, our way. And these are not seasonal. They feel much like the breezes of the Arab Spring – that have swept through the Middle East and Africa – Libya, Burma, Egypt, Tunisia, Côte d’ivoire, Guinea, Yemen, Lesotho, Senegal, Malawi and Sierra Leone. In some others, the breezes were still heavily laden with dust, there were setbacks for freedom – Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates. It has also spread with positive change in Bhutan, Indian Kashmir Mongolia and Tonga.
Wherever these breezes have passed, they have left in their wake wide ranging social and political changes: one the one hand toppling long time leaders with rising decibels from previously suppressed peoples demanding a stronger voice in their own governance and opening up new opportunities for reform in countries otherwise marked by severe abuses of fundamental rights and civil liberties.
Such additional demands on governments and public and private institutions for greater transparency, accountability, responsibility, fairness, balance and equity, performance and delivery of goods and services are pressuring not only so called anti democracies but also well established democracies of Americas, Europe and Asia. But in other parts there is a backlash and the breezes have been met with counter reprisals of oppressive curbs to civil liberties, human rights and freedoms.

So do you feel it? Here I mean, in the Caribbean. Or is it that we are in that time lag – between being informed and accepting the information? Given that unlike other countries we perhaps have some lead time to prepare, have we considered in any cohesive way what our response would be: do we want to embrace this or shut the door on it – because, to quote a former Prime Minister, speaking in a similar context – no one shall remain unscathed…. 

Next: Addressing the Democratic Deficit
See….the dawn of Trinidad and Tobago’s Arab Spring…..read more in The Clash of Political Cultures – Cultural Diversity & Minority Politics in Trinidad and Tobago in Through the Political Glass Ceiling. Get Your Copy today Order NOW  SPECIAL ELECTION DISCOUNT; email lolleaves@gmail.com;  visit https://sites.google.com/site/krisrampersadglobal or visit Demokrissy: http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com

TT Spotlight in LiTTribute to LondonTTown

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TT HIGH COMMISSION HOSTS ‘LITTRIBUTE TO LONDON TTOWN”

 
On Monday 15th July, the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission to the UK hosted the book launch of Dr. Kris Rampersad’s ‘LiTTscapes’, in an event titled “LiTTributes to London TTown”. At the launch, the cultural and social settings of Trinidad and Tobago were examined and illustrated through the timeless words of the islands’ local writers and stunning photography depicting the natural scenery. 
High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Garvin Nicholas stated, “The Trinidad and Tobago High Commission is pleased to showcase the work of one of our talented local authors. In ‘LiTTscapes’, Dr. Rampersad has brought to light Trinidad and Tobago’s rich literary tradition and unique heritage. This event will provide an important platform for highlighting the complex history and fascinating social landscape of Trinidad and Tobago to a British audience”. 
‘LiTTscapes’ was launched in Trinidad and Tobago in August 2012 as one of the key publications focusing on the country’s 50th Anniversary of Independence. It represents Trinidad and Tobago in words and pictures through some 100 works by some 60 writers, including Earl Lovelace, Sam Selvon, VS Naipaul, Michael Anthony and Derek Walcott.  
The evening featured various readings from the book by several specially invited guests, including Trinidadian writer Dr. Lakshmi Persaud, author of ‘Butterfly in the Wind’, among other works. Dr. Persaud interspersed her reading with lively personal reflections of her time growing up in Trinidad and painted a vivid picture of the island’s town and people. Another featured guest was the presenter of ‘BBC World Have Your Say’, Ros Atkins, who delivered an enlightening perspective of his brief time spent living in Trinidad as a young boy. “One thing that is fascinating about the people of Trinidad and Tobago is your sense of cultural self sufficiency,” he declared. “It is a refreshing attitude from a people who are fiercely proud of their culture but do not need validation from an external audience”.
In discussing her inspiration behind producing ‘LiTTscapes’, Dr. Rampersad said, “As an educator in Trinidad and Tobago, I have witnessed our people grappling with illiteracy and a negative attitude towards reading and education in general. It is my hope that ‘LiTTscapes’ can reawaken readers’ interest in their surrounding and how they connect to society”.