Speaking at the close of the Commonwealth People’s Forum at Perth, Australia, the Prime Minister said the Cabinet has approved the establishment of the board which will, for the first time, open up public sector decision making.
“I am pleased to inform you, ladies and gentlemen, that the Cabinet in my country has agreed to the establishment of a Civil Society Board,” Persad-Bissessar said. “The purpose of this board is to strengthen the voice and influence of civil society - the idea is to create the context and framework for better organisation, workable form, and clear, strong voices.”
The board, the Prime Minister said, will consult with special councils set up to deal with a range of issues.
“This Civil Society Board will consult with other stakeholder advisory councils with respect to key civil society sectors dealing with issues such as governance and democracy, gender and women’s rights, education, environment, technology and innovation and sustainable development issues, and indigenous people – just to name a few,” the Prime Minister said.
The aim is to allow more voices to be heard in decision making.
“Such a partnership will provide a vehicle for sector experts to make a meaningful contribution to economic development and foster commitment to implementation of specific strategies for development,” Persad-Bissessar said. “The organisational structure and other arrangements for its establishment are now being actively pursued and it is envisaged to be up and running within the next three months.”
“The input of civil society, in partnership with all stakeholders – government, business and labour – must be incorporated in the decision and policy making of governments,” Persad-Bissessar told forum participants, which included a number of groups from Trinidad and Tobago.
“It is a partnership that my government is quite keen on as we work together, hand in hand, for both human and economic development,” Persad-Bissessar said.