President Paula-Mae Weekes, patron of the President’s Awards of Trinidad and Tobago (PATT), is advising organisations seeking patronage from public offices to find creative ways to source funding.
Speaking at the PATT’s function at San Fernando Hill on Saturday where silver and gold awards were given out to 48 participants, Weekes also extended that advice to the PATT, explaining that taxpayers money has to be spent as there is no “magic pot” to dip into.
She said, “My words of encouragement are not only for your (awardees) benefit but also the benefit of your leadership. In these hard times, organisations have to become ever more creative and self-reliant in order to continue their good work.
To ensure that the future generations of young people have the opportunity to benefit from this wonderful programme, President’s Award must endeavour to seek out non-traditional sources of funding and investment.”
The President recalled that when she took office in 2018 she was met by a lengthy list of organisations requesting patronage.
“That list had to be rationalised and expectations adjusted to meet the realistic of restrictive budgetary allocations to public offices including the Office of the President. There is no magic pot into which we dip. Everything that comes out of the President’ss House we spend taxpayers money.” Weekes, however, reaffirmed her commitment to assistibf PATT in realising its aims and objectives.
Recalling that she participated in the programme, then known as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, as a student in 1974, she said, the skills, values and principles which she had learnt have played a vital She advised the awardees that “the strong internal values nurtured in this programme will serve as anchors for when the going gets rough and it will.” She also extended an invitation to the awardees to visit her at the President’s House when the refurbishment works are completed. Also speaking at the function PATT’s chairman Anthony Franklin said the programme makes participants world-ready.
“If we are only able to instill these principles in the rest of our young national society, the necessary change that is needed in our country will commence. We will care for our children, our women our elders our vulnerable and at-risk youth and our environment.”
He, however, expressed sadness that one of their participants, Mark Nurse, was murdered in Tobago last December.
“On a positive note, he said, PATT has opened access to the programme for at-risk and marginalised young persons of East Port of Spain and one of those youths was among the awardees.
“While I congratulate you all, I ask you not to sit on your loins, PATT is looking to you for future participation in leadership in the programme and the future well being of T&T.”
Reporter: Sascha Wilson