Her Excellency advocates for end to child marriage


Her Excellency Reema Carmona is the latest official to add her voice to calls to end child marriage.

Mrs Carmona, who is a member of the First Ladies Meeting Group which works with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to bring about solutions to issues facing teenage girls, says the legal age for marriage should be changed to the international benchmark age of 18, to allow girls to live healthy, fulfilling lives with the requisite educational and professional opportunities.

She noted statistics compiled by the International Centre for Research on Women, which show that approximately 15 million girls are married before they reach the age of 18 each year.

“This means that every year, 15 million girls worldwide are involuntarily thrust into a role which demands a responsibility that they are often unable and unwilling to bear. The roles of wife and eventually mother should be actualised by individuals who are mature enough to take on such responsibility.”

Mrs Carmona says appropriate legislation must be put in place and enforced to ensure that innocent children are always protected, to allow for girls to be provided with the same opportunities as boys to go to school and pursue a career and excel in whatever field they desire.

“We must ensure that all girls throughout the globe are afforded similar opportunities and rights as they grow and develop to become strong, passionate, qualified and inspirational women and impacting leaders of the world,” she added.

She shared a personal story on her experience with child marriage as she stressed the importance of ensuring that children are exposed to what is right and fair.

“My grandmother was a 13 year old bride and I recall that she stated that she had a dream of becoming a teacher. She never got the chance to realise her ambition to be that teacher. My loving grandmother would have been a great teacher. Her husband fulfilled his personal ambition, she did not.

She was forced to stifle her dreams and was unable to truly fulfil her personal aspirations because of her Child Marriage. I do not want this to ever happen again to an innocent child of 13 years.”

“As adults, we live in boundless hope. Why can’t we allow a 12 year old to do likewise? The human spirit needs to have that capacity to evolve and grow and Parliamentarians by their guidance through affirmative legislative action, can so help.”

Her Excellency stated that she is in agreement with the firm resolve of the United Nations that Child Marriage must be a feature of the past.

“The desire through advocacy to correct the wrongs of the past by way of necessary legislative amendment in the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is a just, compassionate and honourable fight,” she concluded.