A Conversation with Dr. Marlene Attz, Developmental Economist at the University of the West Indies, and Adeline Gregoire

Sustainability and Development
Before delving into the issues around Trinidad and Tobago’s strategy for sustainable development Dr. Attz noted that there is a tendency to view sustainability through the environmental lens but the term was actually popularized in the 1980s when the Brundtland Commission published the first volume of “Our Common Future” which directed attention to the urgent need to intensify the focus on the world’s environmental and developmental problems as well as ensuring intergenerational equity.

Depressed Oil Prices
She commented that prior to March 2020, we were facing the specter of depressed oil and its negative impact on the economy. That problem has been exacerbated by the pandemic and we are now faced with the issues of social inequity, a poorly designed education system, and dodgy digital infrastructure.

Carnival as a Model
On an optimistic note, Dr. Attz identified our approach to Carnival as evidence of our fortitude, resilience, and capacity to achieve clear objectives under grueling circumstances. If there was one intervention she could make in our society it would be to ensure that decision-making at all levels is data-driven. She sees the reduced activity during this Covid period as an opportunity to redesign some of our systems and processes and speed up our digital transformation strategy.

Women and Gender Equity
At 18:31, the conversation switched focus to the role of women and gender equity with Artist/Curator and Activist, Adeline Gregoire. Adeline is also the founder of Women Everywhere (WE). She is motivated and inspired by everyday stories of human resilience and the human capacity to overcome challenges. Adeline paid homage to those marginalized persons who create success by showing up daily to serve their communities.

30% of our Parliament are Women
The conversation about equality and women’s rights is based on women’s inalienable right of women to have a seat at the table. Women’s equality is a birthright that is also articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since women comprise 50% of the population, it should be natural for women to have equal access to education, remuneration, and opportunities for progress. A House of Parliament which comprises 30% women is unacceptable.

Safety and Protection
If she could impact one area of society it would be to make the safety and protection of citizens a core requirement. Adeline noted that if we are to make our country the very best it could be we have to be more inclusive and cater to satisfy the needs of all citizens. The success of our society will be measured by the way we treat our women and girls. Women Everywhere focus on ensuring that no one is left behind and has as its watchwords: diversity solidarity and inclusion.

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