Recently, I watched a clip of a comedian compare Mother’s Day as the second most celebrated holiday after Christmas (first it’s Jesus, then yo’ momma!) to Father’s Day, which he lamented was a lowly 16th place.

Of course, it was played for laughs but as with many things there is an element of the truth within.

Fathers often feel as though they don’t matter, are underappreciated and that their main function is that of an ATM.

Even using the word “feel” is difficult as many of us fathers and men in general are apparently expected to have no feelings. We are trapped in that “man” box.

However, global and local evidence shows a clearer picture.

The 2019 State of the World’s Fathers Report notes that 85 per cent of fathers want to be much more involved in the care of their children, especially during early childhood.

It also notes the need for adequate paternity leave measures in support of this.

The 2021 report is being launched on June 16 and is promoted online locally by the Caribbean Male Action Network—CariMAN (of which I am a member).

There are other examples. The existence and strong voice (sometimes viewed as controversial) of the Fathers’ Association of Trinidad and Tobago (originally Single Fathers Association) came about because men locally have countless stories of what they indicate are discriminatory judgments against them by the family court system.

On June 16, they will host a panel discussion on “Fatherhood in Society”. CariMAN has launched the Men’s Pledge (see cariman.org) and other initiatives addressing gender-based violence.

And across T&T there are numerous examples of men engaging, mentoring, seeking advice on fatherhood and other positive endeavours. A lot of this is now online and through social media, given the realities of Covid-19.

What does this all mean? That as Father’s Day 2021 approaches the narrative is changing. The rest of society needs to acknowledge and encourage it as the benefits will be immense.

Fathers are also caregivers, not baby-sitters, not part-timers, not “atms”, but actual parents. If society shows that we matter, just maybe we will continue to be better and there is only profit to be had in a community of caring, involved fathers.

Marlon Bascombe

via e-mail

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The initiation of a Commission of Enquiry into the Government’s management of Covid-19, for which Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is so passionately clamouring, would be instructive if it presented an opportunity for the people of Trinidad and Tobago to hear from her just how she would have managed this health crisis had she been in charge.

The hush-hush arrival of a “small donation” of vials of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, flown in and apparently hand-delivered by courier to the Ministry of National Security, raises more questions than the number of vials involved.

I am repeatedly asked by various stakeholders whether Covid-19 vaccination could be made mandatory, so today I offer some initial thoughts.

This is not a clear-cut legal question and there are good arguments on both sides. There is no law, precedent or policy which governs the matter at present. Labour law, public health and human rights issues intermingle and ultimately, what is reasonable and in the majority interest would likely prevail.

I hope the Government considers giving a booster shot of the Sinopharm vaccine if supplies are available to this country. Dr Amery Browne, Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs, said T&T will receive 200,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine from China this week.

Did the staff at the health centres know only 50 persons could have been be vaccinated per day? When they realised this, did they not think to register the names and telephone numbers of the other elderly citizens already in line from 5.30 a.m. who were sent home when the vaccinations ran out?

It takes living and working outside of Trinidad and Tobago to realise how different and special we are.

We take it for granted that God is Trinbagonian. Our version of God is also every single pundit, every imam, every Baptist leader and all Anglican, Catholic and small church leaders. In our lively politics, whosoever leads either the People’s National Movement (PNM) or the United National Congress (UNC) is of immense personal importance in a country dominated by the descendants of former slaves and indentured workers.