Minister of Social Development and Family Services, Senator Donna Cox.

Minister of Social Development and Family Services, Senator Donna Cox, is urging citizens to remember the widows living among them, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

In her official message in commemoration of International Widows Day 2021, Minister Cox observes that the pandemic has been leaving many more women widowed.

She points out that widows are “an often-overshadowed sector of the population”, who need the society’s caring and support, particularly during these troubled times.

The full text of the Minister’s statement, follows…

A Message for all Widows in Trinidad and Tobago on International Widows Day 2021

It is my privilege today to bring the gaze of the national community on an often-overshadowed sector of the population, our widows, as we join with the United Nations in commemorating International Widows Day 2021, which has been a fixture on the UN calendar since 2010. By focusing the spotlight on widows today, we embrace the opportunity to encourage action in achieving full rights for widows, and simultaneously, reaffirm the need to develop resources and policies to facilitate their empowerment.

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services owes a constant duty of care to all widows, but especially now during these COVID times when more widows than widowers are being created, we remain steadfast in our commitment to providing an enabling environment for meaningful social and human development amongst our most vulnerable citizens.

Indeed, if anything, the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportune moment to focus on this often-forgotten consequence of the crisis — the lives and futures of the widows left behind. When coupled with the fact that women are generally living longer than their male counterparts, the Ministry is obliged to recognise this group as one which should always be included and targeted among the most vulnerable in our country.

I wish, as well, to sincerely applaud the efforts of the Widows Association of Trinidad and Tobago, as you work assiduously to support those who are so very much in need. I am pleased that the tenets of the Association mirror those of the Ministry, and we look forward to partnering with you in an effort to ensure that your members are afforded a comfortable standard of living, and an enhanced quality of life. 

To all the widows of Trinidad and Tobago, I salute you today for your strength and your unfailing resolve to persevere, in spite of your loss. It is on your shoulders that many of us stand today, and by so doing, you have allowed us to see farther than you did, and accomplish more than you envisioned.

There is no doubt that widowhood is a difficult experience, but through the experience of your own frailty, we continue to draw strength, for in so many ways you have been bent but never broken, you have stumbled but never fell, and yes, you have wept, but your desire to continue living has never waned.

I give you the assurance that what you do every day does not go unnoticed, and I pledge that we, as a Ministry, will continue doing our part to provide the much-needed support to help, empower and transform your lives.

May God richly bless you all.