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Education Minister reveals disturbing CSO figures
Every year approximately 2,500 pregnancies occur in T&T with girls under the age of 18. Also 60 per cent of pupils in Standard Three belong to single parent families. The revelation was made by Education Minister and Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh during his contribution of the Children Bill in the House of Representatives on Friday.
In giving a breakdown of statistics which he compiled and obtained from the Central Statistical Office (CSO), Gopeesingh admitted that there were a lot of absent fathers, may of whom do not live up to their responsibilities, which has contributed to a breakdown in society. He said he has never seen a man charged for failing to take care of their child or children in the country.
Figures from the CSO showed that 2,500 pregnancies occur yearly with girls under 18 while T&T’s birth rate is about 1,700 per year. A further analysis showed that some of the fathers of these children were between the ages of 21 and 22. “And if you go further the CSO would show that some of the fathers are in their early 30’s. It is statutory rape that has been occurring for years.”.
Research done during his profession as an obstetrician showed that by the age of 19 there were 1,000 women in T&T who had already given birth to four children. “This is a very sad state of affairs.” In the antenatal clinic at the Women’s Hospital where he worked as an obstetrician, Gopeesingh said on a weekly basis they would see 15 new patients.“Between eight to ten of these new pregnancies were girls under the age of 18.”
Gopeesingh said you don’t ever see the fathers of the unborn children. Many of the girls, Gopeesingh said, end up having abortions. “Some end up losing their lives or are unable to have children later on.”
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