St Augustine MP: Women most affected by rising food costs

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The UNC women’s arm led a protest on Saturday in Tunapuna over the increase in fuel and cost of living. –

Rising food prices and all-around inflation have a unique impact on women, their cost of living and their livelihoods, said St Augustine MP Khadijah Ameen who led a street protest on Saturday in her constituency.

The United National Congress women’s arm, she said, joined citizens to voice their concerns about the state of the economy in a protest which started at 7.30 am at Tunapuna Community Centre, then moved along the Eastern Main Road stopping in front of the Tunapuna market and ended at 9 am at the starting point.

Ameen said the impact on women was much more significant, especially single parents who have been affected by the high rates of unemployment and inflation.

“It has a particular impact on women, especially mothers who are now facing higher transportation costs to send their children to school. They are faced with increased food costs and cannot afford to make a basic sandwich for their children.

“There are mothers because of the increasing unemployment who literally cannot provide a nutritious meal for their children. And more and more families are facing that situation.”

She said that within her constituency many households did not have a steady income and suggested investment in the agriculture sector to create jobs to mitigate the increase in food prices.

“We must have job creation to work alongside stimulation of the economy and the agriculture sector is an ideal place for that. We must include our women and young people in food production and warehousing and packaging.”

Ameen said that the protest was organised by the party’s women arm chairwoman Kenya Charles and was supported by many men.

“The reception we got when we walked down the Eastern Main Road was really encouraging. There were people making market or running errands and joined in on the chants from the march for “Rowley to go’ and ‘Enough is enough.’

“This is important because regardless of political party, people have to begin to speak out about the hardships that we are facing in the country. I think that the Government is disconnected from reality.”

Ameen said there would always be critics and naysayers, but activism required a constant push to stay on course to effect change.

Addressing the criticism posted on social media about the fuel price protest organised by the UNC on Tuesday, she said it was not expected that the Government would reverse their decision immediately, but the act was to highlight the dissatisfaction with the decision and the running of the economy.

Ameen pointed out that professionals in various fields have been making suggestions to the Government on how to manage the economy, but they were not listening.

“A lot of people who are not necessarily UNC supporters are receptive when they see us on the streets marching. Sometimes it takes a spark to start a fire. It is not about a UNC issue; it is about issues facing all of us. We have to continue to put our voices out there.”