TSTT cyber attack features in youth parliament

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The Couva South Youth Parliament holds its first sitting at the Chinmaya Mission Ashram, Calcutta Road No 1, Couva, on Monday. – Lincoln Holder

THE October 9 cyber attack on the Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) came briefly to the fore during the inaugural sitting of the Couva South Youth Parliament.

The sitting took place at the Chinmaya Mission Ashram in Couva on Monday.

The youth parliamentarians, who were students from schools in the Couva South constituency, debated a motion on eliminating violence in the workplace.

The event was held to commemorate World Children’s Day on Monday and International Day for the Elimination Against Violence Against Women on November 25 .

The cyber attack entered the debate when prime minister and Beaucarro MP Nathan Basdeo linked this type of crime with sexual harassment in the workplace.

Basdeo told his fellow youth MPs that some types of cyber crime involve sexual harassment threats being made virtually to women in the workplace.

He said these types of threats often go unnoticed or unreported, as the victims may fear losing their jobs.

Basdeo added that sexual harassment in the workplace can never be properly addressed unless all forms of initimdation used by alleged perpetrators are exposed and dealt with decisively.

“Everyone deserves respect in the workplace.”

Referring to the TSTT cyber attack, Basdeo said, “Everything is being done to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Speaking in the Senate on November 7, Public Utilies Minister Marvin Gonzales said government had mandated TSTT’s board of directors to do a thorough and independent investigation into the incident.

As the results of the investigation become available, Gonzales promised “to provide further clarity on this ongoing situation to the national community.”

In moving the motion at the start of the youth debate, labour minister Abdul Kallicharan observed that women have made many strides in careers previously dominated by men.

But he said this has had the negative consequence of many women being harassed by men in the workplace, who are often intimidated by them.

Kallicharan said not all men behave this way towards women in the workplace.

He added that any approach to addressing violence in the workplace must ensure innocent men and women do not become the victims of unjust consequences because of misconceptions that many people have about violence in the workplace.

“There is only so much the police can do.”

Tortuga East MP Salahudeen Bisssessar said certain studies estimated that as many as 38 per cent of female employees are victims of sexual harassment at work.

“This is unacceptable and should stop.”

Bissessar was concerned there are no laws which make sexual harassment in the workplace a crime.

Esperanza East MP Ciara St Bernard agreed.

“Violence against women is everyone’s business.”

The students participating in the debate came from Holy Faith Convent, Couva; Miracle Ministries Pentecostal High School; Carapichaima West Secondary School; Waterloo Secondary School; and Chinmaya Vidyalaya.