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The Government of Trinidad has received the applause of regional analyst Peter Wickham following a unanimous decision in that country’s parliament that has outlawed child marriage.

Wickham is pleased with what he calls a bold step that puts an end to a sinister and nasty practice of marrying off young girls at the age of 12.

The legal age for marriage in Trinidad and Tobago is now 18. Prior to this amendment of the marriage act some members of the Hindu and Muslim Communities engaged in child marriages. The practice which was endorsed by the leader of the Inter religious Organization Harrypersad Maharaj sparked public outrage when he said that the state should not interfere because age did not determine maturity.

But Wickham believes that the problem is allowing a religious order to make such a determination independently of the state.

In St Lucia a person must be at least 16 years old to get married. If a person is under the age of 18, they will need to show evidence of parental consent in the form of a notarized sworn affidavit.

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