Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Global Partnership to assist Jamaica end violence against children

Published:Friday | November 25, 2016 | 11:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Olivia Grange (left), minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sports, speaks about gender affairs with Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry (centre) and Alison McLean, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, during yesterday’s launch of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, held at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Andrew.

Deep-rooted social issues that continue to plague the society, in addition to horrific incidents of violence against children, are among several problems Prime Minister Andrew Holness expects to be addressed following yesterday's launch of the Global Partnership to end violence among youth.

Holness indicated that ongoing cultural practices such as corporal punishment are part of a variety of factors that have contributed to issues of abuse, which many children encounter on a daily basis.

"Violence has become normalised in society. Unfortunately, it is part of our social interaction," he said while addressing an audience at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Andrew.

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

"Amazingly, when I was at the Ministry of Education, I took it unto myself to address the issue of corporal punishment and there were some parents in Jamaica who felt offended by this," added Holness, who has previously served as minister of education.

"There were some teachers who thought that I was trying to take from them the tool that they relied on for so long to maintain order in their classroom, and there are many Jamaicans who think like that. Not to mention those mothers who close their eyes to the abuse of their daughters by men who they know but rely on them for economic circumstances."

Making reference to a report released this week by Amnesty International, which highlights fears that citizens experience in their interaction with the police force, the prime minister stressed that there has to be a level of urgency from all stakeholders to deal with violent incidents.

"The challenge we face in growing our economy is not simply an economic proble. We have some deep-seated social issues which act as a constraint. We have to confront it. The use of violence in our society has to go," he said.

"We are not going to in any way change the course that they (human rights watchdogs) are on in terms of the maintenance of human rights. Though crime is a challenge, our response will not be with more violence. Law and order, decency, and respect for our citizens will overcome criminality," he declared.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com