Leave our children alone, pleads Kerr
An urgent appeal is being made to men across Jamaica to desist from luring children into inappropriate activities and to allow them to enjoy their childhood.
The plea came from Kaysia Kerr, chief executive officer at the National Parenting Support Commission, who was speaking with The Gleaner during the National Child Month Committee 'Children Need Our Love and Protection' Youth Forum, AFFIRM ME, held at the St Andrew Parish Church Hall, yesterday.
Kerr, who was bemoaning the number of children reported missing over the years, in addition to those who were murdered, said that adults should take greater care in ensuring that a safe place is provided for children to exist and thrive.
"What I do know is that some of the children are being lured away by men at a very young age. So we need to say to our men, 'Allow our children to be children and allow them to grow up. They have a right to go through all the important periods of life without being lured into activities that they have no business being involved in'," she declared.
Kerr added: "The fact is that children also run away because the issues that they have are not being effectively dealt with at home. We need parents who will sit down and listen a little more. You can never not communicate because even when a child is not talking, it doesn't mean they are not telling you something. Look at the body language, look at the sadness and see how we can face them (issues) head on."
DO MORE TO PROTECT CHILDREN
Similar sentiments were expressed by Floyd Green, state minister for youth, who noted that although recent statistics show that there has been a 21 per cent reduction in the number of children who have been murdered, the number is still too high.
The latest data from the police show that of the 353 children who had crimes committed against them this year, 38 were murdered (24 males and 14 females). This indicates a 21 per cent decrease in children being murdered when compared to last year when 48 of the nation's youth were killed.
"Quite frankly, we can do more. The Government has a part to play, and the police have to ensure that when these murders happen, justice is swift and sure. The police have to do better with arresting people, but more importantly, ensuring that arrest leads to conviction and jail time," Green charged.