Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Letter of the day: Jamaica hates its children

Published:Friday | December 11, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The news for 2015 has revealed the true character of the Jamaican people. We hate our children. Missing, raped, impregnated, murdered, mutilated, abused, prostituted, buggered, disregarded and discarded, unloved 'things'. And if we hate our children, the most vulnerable among us, surely, we hate ourselves.

A self-hating society cannot thrive, and it shows in Jamaica - in our crime rates and on our balance sheets. Children who grow up without the love and affection of their mother and father, with no sense of identity and personal security by permanently belonging to someone, are cued to become future delinquents, adults lacking empathy, socially maladjusted, unemployable, and acting out their hurt and rejection on society.

Children's homes are neither the best nor ideal response to poor parenting. Better parenting is. Institutionalising children may be more convenient but is expensive. Redeeming dysfunctional families costs less in the long run but demands more heart and commitment. In other words, it requires a society to demonstrate true character.

I commend the fearlessness and honesty of the children's advocate for investigating and reporting the shameful failure of certain CDA officers to treat with dignity Jamaican children at the Sunshine Child Care Facility.

However, I urge the advocate and the minister of youth to take the discussion where it really needs to go. If, as the minister said in her report to Parliament that "the welfare of our children ... must take precedence at all times. It must supersede personal rancour, preferences, and biases. Our children are our present and our future", then back up the rhetoric by doing what is truly best for them.

Statistics and data overwhelmingly show that children do best when raised by their married biological mother and father in a low-conflict stable home. The monogamous marriage is the healthiest place for men, safest place for women, and best place for children, (e.g., 'Why marriage matters' (2011) Bradford Wilcox, 'The real root causes of violent crime: the breakdown of marriage, family and community' (1995), Dr Patrick Fagan).

Unless the touchy subjects of marriage and stable families are placed on the table for honest debate and policy exploration and their tangible benefits made the subject of public education campaigns, nothing will change. Our national character will remain tarnished and our children continuously objectified by callous empty souls who perhaps themselves were rejected and abandoned children.

PHILIPPA DAVIES

Advocacy Officer

Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society

jchsadvocate@gmail.com