Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Rescue hustling kids from streets

Published:Tuesday | March 29, 2016 | 3:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I believe it's contrary to who we are as Jamaicans and against our inalienable values of human dignity, love and philanthropy to have countless children, especially boys, vending, wiping windscreens and soliciting on the streets.

The number of children seen on the streets, particularly in urban areas, is enormously high. I am sure that we can appreciate that minors are more susceptible to abuse and exploitation, and are more likely to be deprived of their childhood, educational opportunities and other social benefits. Frankly, this is a recipe for disaster.

The fact that our children are on the streets for hours

unsupervised is a reflection of systemic failure. Regrettably so, it mirrors the rapid deterioration of the value structures of our families, communities and country. It is not acceptable.

Poor parenting contributes greatly to this problem. However, where our parents fall short in fulfilling their obligation to provide for, and to protect children, mechanisms must be in place to provide the requisite assistance. Many of our parents need to do more and should be held accountable for their failures.

Similarly, our agencies of government entrusted with the care and protection of our children need to do more.

I believe this is the opportune time for us to redefine and reshape, substantively, the developmental agenda for our children's future.

Historically, parents have been the earliest and most influential persons to their children. This should be re-emphasised powerfully through partnerships with the media, civic organisations, churches, and schools. Also, let us strengthen existing policies or innovate new ones to empower parents and hone their skills as leaders, protectors, nurturers and caregivers of their families.

It's time to move beyond the debates and recommit ourselves to fixing this longstanding problem. No government by itself will be able to fix all our problems. As citizens, we, too, must actively play our part in creating the country we envision.

Let us collaborate and build partnerships to fix our archaic systems. We owe it to our children to provide them with a chance of a better life and a better Jamaica.

TREVOR L. COLE

trevorcole24@gmail.com

St Ann