The abuse of children becoming a brand - Henry-Wilson
MAXINE HENRY-WILSON, chairman of the Child Development Agency (CDA), has said that the wanton and brutal killing of children across the island is rapidly taking on a 'brand'.
"Our hearts must be heavy when we think of the murdering of our children in one form or the other," said Henry-Wilson, while delivering the keynote address at last Wednesday's reopening of the Half Moon House at the SOS Children's Village, in St James.
"It is almost becoming a brand of Jamaica and it is very, very sad. We don't have to look further than the newspapers this week," added Henry-Wilson.
However, the former government minister noted that amid the grief and evil, which was being visited on the nation's children, the reopening of the Half Moon House had come to the fore as a good story.
"We can't see and blind and hear and deaf. All of our attributes have to come into play when we are dealing with our children. We have to talk about not just their rights to survival, but for them to develop their full potential," said Henry-Wilson.
The CDA chairman made an appeal to corporate entities, urging them to assist children in state care who are qualified and ready to pursue tertiary education but who face serious financial challenges and whose future could be stymied due to the lack of opportunity.
"We now have more than 35 graduates of our residential facilities who are doing tertiary education," said Henry-Wilson. "Here I am saying we are looking for some sponsors for these young people - what we can do to ensure that their life opportunity is fulfilled."
In making her plea against the background of the rampant abuse of children and the need for more to be done to protect them, Henry-Wilson said the nation's girls needed to be treated with respect.
"We have to seek to protect our children. Is there a way to talk to our men folk to let them know that every young girl is not their personal property?" asked Henry-Wilson.
Sandro Fabris, the general manager at the Half Moon Resort, who was on hand for the reopening ceremony, which saw the SOS Children's Village, which will accommodate eight children, a house mother, a mother and an aunt, getting new furniture and fixtures, pledged more assistance for the home.
Fabris committed and presented a cheque valued at $4.7 million to cover the family budget, utility bills, and general administrative costs for the year.