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Rescue our men - Phillips - Veteran MP says urgent efforts needed to save males

Published:Sunday | December 6, 2015 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue

Member of Parliament for St Andrew East Central Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips is warning that the misdirection of a large number of Jamaican males is one of the clearest indications of a catastrophe waiting to happen.

Addressing a panel discussion organised by the Molynes Gardens Citizens Association and Neighbourhood Watch in his constituency late last week, Phillips argued that it was instructive that while 80 per cent of females were graduating from tertiary institutions, 80 per cent of the prison population is male.

"We need more men teachers in the classrooms. There is the absence of males in the classroom, and there is the absence of males in the lives of their children, possibly because they are in prison," said Phillips.

According to Phillips, the effort to save our men must be a collective one, with all hands on deck for an urgent operation.

Phillips was joined on the panel at Calvary Gospel Assembly by Justice Minister Mark Golding and Jamaica Labour Party Councillor Beverley Prince, who is expected to challenge him in the next general election.

They were asked by members of the audience to respond to calls for a lowering of the age of consent and steeper penalties for individuals who engage in sex with minors.

For Golding, the issue is a complex one, and stiffer penalties could see young boys who engage in early sex with young girls with a criminal record.

 

STIFFER PENALTIES FOR OLDER MEN

 

Golding, like many of those in attendance, argued that a consideration of stiffer penalties for older men who have sex with young girls could be considered.

He urged the churches to continue encouraging young people to concentrate on clean, wholesome lives.

Phillips argued that the society is highly sexualised and blamed the cable industry for much of the inappropriate sexual behaviour on display.

"We need to de-sexualise life. Some of the things shown on cable should never be shown anywhere. We need to reach out to the DJs for music that respects the sanctity of sex between man and woman," said Phillips.

Prince backed those pushing for an increase in the age of consent, which, she said, should be moved to 18, with stiffer penalties for male sexual predators.

The panel discussion, which was moderated by the Reverend Mark Dawes, also saw wide-ranging comments on issues, including the retention of the definition of marriage, the protection of religious liberties, the retention of the laws against buggery and abortion, and age-appropriate sex education that is compatible with Jamaican laws.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com