Charles calls for all-out fight against child abuse
Senator Pearnel Charles Jr, minister of state in the Ministry of National Security, is calling for the nation to join as one in the fight against child abuse.
The second-generation politician urged technology as a means of fighting crime, while making a plea during last Thursday night's J. Wray and Nephew (JWN) Foundation inaugural fundraiser, Expressions of Art - Protecting OUR Children, at The Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston.
The JWN Foundation acted to bring awareness to and raise funds to implement intervention programmes that will be developed, in partnership with the Child Development Agency (CDA), to curtail child abuse and empower vulnerable females alike.
The $7,000-a-ticket event featured a silent auction of JWN's premium rums that are no longer available in the market - this year's limited-time offer - JOY, plus the very rare Masterblender's Legacy and Appleton Estate 250-year-old Rums; plus two short films and a panel discussion.
"We have to find a way to get all of our country to understand that you've to become a part of the solution and that using a simple thing as the technology that you have in your pocket can help," said Charles.
The state minister aligned his comment with mobile technology, a prime feature of one of two movies showcased at the fundraiser, Shoot the Girl, to show its positive impact in averting the death of a child.
STAY ALERT APP
He noted that his ministry has devised an application for mobile phones, called Stay Alert, which facilitates safekeeping and rescue efforts.
"One of the aspects of it is that it allows you to tape video and to send it to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). It also allows you, if you use your locator, to press a panic button that will allow the officers to identify your location and be able to assist," said Charles.
"So we are utilising, at the Ministry of National Security, and trying to find the best possible ways to use technology," he added.
The film, written by Tony Hendriks and directed by Natalie Thompson, was featured as one of the top five JAFTA Propella 2016 finalist films, a growing community of Jamaican film-makers and television practitioners.
The other film, Silent Hearts, another JAFTA Propelle top-five film, also featured cellphone technology and was written and directed by another Jamaican, Janet Morrison. It is about the abduction of a schoolgirl in a rural Jamaica town and explores the thought processes of two witnesses as the crime happens and the consequences of their actions, or lack thereof. A number of prime players in children's advocacy and Jamaican media supported the venture in a panel discussion on the issue of child abuse, as well as the local film-making industry.