Armadale: who cares?
THE EDITOR, Sir:
As the casualties of the gruesome and unforgivable atrocity of Armadale continue to unfold, one cannot help but wonder what will be the final outcome after the month-long enquiry into the debacle, having played out, the lobbying of the government by the children's advocate, Hear the Children's Cry and human-rights group, Jamaicans for Justice, for better conditions and treatment of our children in state care fizzles, and public outcry becomes mute.
For whatever we want to call it, a terrible crime has been committed against our children, and those seven girls paid the ultimate price with their lives on that fateful night while in the care of the state.
But, rather than engaging in the now all too familiar chopping and changing of public servants - who were charged with the responsibility of protecting and caring for these children, and are now fingered in a damning report from the Armadale Commission of Enquiry - deemed culpable, we should pause for a moment and take stock of the real problem, and address it, once and for all.
Don't get me wrong! I absolutely believe that those who are responsible must pay, and dearly too. For, we must stop trying to stuff square pegs into round holes.
It is no secret that abuse at varying levels is perpetrated against many of our children while they are in the care of the state. But, have we not known of these conditions for some time now? There are many aspects of Armadale that are really nothing new, for, only a few years ago, an equally scathing report on the treatment of children in state care and the conditions in which they are forced to live, detailed ill-treatment and negligence on the part of some of those who were entrusted with their care. On that occasion, there was public outrage and much talk by the now seemingly obscure 'authorities'. And, as usual, it was 'back to business'.
I am, etc.,