Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
GOVERNOR GENERAL Sir Patrick Allen toured St Ann last Thursday as part of his Jamaica 50 Island Tour and left the garden parish with a plea on behalf of the nation's children.
Speaking to members of the St Ann business community at a luncheon at Laughing Waters in Roaring River, the governor general urged a collaborative effort to fight child abuse.
"We are all aware of the areas in which we are gifted to make our contribution to the nation, but each one of us has seen the crying need to guard and protect our children," he said.
"During the month of May, Child Month, the harsh spotlight on the serious and widespread cases of child abuse in our island shocked many of us who had been unaware of the statistics. It also shamed others who might have ignored signs of abuse and, most important, it served as a catalyst to yet others to volunteer time and resources to help protect our children and defeat this threat to our nation's future," he pointed out.
"We need to have more people committed to stomping out child abuse. Each of us has a responsibility in this challenge. It is not enough to thank God that it does not exist in our family if, happily, that is the case. It is incorrect to believe, as many do, that child abuse is relegated to certain sections of society, because statistics prove otherwise.
"My appeal to you, therefore, this afternoon ladies and gentlemen, is that you collaborate in taking action at all the levels necessary to rid this beautiful parish of any scourge of child abuse. We must tackle this pandemic wherever it exists across Jamaica."
Speaking to a gathering of more than 40 persons, Sir Patrick turned to the wider picture of the tough social and economic conditions in Jamaica. He said while he was not overlooking the fact that people are facing difficulties, having seen poverty and desperation, he has also seen hope and determination, even in deprived communities, in parents, especially single mothers, who want to secure a better life for their children.
The governor general said this was the time to demand the best from each of us to secure a better future for the nation. He encouraged Jamaicans to use their many talents to the advantage of the nation.
Sir Patrick also visited the St Ann Parish Library to view the Senior Citizens 50th anniversary craft display and the Scotiabank/Gleaner Archival Exhibition.