WANTED: Positive parenting; Jamaicans urged to do more to protect children
Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn and Betty Ann Blaine, convener of Hear the Children's Cry, have urged parents to recommit to their responsibility of caring for all children.
Addressing a large gathering at a special children's programme at the Riverton Meadows Seventh-day Adventist Church in St Andrew, Llewellyn stressed that parenting involved a lot of sacrifice.
She argued that the only way to make the world safe for our children is for everyone to take responsibility for all the children they know.
"Very often, when we see bad things happen to children and you check it out, there is an adult who has been negligent and who has not taken the time to give special attention to the children," said Llewellyn.
She urged parents not to leave young children alone at home to go to parties.
According to Llewellyn, there are a number of areas in which children are being abused and neglected, including sexual abuse.
The DPP referred to many instances in court where parents or guardians tried to prevent children from attending court to testify even when the adults know that members of the household were abusing the children.
"Children are under agony emotionally from sexual abuses and yet adults prevent them from attending court," said Llewellyn.
She said the child victims needed counselling and in the cases where the offenders were children, they too needed counselling.
In her address, Blaine called on all the adults to ensure that the children have a good life and live up to their full potential.
She said she was very distressed that every year when we celebrate Child Month, "the statistics get worse and things look a little worse for the children".
"It cannot be that in the month of May, when we are honouring our children, so many bad things are happening to the children," said Blaine.
"One of the things I know we must fix in Jamaica is family life or else we are going nowhere," argued Blaine.
According to Blaine, Jamaica does not have a crime problem. She said what the country faces is a family problem.
" When you fix family, you fix Jamaica but you see people are saying you can't fix families and I say that is rubbish."
Blaine said the way to fix families is to focus on constructive family life.
Llewellyn and Blaine were addressing the children's programme after it was launched by Yvette Green, vice-principal of Pembroke Hall High School, under the theme: 'Give Your Heart to Jesus. I Did'.
In thanking the speakers, Pastor Holland Thompson expressed hope that those present would endeavour to ensure that Jamaica's children are not abused.