We Have To Protect Our Children
Barbados, like all of the other States in the Caribbean region has committed itself to protecting the rights of children through ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (C.R.C.). Integral to this collection of rights are those geared at the protection of children who are abused, neglected or at risk of harm.
The story which continues to incense sensible Barbadians of a child being abused by two adults on Kadooment Day is rapidly reaching the end of the seven day period for top billing. Director of the Child Care Board (CCB) Joan Crawford, goaded by the public outcry, is quoted in the media that the widely circulated picture will be forwarded to the Police for investigation. Implied in the action by the CCB is that there is enough evidence to support a case of child abuse.
It was interesting to listen to Joan Crawford explaining that the picture does not expose the faces of the adults in the picture therefore it will be difficult to locate the individuals. Her apologetic observation begs the question, is Miss Crawford a member of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF)? She is obligated to report the matter and let the RBPF used its sleuthing skills to locate the individuals.
This is an opportunity for the government agencies responsible for guarding public morals to step up. BU holds the view that even if the culprits in the picture escape having to answer a charge in Court, a message would have been sent to others. It is not business as usual, the public, many of us anyway, will NOT tolerate this nonsense any longer. Hopefully the public consternation being shown will resonate with parents who have the important job of raising children.
Part of the problem is that stakeholders in the Crop Over Festival need to agree to a Code of Conduct. It was interesting to listen to Gwyneth Squires and Chetwyn Stuart being questioned in the media about the incident. Gwyneth was horrified and scathing in her condemnation of the adults for including a child in their lewd exhibition. Chetwyn Stuart was more accommodating by suggesting that bad situations will occur and we have to continue to educate the people. His a wishy washy response if ever there was one. We have Gwyneth who continues to build cultural themes into her designs and then there is Stuart who is into beads and feathers and making money. It explains what is wrong.
What made Barbados different a few years ago was the length we were prepared to protect our society. Look out for children by imparting wisdom driven by a value system which defined what was decent and what was vulgar. We live in a society where any behaviour can be rationalized in the name of the right to personal freedom.