Government Senator David Durant today warned that too many of the island’s youth were being driven to a life of violence and crime by parents who abandoned them.
Citing statistics which showed that 7, 808 children were neglected between 2002 and 2015, Durant argued that some of these children ended up on the blocks where they were introduced to guns and illegal drugs.
“If they are being neglected by the ones who are to shepherd them and the rulers on the block decide to take them in and to give them a little money in their hands then they will come in and grow up in that culture and begin to be trained along that line that will lead them to criminal activities,” Durant said this afternoon in his contribution to the debate on the Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
The senator also complained that a number of pre-teen girls got pregnant “from time to time” and no one was charged with sexual crimes against these children.
“[There are] ten-year-old or an 11-year-old [girls who get] pregnant and that is not right. Where is the right of that child? This cannot continue.
“A part of this legislation is that everyone who knowingly knows of such incidences and has not made a report to the Child Care Board is guilty of a fine or could be jailed,” he declared.
The legislator warned doctors, lawyers, teachers, principals, neighbours and other responsible citizens that it was mandatory for them to “speak out when things like this happen”, stressing that, “any child being molested at this level, it is all of our business. We are our brother’s keeper and we have to protect the children of our nation.”
Durant quoted statistics previously revealed by Minister of Social Care Steve Blackett when he introduced the Bill in the House, which showed that an alarming number of Barbadian children were physically or sexually abused.
“Now, fellow Senators and Madam President, this cannot continue . . . many children in this country are crying out for help and we have to be the voice for the voiceless,” he insisted.