We have some incredible young Barbadians who are excelling in music, sports, academics, culture and other arena. Perhaps we should celebrate them more and provide additional resources for their development as they are certainly doing credit to our beloved nation.
Unfortunately, there are those at the other end of the spectrum who make us hold our heads in shame and break our hearts. The report on the back page of the Sunday Sun a couple weeks ago about “girls on layaway” is one of those heartbreaking realities. How could any parent do such a wicked thing to his/her own daughter?
Given the despicable legacy we have of African chattel slavery, how can we now condemn our own children to the epitome of trafficking in children by selling our girls into the sex trade? Make no mistake, putting our girl children on “layaway” is nothing but trafficking children for the sexual pleasure of perverts and miscreants.
It would be wonderful to see the law enforcement authorities bring both the sellers and the buyers in this reprehensible trade to justice. It will not be easy to accumulate sufficient evidence to turn arrests into convictions and sentences for long periods at HMP Dodds, but I ask the Royal Barbados Police Force, the judiciary and the legal profession to help us end this scourge that seems to be taking root in our nation. Please!
And then there is the report appearing on the front page of the Weekend Nation about more than a dozen female, secondary students apparently beating a colleague into unconsciousness as others watched, including passersby on the public road. Was there no Good Samaritan among the Pharisees that passed by on the other side of the road?
The perpetrators of this heinous violence must face the legal system. They must be given due process but they must also, once found guilty, pay the necessary penalties at HMP Dodds or the Girls Industrial School. The student so badly beaten must be compensated – not just the payment of medical bills for however long is necessary but also compensation for pain and suffering, days lost at school, disfigurement and whatever else she has suffered.
But that cannot be the end of the matter. We must ask, and answer, what it is in our environment that has caused so much anger and violence in the hearts of these young, female students? Are some of them on “layaway”? Are some of them in home environments where they are sexually, physically and/or emotionally abused? What is the root of their anger and can the issues be resolved?
I am not willing that any of our youth be cast out as being beyond redemption.
The legal agencies, judiciary, Child Care Board and even Paredos must step up to punish but also to work for redemption.
Can the Church across the nation help? Yes! Please once again send us your children for spiritual and moral guidance through our children’s programmes, our Sunday Schools, our youth programmes, our Scout and Girl Guide companies in our churches and schools, Pathfinders in the Seventh day Adventist Churches and AWANA in its infancy in several denominations.
Get your children involved at school in Inter-School Christian Fellowship, Drug Education Counselling Service, Ammar Empowerment and the Pure Sex Network. These are resources we’re making available to help guide our children and volunteers serve, sometimes at great personal sacrifice, to guide our youth away from these destructive behaviours.
Please let us help your children before it is too late.