Another year is about to close and many will be unhappy as the status quo continues as it relates to the rights of the children. I had decided not to touch on the topic of children’s rights until the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) chastised Barbados on the adjudication of children’s rights.
The government of Barbados announced a new Child Protection Bill, and it is supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread. Within this bill is a severe penalty for financial abuse while emotional abuse by state institutions is ignored. I am therefore not peeved, but besotted, bewildered and baffled by the practice of sending home a 14-year-old on suspension for ten days in December 2023. This is not only ignorant, stupid, silly and mean, but must be highly condemned as inappropriate and heavy-handed as well as emotionally abusive.
I feel very passionate about the rights of the elderly and children. The above 14-year-old young man’s situation cannot be treated by a ten-day suspension for bullying when issues of poor parenting are a consideration. Where is the emotional intervention or counselling that this young man so desperately needs before he returns to the classroom? Again, I say we are making a joke of “in the best interest of the child”.
To add context, this young man lives with his mother who is less than responsible, and his father is absent. Sadly, without the right intervention, his parents and society will fail him, and he may become a statistic of the Barbados Police Service’s research department.
Finally, when seeking equity one should come with clean hands. The lawyers in Barbados have failed children and should be ever mindful while pointing fingers at judges and magistrates. How many lawyers in Barbados still take instructions and give instructions towards de-escalation and speedy resolution of matters? Zilch. Think about mediation towards speedy resolution in the children’s best interest, and not about $10 000 retainer fees in matters of maintenance and custody. We must act to protect the rights and stop the lot of long talk.
Wishing you all a Merry Xmas and changed attitudes for 2024 in the “best interest of children”.