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JIS News

Jamaicans, today (May 31), remembered children, who have been victims of violence at a wreath laying ceremony held at the Secret Gardens downtown Kingston.

Hundreds of children and adults participated in the ceremony held in recognition of Child’s Month, to publicly decry child abuse and neglect in Jamaica.

Councillor for the Whitfield Town Division, Eugene Kelly, who addressed the function, encouraged parents to protect their children from all forms of physical, mental and sexual abuse.

“We all have a responsibility to protect our children. There (are) a number of children who (have) died under tragic circumstances and they could have been saved if a conscientious neighbour, who, on hearing the abuse of the child, would have reported this to the children’s registry or the police,” Mr. Kelly noted.

He said that children also have a role to play in preventing child abuse, by reporting any incidence of abuse to a responsible adult.

“It is everybody’s responsibility. Children, if (you) know of an abuse on a friend you need to report to an adult. The adults need to be made aware of the law that actually demands that upon knowledge of child abuse that you are obligated to report it to the authorities,” he said.

Today’s function included a road march and a concert featuring popular local talent.

The Secret Gardens, located at the intersection of Church and Tower streets, was constructed in 2008 and opened to the public on November 20. It is a project of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC), with support from Corporate Jamaica.

A monument, designed by sculptor, Paul Napier, sits in the centre of the gardens, which bears the names of approximately 450 of Jamaica’s children, who have been the victims of crime and violence.

Since being opened to the public, the gardens has become a popular site in the downtown Kingston area, attracting thousands of visitors, and creating an emotional oasis in the commercial centre of the city focusing on the plight of the children.

CONTACT: LATONYA LINTON