KINGSTON — Patron of the National Child Month Committee, Douglas Orane, has called on Jamaicans to commit their time, resources and energies toward creating a safer environment for children.
He was speaking at a church service held recently at the Trinity Moravian Church, Richmond Park, Kingston to kick off activities for Child Month 2011.
Mr. Orane said that children should be provided with the protection, nurturing and care to realise their full potential, in keeping with the Child Care and Protection Act and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Jamaica is a signatory. The provisions contained, he said, “should not only be words on a paper, with viable tenets woven into the fabric of society that will ensure our children have the future to which they are entitled."
“This can only be achieved if our priorities are adjusted to provide those individuals, institutions and organisations, who are entrusted with the care and nurture of children, the resources they need to do their jobs efficiently,” he added.
Mr. Orane further urged parents and guardians to keep a closer watch on children at risk of becoming involved in wrongdoings and to do whatever they can to transform their future.
He also called for more programmes for the rehabilitation of young people, who become involved in criminal activities, noting that they are often misled, are victims of their environment, or lack opportunities and guidance.
“Many of these young people might be redeemed. Instead of rushing to apply punishment, should we not attempt to forgive them, try to understand their perspective so that they can have a chance of rehabilitation rather than demanding retribution?” Mr. Orane questioned.
The National Child Month Committee Chairman, who is also Chief Executive Officer of GraceKennedy Limited, noted that children have experienced many challenges over the past decade and have been the perpetrators as well as victims of violence.
“But, it is in times like these that we need to be most resolute in terms of making a change. We, who know better, must do better. We must use God as our point of reference as our example and make our best effort to do as he would do,” he said.
Child Month 2011 is being observed in May under the theme: ‘Our World…Their Future… Our Responsibility…'
By E. HARTMAN RECKORD, JIS Information Officer