Team Leader of the Western Region of the Child Development Agency (CDA), Malika McKenzie, has called on all Jamaicans to assist and ensure that perpetrators of child abuse are found guilty and imprisoned.
Addressing the 7th Annual Child Month Exhibition, held on May 17 at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, in Montego Bay, St. James, Mrs. McKenzie pointed out that when persons give their total support, this will help to isolate child abusers and encourage more exposure of the wrongdoers.
"There should be celebration when perpetrators are locked up behind bars for robbing children of their innocence; that is the celebration of justice. We owe it to ourselves to be advocates of change, to open our hearts and homes to foster a child, to give a child sound advice, and to be mandatory reporters of abuse," she told the gathering.
She reminded that the month of May is set aside to celebrate children, and called for a return of the days when children played without fear of being taken away and victimised. “How many can honestly say I have inspired a child, I have motivated a child, or I have lived up to my responsibilities as a parent? The CDA wants every Jamaican child to be aware of his or her rights. Let us break the silence and speak up against child abuse,” she said.
Councillor for the Montego Bay South East Division, Knollis King, who represented Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris, said the event would help to motivate children, and implored Jamaicans to help protect the children.
Volunteer with the Child Protection Committee (CPC) in St. James, Sandra Kameka, told JIS News that she has joined the cause to fight against child abuse, and now more than ever “we need to heighten awareness."
“The public need to be sensitised to this social problem now. Our roles as adults and as parents are to love and protect our children,” she said.
Another volunteer, Candice Barracks-Clarke, told JIS News that she has a passion for children. “I am a mother, and we want to ensure that we do all we can to protect our children. They are our future, and we must protect them as they are vulnerable and can’t protect themselves,” she said.
The CPC, which is a children support group, organised the exhibition.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter