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JIS News

The Jamaica Information Service (JIS) has embarked on a month-long series of community meetings aimed at heightening awareness of child safety and security, particularly in rural areas.
The first meeting took place at the Miracle Ministry Full Gospel Mission Church in Nutts River rural St.Thomas on Thursday, November 6 and was done in collaboration with the Social Development Commission.
Several stakeholders participated, including the St. Thomas Parish Council, the Child Development Agency (CDA), the Jamaica Constabulary Force, through its Community Safety and Security Unit at the Morant Bay police station, and the Victim Support Unit.
Head of the Regional Services Department of the JIS, Shelly-Ann Harris stated that the town meetings were a means of executing the Government’s mandate of combating attacks on the nation’s youth. These attacks include carnal abuse, incest, physical and verbal abuse, abductions, buggery and rape. The meetings also allows parents, guardians and caregivers not only to be aware of what is happening to children but what government is doing about it, the various agencies available to give assistance, and what their responsibilities are as caregivers under the law as it relates to the care, protection and safety of their charges.
“The JIS is committed to empowering both urban and rural communities with the relevant public information that can help to stem the scourge of violence against children. The Regional Services Department is therefore rolling out a series of communities meetings to be staged in every parish across the length and breadth of Jamaica. Meetings at schools have also been planned to ensure that our children receive direct instructions about safety from the relevant authorities,” she said.
The meeting at Nutts River received commendation not only from the stakeholders who participated but also from the many parents who turned out to hear what information was available, who described it as timely.
SDC Development Area Co-ordinator for St. Thomas, Nikema Leslie stated that people needed to be more aware and that during November the SDC would be focussing on child abuse prevention in rural communities under the theme ‘Communities: Protecting our Children, Protecting our Future’.
Mayor of Morant Bay, Councillor Haniff Brown said it was time for well thinking adults to play a role in eliminating the increasing incidents of child abuse.
He used the occasion to highlight the Amanda Alert Campaign being spearheaded by the Ministry of Local Government, which creates an islandwide network involving Local Government Councils, the police, libraries, government agencies, and other associated agencies, to be on the look-out for incidence of child abuse. This is then funnelled to the police or other relevant agencies for actioning.
Mrs. Harris stated that other meetings are being planned by the JIS across the island through the various regional offices located in Kingston, Mandeville, Port Antonio, and Montego Bay.She called on communities to come out to the JIS meetings in the respective areas and receive important information to help protect children. She also called on corporate Jamaica to partner with the JIS in whatever way possible to make the community public education meetings successful.