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  • Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller says Government has been making a deliberate effort to increase the participation of children in policy formulation and implementation.
  • The Prime Minister was speaking at the 10th Annual Caribbean Child Research Conference on November 6 at the Jamaica Conference.
  • Prime Minister Simpson Miller added that strong partnerships among Government and non-Government organisations are essential for arriving at solutions to national problems, including those concerning children.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller says Government has been making a deliberate effort to increase the participation of children in policy formulation and implementation. The Prime Minister was speaking at the 10th Annual Caribbean Child Research Conference on November 6 at the Jamaica Conference.  She said that in order to achieve this “there has been the appointment of child ambassadors. There is also the establishment of children’s advisory panels and youth advocates, who are participating in this conference.”

 

Prime Minister Simpson Miller added that strong partnerships among Government and non-Government organisations are essential for arriving at solutions to national problems, including those concerning children.  Held under the theme: ‘Beyond 2015: Equality and Equity for All Children’, the conference was hosted by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies in partnership with the Caribbean Child Development Centre; Child Development Agency; the Jamaica Early Childhood Commission; the Planning Institute of Jamaica; Jamaica’s Office of the Children’s Advocate, the Office of the Children’s Registry; the Jamaica Ministry of Education and The United Nations Children’s Fund Jamaica.

 

The Prime Minister said that “this strong partnership is an example of what I want to see fostered in Jamaica. I want to see Government and non-government organisations examining issues and providing solutions to problems.” Following the conference, the Prime Minister will be presented with a document containing policy proposals developed over the last 9 years by child and adult researchers. “I look forward to reading it and discussing it with my Ministers,” the Prime Minister said.

 

A key part of the conference activities, a children’s panel was developed to address critical issues including parental absenteeism, anti-social behaviour, gang activities, and male underachievement among other topics. The Prime Minister commended the conference partners for ensuring that children’s voices are documented, noting that her Administration remained committed to “ensuring that the nation’s children are adequately provided for, protected and allowed to express themselves freely.”

 

The Prime Minister also renewed her call to all Jamaicans to join the conference partners in upholding the rights of children. “This is an area of national life that cannot be left only to the Government. I am calling on all parents, teachers, pastors, community leaders, policymakers, and every adult in the society to take care of the nation’s children. Do not abuse them, do not neglect them, because we have a moral and ethical responsibility to take good care of them all,” the Prime Minister said.

 

Jamaica ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991 and is one of few Caribbean countries with a Children’s Advocate.  Jamaica is also one of few countries with an Office of the Children’s Registry mandated to record and act on abuses against children.

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