Prime Minister the Hon. Andrew Holness says that government has a role in removing cultural practices that are holding back the country's development.
Speaking at the launch of Parents’ Month in Kingston on November 3, under the theme, Parent the Right Way – Take Responsibility Today, Mr Holness said, “We must shed the old traditional cultural practices that have held us down, if we are going to be a modern nation. We must take the steps necessary to bring our inner cities, our garrisons, our depressed communities – and it is not just those communities, but the entire Jamaica – into a new way of thinking about organising our society."
He noted that draft legislation had been done and the effect was that each woman names a father for each birth child, as the current situation where a significant number of children did not have their father’s name on their birth certificates was wrong.
He said that the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) while supporting the health of pregnant women and young children, is being reviewed towards having more conditionalities for the cash transfers.
Mr Holness also lauded the launch of Parents Place, a strategy of the Ministry of Education’s Citizenship Education Programme that provides accessible locations for individuals to get resources to help them be better at parenting. The seven Parents’ Place facilities now open, are run through civic and community based organisations. The centres will have Internet access, a library, a directory of parent services, a safe toddler area for reading aloud and storytelling, and meeting facilities. Some locations will also provide income generating support.
In making his presentation, Representative of UNICEF in Jamaica, Robert Fuderich, said that an updated Directory of Children’s Services had been completed. A total of seven thousand directories will be distributed to schools, early childhood education centres, hospitals and health centres. There will also be an online reference guide for health care workers. The directory is enhanced by an online map showing populations and services in relation to the island’s natural topography.
The launch of November Parents’ Month was held by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with UNICEF and the Coalition for Better Parenting at the YMCA in Kingston. Jamaica recognised the first Parents’ Month in 1991.