Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Delroy Chuck, has commended the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) on their enforcement of the relevant legislative enactments and provisions, to safeguard the welfare of the nation’s children.
Speaking at the OCA’s fifth anniversary staff and donor appreciation luncheon at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, recently, Mr. Chuck noted that Jamaica is “moving in the right direction,” by enacting adequate constitutional and legislative provisions and protocols, to protect the nation’s children.
These, he pointed out, include: the Child Care and Protection Act, and Child Pornography Prevention Act; and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Jamaica is a signatory. The Speaker emphasised that strong and effective protection of children’s rights should be, and is a high priority for the nation.
“There is no better place to start than with our children. They will be the ones who will ensure that Jamaica continues on its present path to improve the quality of our lives. Without that protection given to our children, not only will many of them be abused, but from that abuse, they too will become mal-adjusted and may well become significant problems to our society,” he said.
Mr. Chuck noted that while there are sufficient laws and guidelines to protect the children, not enough is being done to demonstrate and send the message that the society can “make it better” for them. He argued that having the legal and regulatory framework was not sufficient enough, and stressed that “it is we, the people, who must do better and ensure that Jamaica can become a better place.”
Against this background, Mr. Chuck commended the OCA on the “excellent work” they have been doing in enforcing the legislative enactments to safeguard the welfare of the nation’s children. He pointed out that the achievements, in this regard, are detailed in the organisation’s five-year review, and report for 2009/10, which have been tabled in Parliament. The OCA reports to Parliament through the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“The Office of the Children’s Advocate, to its credit, is one of the few agencies that put an annual report to Parliament every year. This five-year review is an excellent documentation of the work of the Children’s Advocate. Jamaica can only be a better place if all the agencies of government start to act, not 100 per cent, but 150 per cent. And, there is no doubt that the OCA is setting the path of how commissions of parliament should operate. I have no doubt that if other commissions operate as diligently, that better can be done,” the Speaker said.
In this regard, Mr. Chuck urged that the contents of both reports be given greater visibility, and suggested that they should be posted on the OCA’s or Parliament’s website, “so that more Jamaicans can be made aware of the work that the OCA is doing.”
He encouraged the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which assisted with production of the publications, to fund wider dissemination of both documents across the island.
CONTACT: DOUGLAS McINTOSH