I thank my Maker and Master for His direction and guidance along this journey.
As I stand in this House today, I can truly say the words of the Psalmist, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.”
There are persons, Mr. Speaker, without whom my journey would have been impossible. I would like to thank:
- My husband Errald for his love and support.
- Marva, my housekeeper, for her support and dedication.
- My Councillors (Audrey Smith-Facey, Eugene Kelly and Karl Blake)
- The people of South West St Andrew
- The Members of the Cabinet
- The Cabinet Secretary in the Cabinet Office
- The Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister
- The leadership, members and supporters of the People’s national Party
- The Members of my personal support staff
- All government workers and members of the Public Sector
- All the people of Jamaica Mr. Speaker,
I am honoured to have the opportunity to once again outline the Government’s strategy for the management of the affairs of our nation.
Before doing so, however, there are three current issues that I wish to address.
- First, the care and protection of our children
- Second, the fire at the Riverton City Disposal Site, and
- Third, our health sector
Protecting our Children
The abuse of our nation’s children weighs heavily on my heart and, I know, on the heart of every well-thinking Jamaican.
This is an ugly subject, a shameful matter – it is unacceptable and unworthy of us as a nation.
The Leader of the Opposition made reference to this matter, last Thursday. I am certain our views and convictions are quite similar.
Mr. Speaker, we must stand against the horrific violence being waged against our children, some not yet 1 year old.
The worst forms of violence are being perpetrated against our children–sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Our children are being raped, murdered, stabbed, scarred and shamed!
Research has shown that one girl in every 5, 15-19 years old and sexually active, has reported being forced to have sex.
Research by the Office of the Children’s Registry indicates that only 1 in 10 adult Jamaicans, despite knowing, comes forward with information to the Police about cases of abuse against children, including sexual abuse.
This is unacceptable! We cannot remain silent!
Cases of incest and sexual abuse in the family setting are also very unsettling. It is a crime. It is evil. It must be condemned.
Big men and women, fathers and mothers, stepfathers, uncles and cousins, who prey on children, must leave our little children alone!
Mr. Speaker, these statistics reveal a disturbing and chronic pattern of deviant behaviour and cruelty.
Too many of our children are not being allowed to live their childhood years in peace.
We must speak with one voice: It is wrong! It must stop!
Let us begin by having an honest conversation about this cancer in our nation!
We must inform and mobilise every citizen to recognize, report and reject the violation of our children.
- We cannot afford to be weak or ambivalent in our response.
- We must step up.
- We must get involved.
- We must bring this hidden horror into the light of day.
Let our collective voice be heard loud and clear, in every nook and cranny of this country! no more indifference, no more silence!!!! READ MORE