Speech

Madam Speaker,

Today I will speak to three topics, namely, the tragic incidents involving some of our students, an update on the Missing Children’s report and an update on a partnership with Microsoft. Madam Speaker, I must note that unfortunately, we continue to mourn the atrocities meted out to our children. This week our hearts ache for two (2) more of our children:

They are Christina and Mishane McFarlane.

Unfortunately, on Sunday, November 22, we were met with the sad news of the murder of Christina and Mishane McFarlane, along with their grandmother. They were shot by gunmen at their house in Tryall Heights, St. Catherine. Six year-old Mishane and 10 year-old Christina, were students at Spanish Town Primary.

We recall that last week Mikele Allen, 6 years-old from St D’Acre, St Ann was mauled by dogs while on his way from a nearby shop. Fortunately, he is reportedly doing much better after extensive surgery at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx in New York. We must extend our heartfelt gratitude to the team of doctors headed by Dr. Evan Garfein, chief of plastic surgery, who responded so generously with their time and skills to this urgent case.

There was also the very sad case, Madame Speaker of another six year old, Oshane Banton of Lionel Town, Clarendon, whose body was found in a sewage tank in the community after being reported missing.

While not specific to these cases, there are too many incidents in which our children die or are seriously injured, and where parental or adult supervision was absent.

Our National Parent Support Commission has an important role to play in assisting parents to develop the skills they need to raise and protect their children. They are playing a tremendous role in this regard. Yet too many parents are not availing themselves of the counselling and other services that are available to help them.

Madame Speaker, parental supervision or adult supervision of our children is the most basic parenting technique that involves looking after, or monitoring a child’s activities.

Young children (in the 0 – 8 years range) are generally incapable of looking after themselves or making informed decisions for their own well-being. For this reason, they require supervision. They require looking after. Young children require adults to know their where-abouts. Young children require the physical presence of an adult.

Madame Speaker, children require adult supervision to keep them from hurting themselves or others. Children require adult supervision to keep them away from dangerous objects and situations. In fact, very small children require continual supervision and care, meaning they must be in the presence of an adult all the time, not some of the time, but all the time.

Madame Speaker, lack of adult supervision of our children constitutes neglect. And I dare say some parents are not aware of the need to supervise children.

I implore parents or guardians not to neglect this very basic parenting responsibility: supervision of your children.

At the NPSC, we have thirty-six (36) helplines which were launched in April 2020 in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Victoria Mutual Foundation and Fight for Peace.

The helplines are being manned by competent persons who are trained in psychosocial first aid. They assist in guiding persons to where and how they may get additional help and what they can do as individuals.

Parents and guardians, I implore you, avail yourselves of this assistance.

The parish lines are listed below.

PARISH DIGICEL FLOW
Westmoreland 876-560-9314 876-788-5568
Hanover 876-560-9630 876-788-5371
St. James 876-560-9395

876-560-9336

876-788-5214

876-788-5276

Trelawny 876-560-9736 876-788-5382
St. Ann 876-560-9399

876-560-9634

876-788-5468

876-788-5606

St. Mary 876-560-9604 876-788-5196
Portland 876-560-9215 876-788-5323
St. Thomas 876-560-9269 876-788-5409
St. Andrew 876-560-9425 876-788-5417
Kingston 876-560-9656

876-560-9758

876-788-5460

876-788-5329

St. Catherine 876-560-9289

876-560-9564

876-788-5378
Clarendon 876-560-9209

876-560-9503

876-788-5201
Manchester 876-560-9176 876-788-5427
St. Elizabeth 876-560-9302 876-788-5172

 

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