Holness pleads for respect and due regard for children's rights
Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness is pleading for the well-being of Jamaica's children to be given due respect and regard within the society.
He was addressing the launch of Workers’ Week and Labour Day under the theme ‘Child Safety… It’s You, It’s Me, It’s All Ah We’, and was adamant that children require special safeguards and care, including legal protection.
There are still 340 children missing since January 1 last year. Five children were found murdered last year, and so far two girls, Shante Skyers, eight, and Trisha Morris, 11, have been killed this year.
Preliminary investigations suggest that they were both sexually molested.
Holness was not pleased with the statistics, and noted that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
He said safeguarding the future of the nation’s children is a critical component of the country’s national development.
“After all, the most profound definition of sustainable development is the creation of mechanisms today that will benefit our children tomorrow. It is time for transformative action within Jamaica after 56 years of Independence,” said Holness.
He added that the actions of adults that endanger children by rendering them unsafe and insecure, especially on the roadways, must cease.
“As prime minister, I have on many occasions lamented the mayhem (that has been) constantly wreaked on our children, whether as victims of child abuse in all its ugly forms, or as a consequence to wanton disregard for road safety by road users,” Holness said.
Statistics show that 120 children have died on the roads over the past five years. A significant number have suffered life-changing injuries as a result of over 70,000 traffic mishaps within metres of school zones.
In that regard, the prime minister underscored that work on Labour Day must take into consideration the many elements of child safety and security, including psycho-social security.
“I want this Labour Day to encourage communities, villages to come out and look at those green spaces, those open spaces, (and) see how they can be de-bushed”, Holness said.
The National Labour Day projects will focus on improving infrastructure for children.