Friday 7 August, 2020

PM reiterates need for greater parental supervision after Norwood fire

Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, while expressing deep sadness over the death of two young boys in a fire at their St James home last Friday, has reiterated the need for greater parental supervision and protection of children from catastrophic events which can be prevented.

Eight-year-old Javinchie Palmer and one-year-old Tyler McLeod, both of Bond Street in Norwood, St James, tragically died in the fire night that razed their home. Their one-year-old sister also suffered burns and has since been hospitalised.

Their mother, who had left her two sons and two daughters on their own at the time of the incident, remains in police custody.

In a news release on Sunday, the prime minister urged parents to meet their obligation to ensuring the safety and protection of their children, noting that many of these fires are the result of negligence and a lack of attention to fire hazards.

“Exposed flames are a danger to children and their use should be discontinued with immediacy. Fire hazards such as candles, kerosene lamps, exposed electrical wiring; flammable items, accelerants and all other such hazards should be removed in all instances, and kept out of the reach of children where necessary,” Holness said.

The prime minister is also encouraging parents not to leave their children unattended at any time or in the care of another minor.

“Supervision is important to prevent these disasters; we must ensure that the safety of our children is always our foremost concern," he said.

Holness has been very vocal about the issue of open flame fires as an imminent danger to children. Just last week while handing over the keys to a newly rehabilitated home which was destroyed by fire which claimed the life of young Neymar Facey and left 15 members of a family homeless, the prime minister stressed that the use of open flame fires, such as the use of kerosene lamps and candles in homes, should be discontinued.

“In the last few years I have embarked on a solar light distribution programme intended to replace the use of open flames as a source of lighting in poorer households. The lights are charged by sunlight in the daytime and last up to 8 hours when fully charged,” he said.

He stressed that parents should not neglect their duty to keep their children out of harm’s way. 

“Yours is the responsibility of protecting the precious lives of these children who are the future of our country. Stop leaving your children carelessly to die tragic deaths. Be vigilant in protecting your children from harm,” urged Holness.

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