Chief Executive Officer of the Child Development Agency (CDA) Rosalee Gage-Grey has issued a strong appeal to persons to stop the abuse and violence against the nation’s children, declaring, “Enough is enough!”
She was speaking at the Agency’s fourth and final meeting the Circle of Care Family and Community Series for 2014/2015, at the St. Gabriel’s Anglican Church in May Pen, Clarendon, last Thursday (April 16). The sessions were held under the theme, ‘It takes a Village to raise a child. Play Your Part’.
The CEO also used the occasion to observe a moment of silence for the three teenage boys and one adult, who were brutally killed by gunmen in the parish the day before.
“The Agency condemns such actions being meted out against children. We cannot stand to see our children being constantly brutalised. Today is a call for action. It is a day for us to redouble our efforts to protect our children from these vicious monsters who are killing and abusing our children,” she said.
In her remarks, she also reassured parents and children that the Agency through the various programmes remains committed to providing the necessary support and intervention needed to assist families and children.
Commending the CDA on its Circle of Care Family Series, Mayor of Clarendon, Scean Barnswell in his remarks urged parents to be more involved in their children’s lives, pointing to the high level of crime and violence that is robbing the nation’s children of their future.
“We need to take back our children. We need to go back to when the village used to raise the child. We need divine intervention, because our children are constantly being abused and killed by persons who are supposed to be protecting them. We need to work together to protect our children, because the CDA, OCR and the police cannot do it alone. We all need to play our part,” the Mayor said.
Meanwhile, Stanhope Porteous who brought greetings on behalf of the Custos of Clarendon, the Hon. William Bill Shagoury, congratulated the Agency on its 10th anniversary, and importantly its work.
“It is quite evident that the CDA has been active on the ground, but has an uphill task, based on what we are seeing, hearing and reading in the media. Our children continue to remain victims of the most vicious crimes, which calls for concern and greater intervention,” Mr. Porteous said.
He however urged the Agency to continue to target the parents at the community level, because many lacked proper parenting skills, and as a result, the children suffered in such instances.
Representing Member of Parliament for Clarendon, Mike Henry, Councillor Dei-Rasi Freckleton in his remarks also commended the Agency for its work, and for also staging such an important event in the parish.
“It is amazing what the CDA is doing here today, because Clarendon needs this kind of intervention. Our children, parents and every member of the Clarendon community need this kind of support. We also understand that in order for us to have a better Jamaica, we need to start from the root (our children). There need to be a joint approach, if we are to truly safeguard our children, because no one group can do it alone,” Mr. Davis said.
Highlighting the Youth For Change Programme, currently active in the parish, he said that its aim was to partner with parents, children, government and non-government agencies, as well as community based organization to positively effect change for a better Jamaica.
Stressing the importance of proper parenting, Consultant Psychologist, Dr. Pearnel Bell in her remarks, said that parents ought to demonstrate love to their children, and also communicate with them to know what is happening in their lives.
“Put good parenting skills into practice from early. Help your child to understand right from wrong. Encourage them, so that they can feel good about themselves. Teach your children to look out for each other, and we will have a better Jamaica,” she said.
Meanwhile, Pastor Ainsley Davis from the Department of Correctional Services, in his presentation reiterated that “it takes a village to raise a child, which involves a spirit of togetherness.”
“It is never the job of any one person, or family, especially when we are dealing with children who are currently in, and who have been released from State care back in the society. So we have to come together as a nation for the betterment of our children on the matter of child protection,” Pastor Davis said.
Dr. Omri Davis, from the Seventh Day Adventist Circuit of Churches, in his presentation cited the role of the church in helping to build stronger families and safer communities for children.
“We need to take back our communities, because many of our children are not allowed to enjoy their childhood as a result of abuse and violence. We want to see a changed society, where our children can learn and play. We want to see a more caring society where our children are being protected, because they are the leaders of tomorrow,” he said.
The session was cheered by Youth Mayor of Clarendon, Xaundre Mohansingh and founder of Read up Jamaica, Jelani Williams, both from Glenmuir High School in the parish.
Chairman of the CDA’s 10th Anniversary Committee, Ms. Michelle McIntosh welcomed the audience, and Mr. Levi Rodney of the Victim Services Division gave the opening prayer.
Giving the closing remarks, Team Leader for Clarendon, Mrs. Francine Rhoomes said that she was pleased to see the number of persons who turned out for the session, adding that “the Agency will continue to play its part to help to build stronger communities, and by extension, a nation fit for children”.
The session was capped off with performances from JCDC gold and bronze medalist Glenmuir Prep student, Yonique Wright. Other highlights included the playing of the 10th Anniversary Anthem and Jingle.
Contact: CDA PR Unit