Weak Family Structure

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Acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

Acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has expressed concern about the ???poor family structure??? in Barbados, observing that the families of today are much weaker than they were 40 years ago.

Addressing a consultation on Juvenile Justice Systems in the Caribbean, Mr. Stuart told participants that relationships between children and their parents were weak as children were being left to themselves, while parents tried to make ends meet.

He attributed this to the notion that people do not want their children to grow up in the same way that they did. ???The truth is your children cannot pass through what you [have] passed through because that period of time has long passed,??? said Mr. Stuart.

However, he pointed out the contradiction of this idea by saying that parents have praised the conditions under which they grew up, for creating the people that they have become. ???Now if we don???t want our children to pass through what we [have] passed through, what???s it to say about ourselves? Are we really ashamed of what we are that we are trying to point our children in another direction???? added the substantive Barbadian Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs.

He believed that children should be taught that life is not easy. He made it clear that parents should show them that they have to make certain sacrifices and a level of commitment in order to achieve more.

However, the Acting Prime Minister believed that since families were not functioning as they should, schools have a vital role to play in keeping children in check, since they are the stronger institutions where children spend most of their time.

He pointed to the fact, that schools have certain rules, guidelines and timelines to which students are required to adhere. ???The school, therefore, has to assume fuller responsibility for what is happening to our young people in these societies,??? he added. ???When they go home, they go home to have dinner and to sleep. They scarcely have time for interaction with their parents.???

The consultation for Caribbean judicial officials was hosted by the United Nations Children???s Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to discuss the justice systems in the Caribbean as it relates to children.

It was held at the UNICEF Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, UN House, Marine Gardens Christ Church. (NP)

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