??Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley.

Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley, has lamented that "the lights" of some of this nation’s children are not being allowed to shine as they should because of the scourge of child abuse and neglect.

Mr. Lashley made the comments last evening while giving brief remarks at the start of a dramatic presentation – Shattered in a Perfect World – at the Plantation Theatre, for the Child Care Board’s partners and benefactors.

He said child abuse could impact negatively on the health and psychological wellbeing of children, as well as destabilise families and the educational choices of children.

He explained that the play would expose the audience to the critically important warning signs of abuse and would provide insight into the necessary steps that should be taken to intervene in any suspected cases. "We will be forced to become aware of the ravaging effects of the phenomenon of child abuse and the implications it can have for the spread of HIV and AIDS.

"This presentation is intended to be a painful reminder to all that child abuse undermines and ignores a child’s basic needs of self-worth, safety and unconditional love. Therefore, you should look for the signs, be empathetic, take the time to listen and understand what the child is going through," the Minister urged.

Mr. Lashley also encouraged his listeners to join the fight against child abuse. "Spread the word that child abuse and neglect can have shattering effects, even in a perfect world, and should, therefore, be eliminated," he stated.

The presentation was sponsored by the Child Care Board, in association with the National HIV/AIDS Commission. It was directed by Avelyn Broomes-Christie and the cast members were from Touched Ministries.


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