Dr. The Hon Esther Byer Suckoo??

Government’s much anticipated Parenting Programme will be launched within a few days.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who said the training-of-trainers programme would begin in May and then those persons would go into the community to instruct parents.

Dr. Byer Suckoo explained that the programme was designed to assist parents with their challenges and familiarise them with their roles in the development of their children. "We all know the concerns of our children and we all agree that our parents need assistance. Our children did not just get there on their own, they did not just become challenged. It happened because the generation before them and may be the generation before that [one] may have omitted to do something that should have been done," she stated.

Her comments were made today at a press conference at the Child Care Board (CCB) to discuss child-related issues and launch plans for this year’s Child Month activities.

She noted that a number of organisations and individuals had expressed a desire to assist with the parenting programme, adding that she was heartened by the response.??

The Minister further disclosed that government was looking at laws which would affect children. "Of particular interest is the legislation that affects child trafficking… ????Barbados is a tourist destination and people can just come into this country with a child on their arms and present themselves at the Immigration Department and have their documents stamped…

"No red flags are raised and that child may be one who was trafficked. [Persons] may meet with other dealers and then [the child] is carried out of Barbados, without the necessary checks and balances… So, it is not only our children in Barbados that we have to be concerned about, but we have to be certain that our country does not become a hub for dealing in the trafficking of children," she warned.

Dr. Byer Suckoo noted that there were challenges relating to day care facilities, but the Board was looking at its options to provide more nurseries, especially since it had been mandated to look into the establishment of at least two new centres this year.

She pointed out that the ground work was now being done and that the CCB was working with the private sector to provide centres.

The Minister was adamant, however, that even though such facilities were necessary, Government would not compromise its standards. "As desperate as we might be to provide day care centres for our children, we are not lowering our standards. There are those folks who believe that because we need to have a day care centre for 20 children that they can just erect anything, without the necessary checks and balances in place and we are not going to tolerate that.

"As desperate as the need, as long as the waiting list is for day care, we are not going to lower our standards. Those guidelines would have to be followed regardless of who is providing it – a small or big corporation – we will continue to follow the guidelines," she argued.

There were 3,048 names on last year’s waiting list for government day nurseries and 316 available spaces.

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