Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo

Do not play with toy guns and video games which promote violence!

That was the strong message from Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, as she addressed students of the Workman’s Primary School today and urged them to “let the violence go”.

Dr. Byer Suckoo told the children that they should not even watch violence on television because it could become part of their lifestyles. “When you watch it on television, it leaves an impression and then it becomes the way you think, and it becomes easier for you to perform the act,” she said.

The “Let the Violence Go” campaign was coordinated by the National Organisation of Women in an attempt to discourage children from playing with toys which support violence.

During the morning assembly at the 71 primary schools across Barbados, violence was denounced and at 9:00 a.m. 25 purple balloons were released into the air as a symbol of the children ‘letting go violence’.

While speaking to the media afterwards, Dr. Byer Suckoo said the campaign was timely since research had shown that when young children were exposed to violence and weapons they could have an undesirable effect on how they (the children) dealt with conflict and negative situations. “So, we need to use every opportunity available to positively influence our children,” she stressed.

Barbados joined the international community to observe the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25 and the 16-days of activism against gender-based violence. The Minister said there was a very good response from all sectors of the society to the activities.  

She stressed that although the 16 days were to heighten the awareness, the effort was a year-long one. “We are hoping that having heightened the awareness, we would get more people involved and the Bureau of Gender Affairs will continue its programming… A lot of our human rights legislation has to be addressed and that is in the pipeline,” the Minister said.

The 16-day campaign will climax with an open air service in Jubilee Gardens this Sunday, December 7, beginning at 3:30 p.m. and a town hall meeting on Monday, December 8, at Deacons Community Centre, starting at 7:30 p.m. The theme is “Removing the Mask: Battered Women” and presenters will include attorney-at-law, Andrew Pilgrim; a psychologist and two victims. 

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