Minister of People Empowerment an Elder Affairs, Cynthia Forde, speaking at today’s press conference to launch Child Month 2019. Looking on are Chairman of the Child Month Planning Committee, Kevon Henry; Chairman of the Child Care Board, Catherine Jordan; Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs. Neil Rowe and Director of the Child Care Board, Joan Crawford. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Minister with responsibility for the Child Care Board, Cynthia Forde, has appealed to Barbadians to embrace the children within their communities, and do all in their power to ensure their protection.

Speaking at a press conference to launch activities for Child Month 2019, Minister Forde suggested: “If each person takes one child under their wings, we would turn Barbados away from the crime and the violence and whatever else is impacting our society.”

Stating that she continued to be disturbed by reports of child molestation and teenage pregnancies, she appealed to parents, guardians, caregivers and others in the communities to give information to the police.

“There is no community that is not a part of the nonsense that has been going on.  And the molesters are not just the ordinary men in the village, but we have police officers taking advantage, and according to what we know, there are teachers, priests, counsellors and caregivers who are taking advantage of young children…all people who know better, and because they have not been caught, they get away with it.”

She urged the Child Care Board to report these cases as soon as they were received, regardless of the status of the perpetrator.  “The police must be properly informed; they must do their work and so must the courts because our children must have the dignity of living and enjoying life with nobody touching them, nor penetrating them nor ill-treating them in any way,” Ms. Forde stated.

She reminded persons that they could report child abuse anonymously, and urged them not to run away from this responsibility.

Minister Forde also urged those who grew up in impoverished communities but had now become leaders in society to give back to those communities.  “It is sad that many of them don’t go back to the communities they left behind.  They must return and give back because they are the role models our young people can look up to.”

Child Month has as its theme Celebrate The Champion In You, and runs from May 1 to 31.

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