??Stephen Lashley, Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth greets students from The Coleridge and Parry Secondary School, after delivering the feature address at the Child Care Board’s Youth Forum today at Solidarity House, St. Michael. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

A Government Minister has lamented that "there is too much sexuality and promotion of homosexuality" on some of our television channels.

While addressing the Child Care Board’s Youth Forum today at Solidarity House, Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley, expressed the view that more must be done to prevent negative images from reaching families in their homes.

Mr. Lashley told the gathering, which included close to 100 secondary school children, their guidance counsellors and staff of the Board: "If we are serious about combating teenage pregnancy we have to initiate a national debate about what we are showing our teens on television and the movies we are taking home from the video shops for them to watch. More parental guidance and control are needed."

our culture and he called on the children to take a stand by refusing to watch them.

He told the young people that "there is absolutely nothing wrong in saying ???no’ to homosexuality and promiscuity" and urged them not to be afraid to take a firm stand when such issues confronted them.

Acknowledging that the decision to engage in early sexual activity could be difficult, especially when one heard so many differing opinions on the matter, he suggested that young people should be aware of the facts, reasons and consequences of their actions. He reminded them that children under the age of 16 could not consent to sexual intercourse.

Mr. Lashley said teenage parents experienced a different quality of life than they did before pregnancy. "They experience emotional stress, changes in educational opportunities, low employment potential, limitations in social life, pregnancy complications, financial strain and sometimes loss of parental support. Another significant fact to be considered is that abstinence is the only way to avoid the problems and risks that accompany sex," he stated.

He encouraged the young people to think positively about what they wanted, achieve their goals, set high standards and make informed choices after they had studied the facts, and to consider other people’s feelings and reactions and the consequences of their choices. "If you feel, think and know that you have accomplished these things, then, you will make the right choice to ensure that your teenage life is a happy and productive one.

"You can live the successful life; you can pursue your goals and dreams and look forward to the future with enthusiasm and optimism. Life for you can be an adventure, one that allows you to reach your full potential, which is the right of every child by delaying teenage pregnancy," Minister Lashley maintained.

He pledged his Ministry’s support in the fight to control the incidence of teenage pregnancy and further promised that government would continue to work with all the relevant partners to ensure resources were made available to assist in the area.

Delivering an address on behalf of the Chairman of the CCB, Maureen Graham, the Director, Joan Crawford, described the forum as very timely and relevant.

According to Ms. Crawford, teenage pregnancy "is a very sensitive subject and speaks to a matter which some of us may find uncomfortable to discuss because of the feelings associated with the subject matter and sometimes the mixed messages that are sent by adults and our peers".

She remarked that the youth seminar would provide a safe environment where the students could talk about matters in a non judgemental context and receive answers from responsible adults and other young people on challenging issues. (SA/BGIS)


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