This week our editorial was stimulated by the writing of a concerned citizen on Child Safety in Carnival and other Social Settings as Grenada and the rest of the world continue to adjust to what is the new normal amidst the ongoing COVID-19 global health pandemic. This comes with the return of social events and activities, including the build-up to Spice Mas 2022. A note to us states that this week the Child Protection Authority (CPA) is showing concern over the growing trend of minors attending social events that cater to adults and are not age-appropriate for children.
The Authority must have seen reports of children engaging in illegal activities, such as underage drinking, smoking and sexually explicit situations at events planned for adults. We are asking why does that seem to be the new accepted norm? Based on the number of reports on deviant behavior by young people this newspaper has carried in the past, one reader is saying that it is not clear where the CPA is coming from at this time.
We are aware that the CPA is saying that it is constantly working to ensure the safety of the nation’s children, including but not limited to ensuring that they participate in and witness activities and events that are age appropriate. However, there are people who are wondering about the methods used by the CPA to harness the situation since the problem continues. Doesn’t the list of reports from the police of runaway children especially girls seem to be growing at a rapid pace? Why are they running away and where to?
It is said that parents and guardians face a dilemma when it comes to finding supervisory arrangements for their children while they attend social activities that are growing in frequency; but this begs the question whose responsibility it still is to make sure children are properly supervised at all times?
It is no secret that even the police have seen children attending events that are not age appropriate and continue to cast a blind eye. We are deeply troubled about the supervision of our young people. This brings to mind a recent incident where even a police officer faced the court for engaging in some kind of illegal act with an under aged child.
In the past parents were made by law to take up their responsibility of supervising their children since they would be the ones to be arrested and dragged to court. When has that changed?
With the Carnival season coming closer with its usual lewd behaviour, there is talk that the CPA is seeking the cooperation of stakeholders, including the Royal Grenada Police Force, the Spicemas Corporation, political parties, event promotors and security officers in ensuring caution, and that child protection and safety are the watchwords during these highly charged social times. While that may be good, shouldn’t the situation be monitored to examine where we are going wrong as adults in raising and protecting our children? Parents must be made to take their responsibility seriously.
It raised eyebrows when a schoolboy in secondary uniform was seen in Saint George’s publicly fighting with a policeman even while he was outnumbered by the men in uniform. This would have been serious business in the days when principals wanted the name of their schools to be respected. It’s anybody’s guess how a former principal of the Grenada Boys Secondary School, Mr Victor Ashby, would have dealt with that situation. He seemed to have had the recipe for bringing up our boys well in and out of school and strange enough, while he was a very strict principal, he is still loved by the boys he nurtured. Unfortunately his resignation seems to have closed the chapter on that caliber of teachers and principals who went the extra mile to supervise students even outside of school.
Sadly, videos of children with deviant behavior being circulated on social media are viewed by some as entertainment. This newspaper has come to that conclusion based on the absence of complaints otherwise, condemning such behavior. There was a time when they would have simply been expelled from school, which left them to struggle to continue with their education in a formal setting. That situation landed most of them in the college at Richmond Hill as they tried to cope with a system that has failed them big time.
The question here is just who has the answer to fix the situation? The Catholic Bishop Clyde Harvey in commenting on the prevalent deviant behavior by young people that he is witnessing here in Grenada made the suggestion that they should be made to be in group under the watchful eyes of the police.
We are aware that his church and a few others are doing what they can to help to shape the minds of the youth in a positive way and this is commendable.
The attention now seems to be strongly on young people for the upcoming general election and some of them may end up as part of the next government. Let’s continue to pray for them.