Bearing in mind that, as indicated in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth – Convention on the Rights of the Child
All those years ago the then Attorney General Maurice King opined there were no gangs in Barbados. Sensible Barbadians at the time who had their ears to the ground were aware of lawless individuals who had organized themselves across the island. In 2015 we have bona fide gangs who threaten to destabilize Barbados. Although the obvious is known to the Barbadians and authorities alike, we dither with no obvious strategy how to retrieve our little island from the brink of chaos.
In June of this year Barbadians were alerted to the case of the now departed six year old Jahan King who died under suspicious circumstances. The child was reported to have been inflicted with broken fingers, injury to the eye, a burst mouth and many bruises about the body. After several weeks it is still painful to write about this tragedy.
The BU household extends our heartfelt sympathy to the family of Jahan King.
The story of Jahan King was highlighted on social media (note pictures are gruesome) – the pictures of his bruised little body enough to make a grown man cry. The traditional media followed when a story began to emerge. Thank God for Social media!
It is obvious based on reports this is a case the Child Care Board (CCB) bungled. Chairman of the CCB Ken Knight offered the excuse his agency lacked the resources to better respond to the child abuse problem in Barbados. It seems Barbados is a country aspiring to reach first world status but lack the know how to protect the mentally ill and our abused children to name two of our failings. Coincidentally, a few days after Jahan’s death the CCB in its collective wisdom removed thirteen children from abused home. If there is a silver lining to the story of Jahan’s death to be found, it served to kick the collective asses of the CCB to mobilize against families who were abusing children.
BU is painfully aware what has played out since June represents the tip of the iceberg. We have a huge problem of child abuse in Barbados. The admission by Chairman Knight that the CCB lacks the resources to protect children should make Barbadians suffer outrage. Instead, we prefer to ignore the problem because denial means it does not exist.
If we intend to build a society first and foremost, to borrow a political slogan, we have to give meaning to it. It is unconscionable and unforgivable to know we have helpless children who have to suffer abuse at the hands of adults in a so called civilized and educated society. Yet we observe civil servants and politicians jet setting across the globe to attend meaningless meetings when tax dollars could be better allocated to the CCB to improve the wellbeing of our children.
The BU household feels obligated to issue a plea to our leaders in the private and public sector to do more to shine a light on child abuse in Barbados. If we cannot protect our children, why bother!