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It takes a nation to kill a child

Published: 
Wednesday, December 4, 2013

As I write this, the Friday-night news is showing Verna St Rose-Greaves in a paroxysm of grief and wailing, berating parliamentarians, and the Prime Minister, in and outside the Parliament for the non-implementation and proclamation of the Children’s Authority legislation. Apparently many people endorse this sentiment and performance.

 

 The trigger was ostensibly the murder of a six-year-old girl. Like every other parent who has been to the Mt Hope paediatric hospital, I have been forced to consider at length the fragility of a precious little life, faced with the casual apathy to that life among those charged with protecting it.  But unlike the people now barking at the government to “do something,” I have no delusions about where I live.

 

 Before the “do something” matter, though, it’s jaw-dropping that, thanks to the media, this issue is being thrown on the government. This is by far the clearest effect of the media’s posture to the PP government—lumping the personal, the puerile indiscriminately along with the necessary and newsworthy. The result? Everything is the government’s fault in the public mind. (Unless it’s a PNM government.)

 

But back to the vague, angry call for government to “do something.” Do what? Weep? The Children’s Authority Bill, if proclaimed, would have stopped what, exactly? A mother of small children living with a male companion, not her children’s father, in a community (Maloney) known for violence and laissez-faire parenting, in a country suffering an epidemic of child abuse?

 

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