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Minister in wake of deaths of children: Boost for parenting plans
Gender, Youth and Child Development Minister Clifton De Coteau says his ministry intends to add to its community-focused parenting programmes as a means of curbing the high incidents of deaths among children across the country. He was speaking at a graduation ceremony for Standard Five pupils of the New Grant Government School at the Hindustan Community Centre, Princes Town, yesterday.
“We have had a lot of critical incidents with those children in recent times,” said De Coteau. “Again, what it comes to is that we need to be more vigilant. We cannot believe children know what they are doing.” De Coteau said there was a need for public sensitisation on proper parenting. “We need to pump some more money in the PR department to sensitise the public on this. We also need education on sex and teenage sexuality,” he added.
De Coteau called on parents to take their jobs more seriously and lashed out at those who blamed the Government for their children’s delinquency. He added: “Parents, discipline begins at home. You are the first role model your child has because when something happens, the first thing you say is, ‘the government not doing this and that,’ but are you looking in your children’s books and bags?”
De Coteau named several programmes that went into communities to train parents on how to take care of their children properly. “We currently have the Male Masculinity Programme, Women in Harmony and our parenting programmes that go into communities to help parents,” he noted. He urged parents to be patient with their children, telling them not to condemn them as everyone made mistakes.
WPC: Be leaders, not followers
Also speaking at the ceremony was WPC Melissa Phillip of the Princes Town police who is assigned to the school. She warned the students to be wary of peer pressure at the secondary school level, encouraging them to be leaders and not followers. Phillip said: “There will be others who will encourage you to smoke, drink alcohol and have sex. “You have to be a leader and not a follower because as we see too often now the consequence of bad choices is death.”
Sixteen students graduated from the school which has been housed in the community centre since last year as the school building is being repaired.