As Trinidad and Tobago grapples with a spike in murders and criminality, there is a cancer affecting the lives of the nation’s children.
On the heels of the report of abuse, rape and torture at some children’s homes and care centres, which should be safe havens for children, came word yesterday of the deaths of two children.
Twelve-year-old Levi Andrews’ life was brutally snuffed out in what police believe is a domestic-related tragedy in which his mother was also killed, while two-year-old Kymani Francis’ body was found in the Guapo River almost 24 hours after he went missing on Monday.
Little Kymani left the yard of his home and wandered off in Techier Village, Point Fortin, dressed only in a pamper. Imagine the pain he felt, lost and alone as he wandered, hoping his mother would find him.
This child’s death, like so many others, could have been prevented. Kymani was at home with his mother. One would think he was in a ‘safe place’ but he was gone for a lengthy time from reports.
Adults’ duty is to ensure they offer care and protection to children. Parents need to understand that when they choose to bring a child into the world it is a huge responsibility. Nothing is more important than focusing on that child or children. At two years, Kymani, like many his age, was curious. But children are swift and do things at a speed adults just can’t fathom, which is why it is so imperative parents and caretakers remain constantly vigilant around them.
We’ve also often heard the phrase it takes a village to raise a child, yet no one in this village was around to save this child. One person tried by calling the police but was that the best option.
Something is terribly wrong here. This must be a wake-up call to all parents, caregivers and communities — they must be children’s watchdogs, their eyes, ears, source of love and protection.
No one knows what little Kymani and Levi must have endured before their deaths. But what we should tell ourselves as a country, is that this must not happen to another child.
Our children should be our collective responsibility. We must unite to protect them. We cannot allow ourselves to become complacent or unwilling to be our brothers and sisters’ keepers. We need to get on board to save the soul of this country.
T&T is crying out for good people to stand up and take a stance to help free society from the ravages of the criminal element and from the selfishness and cold-heartedness that has gripped this country. We need to heal our land and the only way to do this is by looking at ourselves and determining what we want for T&T. The politicians won’t do it for the society.
Citizens need to understand this is about preserving lives, the lives of our children and our families. If Trinidad and Tobago ever needed to come together as one, it is now. Our children are counting on the adults to come good by them. If the adult population fails, the next generation will be doomed and they deserve much better than that.