Child Abuse and Other Crimes Plaguing Region

The Caribbean Is One Nation.

Once more we are forced to comment on the rising levels of child abuse in our region. Recent reports and statistics from Jamaica and Trinidad reveal that there have been over five thousand reported cases of child abuse combined in these two sister islands. We suggest that if these figures only represent official statistics, the number of children being abuse throughout the region could be several thousand. There are also some 300 cases of child abuse being reported in Barbados annually. When we consider that these are reported cases, we shudder to think what is the real number.
When we take into consideration other areas of abuse such as: spousal, sexual and abuse against our senior citizens, we realize that we have a problem, that is affecting thousands of our most vulnerable citizens. It is a situation that needs to be confronted in a very swift and comprehensive manner. We are aware that some countries are taking steps to combat this reality but we fear, as we have previously warned, that they may not be acting with the speed necessary.
At this time, many of our economies are in dire straits and the financial resources needed are in very short supply. The Mahogany Coconut Group welcomes all attempts to rid the region of this malady but we believe that unless a greater urgency is employed, the perpetrators of these crimes would continue to escape and ignore the law.
Apart from the abuses mentioned, we also have an increase human trafficking and exploitation of minors by those involved in criminal activity that include but not limited to drugs, use of firearms in illegal activity and prostitution. Taking into consideration that the changing workplace and technology are causing severe displacement, unemployment and underemployment, it becomes obvious that the region is being forced to deal with problems, we could not have imagined twenty or thirty years ago.
While we do not believe that these are insurmountable challenges, it is our position that there should be a regional approach to tackling them. We opine that the problems are quite similar because of the socio-economic conditions and approach to governance and law enforcement. Throughout the region, there is need for massive overhauls of the educational system and retooling our workers to prepare them for opportunities in the new economies that are being driven by technology and innovation. We further suggest that high levels of unemployment and underemployment are fertile ground for the negatives now confronting us.

We hope that a word to the wise will suffice
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