Thursday, October 02, 2008


Save the children

Last Saturday, I was watching local programming and saw a feature on the Liberty Lodge Boys Training Centre. To my non Vincie readers the Centre is an institution for boys whose parents/caregivers are no longer willing to take care of them. In local parlance, it's a place where bad boys are sent. Please note;there is no such place for the young girls which probably means girls are really made of sugar and spice or the tasteless ones find refuge elsewhere.

Watching the programme was disturbing to me especially when I saw faces of boys below 10 years old. Something has to be terribly wrong when a parent/caregiver cannot handle a seven or eight year old. As far as I am concerned the parents should be the ones institutionalised for relinquishing their responsibilties under the guise of "di pickney dem bad".Regardless of the positive spin the authorities give to the centre the stigma still remains. The child who is an occupant knows exactly why he was sent.

The more I think about it the more inclined I am to believe that there are no bad children but bad parents. Children do not become "bad" overnight. Someone,somewhere lapsed in their upbringing and then concluded that making them wards of the state was the way to go. I feel so sorry for these children who are paying the price for parental and societal neglect. There used to be a time when grandmothers or other older relatives were closely involved in child rearing. Nowadays,that is fast becoming a relic as grandmothers are younger than ever and others are busy with their own lives.

My heart aches for those children slain in Jamaica. More innocents who have lost their lives because of the depravity of adults who in a saner world would have been their protectors. We must save our children since the alternative is just too grim.

It is a tragedy all around.

Once, I donned by altruistic hat and decided to volunteer at the juvenile detention centre in Cayman, "Eagle House". The boys were so aggressive...and cold, that I knew it was beyond my realm of understnding, They did not experience love and kindness, and did not know how to give it back. They lacked wonderful male role models, and maternal figures. is a terrible cycle, for I ponder what will happen when these boys are release, and in turn themselves become fathers.
Afro,you know I ponder about the "bad"label. If they are called bad so early in life and removed from their homes then it can't be a surprise if the majority live up to their billing.
Excellent post!!!
I concur. Excellent post. Parenting really is an issue with these supposedly bad children, I think, because children live what they learn, and up to a certain age, they reflect what they see in their environment. This applies especially to the cases of the teeny tinies.

But then, parenting is no walk in the park. It is just not easy to raise and shape a whole other life. We must learn, though, if we want any chance of a better future, or any sort of future at all..
Another excellent post from you. Your observations are right on target.

My job brings me into contact with some of these boys on a regular basis. And, I cannot say that they are bad. Neglected ? Yes but not bad. In fact, the centre is a place of refuge for many ob these boys. Still nothings beats a stable family a growing raity in SVG these days
Happy to see you Numalali. I know it is better than the boys being on the streets but like you said nothing beats a stable family environment
I use to be a resident at the Centre. It was quite an experience. As an insider, I can say that support from folk on the outside goes a long way in reassuring the youngmen there. I remember how much I felt valued whenever outsider came to see us. Their words of encouragement, support and love went a long, long way in helping me remain positive.

Please folks, don't give up on those guys. They are empty vessels waiting to be filled with the juices of love and affection. They are the future of our beutiful land. Do your parts to ensure that they are positively impacted. I will do mines.

Keep this blogg going
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