EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd had tough words yesterday for people who condoned the punishment of a girl captured in a viral video being beaten with pots and pans.
In the video released to social media last week, an older woman repeatedly hits a young girl in school uniform with frying pans, prompting screams from the child. “I was mortally offended and incensed by the display of abhorrent, despicable and senseless behaviour by this adult woman,” Mr Lloyd said in a statement.
He has said a probe into the matter has been launched, with him drawing it to the attention of National Security Minister Marvin Dames. He said: “I was further offended and appalled by some of the views expressed in conversations and the media which appear to condone this barbaric act, seeking to justify it with a often mis-understood biblical imperative, or the ridiculous assertion that ‘it was done to me, and I turned out okay’.
“As a human being, a Bahamian and member of the executive branch of this country, I condemn to the highest degree possible the abuse of our citizens, especially our children, by anyone – whether verbal, emotional, psychological, physical, financial or cultural. For decades, we tried to identify and eliminate the root causes of crime and violence amongst us, and their disastrously negative consequences. If we need a place to start, we may wish to examine how we treat each other, especially the most vulnerable among us.
“Is there any wonder that we are beset by a culture of violence, death and other nefarious orientations, as partially reflected in a 2019 UN report, entitled the ‘Global Study on Homicide’, which recorded The Bahamas as having the sixth highest murder rate in the Americas, a region of 27 countries?
“Is it any wonder that so many of our young people, especially young men, find themselves enmeshed in a downward spiral of gang life, criminality, insensitivity and wanton destruction?”
Mr Lloyd cited studies showing it is best to show children relationships skills than to escalate to physical harm. One study, he noted, linked spanking to later aggressive behaviour, anti-social conduct, anxiety and depression.
“So when someone says it was ‘done to me and I turned out okay,’ we should understand that if that is true, then they were the lucky ones,” he said. “So many more find themselves in a cycle of violence that we see affecting succeeding generations. The mental, physical, spiritual and economic health of every human person – especially our children – must occupy the highest priority for our citizens, as it does for this government.”