By MATT MAURA
Each citizen has a role to play in the country’s child protection efforts, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development Frankie A Campbell told an audience attending the National Ecumenical Church Service that launched Bahamas Against Crime’s Anti-Abuse, Exploitation and Trafficking of Children Week of activities.
The service was held Sunday, November 3, at St John’s Native Baptist Church, Meeting Street.
Minister Campbell said while the government has a responsibility to and for the nation’s children and will always fulfill that obligation, each individual also has a role to play to assist in the protection of the nation’s children.
“As the Minister of Social Services and Urban Development I am usually the first to say that the government cannot do it alone and so we promote partnerships. Everyone has a role to play. We welcome partnerships. And so let us make the determination that while we are ensuring that our individual children are safe, that safety and security is extended to all of our children.”
Minister Campbell provided examples of ways parents and adults can ensure the protection of the nation’s children.
“We have a duty to protect our children by enforcing and ensuring that the laws of our country are being enforced. Oftentimes when we hear about the enforcement of laws, we immediately think of the men and women of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and while they have a part of play in that enforcement, they too are partners in this whole matter of protection. More often than not, they are not there when an incident occurs so in order for them to enforce, they need your help, they need your statement, they need your testimony, they need you not to sit on the sidelines and say ‘I am going leave that to the Police.’ They need all of our participation to ensure that the laws are enforced.”
“Secondly, we have a duty to set good examples for them. We cannot, as adults, say to our children ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ because the truth of the matter is that more is caught than is taught. Our children are watching us. We cannot say to our children in the morning to ‘go and tell the Home Insurance professional that I am not here and then seek to chastise them in the evening for telling a tale to somebody else. We cannot be in Parliament, fussing out each other, calling each other names, and then wonder why our children are doing the same thing.”
Minister Campbell said the third measure to ensuring the safety of children in the Bahamas is by empowering those children.
“It is only an empowered child who has the confidence to say no; who has the confidence and the wherewithal to remove him or herself from toxic situations. We need to empower our women so that their independence will make it easier for them to throw out a boyfriend or husband who is molesting a child.
“And finally, we need to return to that sense of community that would tell the entire Bahamas, thus says Matthew 18:6: ‘But who so shall offend one of these little ones who believes in me, it were better for him that a millstone was hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea.’’’