The Young Persons and Children Act should be reviewed

Consumer Concerns

September 20-26, 2009 was regarded as Child Protection Week.

It is a shame that some children have to be protected against their own parents and families. It was reported recently that a child was scalded by her mother because she took milk without permission.

Eileen Cox
Eileen Cox

Incest, this horrible act, is any form of sexual abuse committed against children by closely related persons, eg parent, step-parent, sexual partner of the parent, or blood relatives such as aunt, uncle or cousin. Children have the right to be protected from incest. Consumers are advised to report such abuses to a police station or the Child Care and Protection Agency, Ministry of Human Services and Social Security.

Efforts to protect young persons and children were made since the year 1933. The protection of women was added to the act; later the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act, now Chapter 99:01, explained why action was being taken to protect these groups of persons. There is an introduction to the act which states: ‘An Act to carry out certain Conventions relating to the employment of women, young persons and children.’ Then comes the following:

“Whereas at Washington, on the 28th November, 1919, a general conference of the International Labour Organisation of the League of Nations adopted three Conventions containing (together with other provisions) the provisions set forth in Part I, Part II, and Part III of the Schedule to this Act.

“And whereas at Genoa on the 9th July, 1920, a general conference of the Inter-national Labour Organisation of the League of Nations adopted a Convention containing (together with other provisions) the provisions set out in Part IV of the Schedule to this Act.

“And whereas it is expedient that for the purpose of carrying out the said Conven-tions the provisions hereinafter contained should have effect:

“Be it, therefore, enacted as follows…
“1. This act may be cited as the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act.
“2. In this Act and in the provisions of the Convention contained in the Schedule… ‘child’ means a person under the age of fourteen years;
‘industrial undertaking’ has, with respect to the employment of children, young persons, and women the meanings respectively assigned thereto in the Conventions set out in Parts I, II, and III of the Schedule.

‘ship’ means any sea-going ship or boat of any description which is registered in Guyana under the applied Act entitled the Merchant Shipping Act 1894;
‘young person’ means a person who has ceased to be a child and who is under the age of sixteen years.
“3. (1) No child shall be employed in any industrial undertaking.
(2) No young person or woman shall be employed at night in any industrial undertaking, except to the extent to which and in the circumstances in which such employment is permitted under the Conventions set out in Part II and Part III of the Schedule.
(3) Where young persons are employed in any industrial undertaking, a register of the young persons so employed, and of the dates of their birth, and of the dates on which they enter and leave the service of their employer, shall be kept and shall at all times be open to inspection.
“4. (1) No child shall be employed in any ship, except to the extent and in the circumstances in which such employment is permitted under the Convention set out in Part IV of the Schedule.”
There are seven sections and a schedule.

Amendments to the Young Persons and Children Act were made in Act No 9 of 1999. It would seem that more publicity should be given to this act and perhaps a review could be made.

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