-condemns use of children in protest
The Childcare and Protection Agency yesterday called for a thorough investigation into the recorded conversation between a child and adult where plans for a sexual liaison are discussed, saying that should the contents be true the adult in question needs to be “disciplined” in every regard.
In a statement issued yesterday, the agency, which is part of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, also condemned the use of children on Sunday to protest outside the Promenade Gardens, where Office of the President (OP) Press and Publicity Officer Kwame McCoy, who is accused of being the adult in the recording, was attending a function. The agency said that from a newspaper report the children are being taught “intolerance and hatred,” which it called reprehensible.
McCoy, who is also a member of the Rights of the Child Commission and a PPP/C Region Four Regional Democratic Council representative, has denied that it is his voice on the recording, and deemed it a clear fabrication aimed at “smearing my character and family name.”
On the recording, the two speakers discuss plans for a sexual liaison.
The agency said that it is “deeply concerned” about the well-being and welfare of the alleged child, having heard the recording. It added that it is of the view that the contents of the recording are serious and warrant thorough investigation with a view to determining the veracity of said contents. “We are very worried at the national exposure of this child and are troubled by the ramifications of this repeated exposure and the psychological impact that this may have on this child,” it said, while questioning how the boy is coping.
It called on anyone who has knowledge of the child’s whereabouts to immediately contact the agency on 227- 4420, so that the child’s needs could be addressed.
Meanwhile, the agency said it is concerned about the usage of children in protests and then the publication of a picture in the newspapers where these children could be easily identified. “The agency shall do its best to protect the rights of parents to protest and even assist in promoting those rights,” it added. It said while it believes strongly in the right of children to express themselves, vocalize their concerns and to be taken seriously by adults, it “absolutely denounces the exploitation of children” in any activity which could bring or cause them harm. “Children should be allowed to be children and should not be drawn into adult activities where vulgarity, abuse and violence or a violent atmosphere prevails,” the agency emphasized.
A call was issued to the Guyana Police Force to act decisively against adults whenever children are being used and exploited in activities where they may come into harm’s way.
“We urge all persons, community members, political parties, activists and members of the media to refrain from using and exploiting children to achieve any end,” it stated.
It said the country has not before encouraged exploitation of its children, whether by individuals or in an organised manner, “and all of us must guard against descending into this murky abyss.”