This is yet another appeal for the child welfare authorities in Region 2 and Georgetown to demonstrate some serious, no-nonsense interest in the circumstances of the begging boys of Cotton Field.
On Wednesday, I noticed these children accompanied by their mother foraging for fruits in an uninhabited yard in the village.
As usual, this mother was shouting obscenities to her children as they gathered their dinner, which in this instance were guavas. The father was noticeably absent on this occasion, because it is reported that he is imprisoned for hurling stones at passers by.
Essentially we have indigent parents of questionable psychological wellness being allowed to “nurture” their children. Being economically disadvantaged might evoke some sympathy, but these particular parents are demonstrably incapable of raising these boys with any modicum of dignity.
They do not work; they commission their children to beg; they endanger their young either by exposing them to unsuitable locations or trespassing; and they are unequipped to instil any positive values in their boys.
Why then is the state ostensibly reluctant to intervene on behalf of these children? Is it that the welfare authorities are convinced of the efficacy of these parents? Or could it be that child welfare subscribes to the flawed view that love and care are corollaries of the birthing process? Can no one in this region and Georgetown discern that these children are drowning in a toxic environment of poverty, neglect, psychological abuse and disempowerment? And if child welfare is aware of this, why is there no effort to provide an environment more amenable to the development of the well-being of these children?
While these authorities are in their state of suspended consciousness, these children are subjected to scaling people’s fences to search for food. They do not know what it means to simply experience childhood as most average Guyanese children do, because unfortunately for them, they were born not just into abject poverty, but also an environment of psychological maladjustment.
Will we really be justified in calling them illiterate, delinquent and criminal should such horrendous fates befall them?
(Name and address provided)
We are sending a copy of this letter to Ms Ann Green, Director of the Child Care and Protection Agency for any comment she might wish to make.