What will political parties, the police, the CPA do differently now when faced with child abuse allegations?

Dear Editor,

It is easy to be angry at the villagers who had heard about the men who killed Leonard Archibald. From the various accounts, it seems reports had been made to the police station. The police, as expected, have no record of any report. It is difficult to make police reports. There are conflicting issues in Guyana about crime statistics, and it seems that the reduced crime figures are probably correlated to citizens refusing to undergo the frustration of dealing with the police. Children will probably not want to approach police.

The police themselves seem to be in their own turmoil.

Are communities then supposed to exact some kind of vigilante justice when the police are not serious? What are children and other citizens to expect when they want to make a report to the Childcare and Protection Agency, or the police? How are hospitals supposed to respond when they suspect children have been abused? Who follows up when ‘money’ settles matters? Who is going to ensure healing for the survivors of abuse?

What happens to officials who fail in their duty of care? There are no answers in any of the calls of ‘community should do more to protect’ especially if the State has a responsibility to children.

The PPP and the National Assembly did nothing to formally resolve the allegations of child sexual abuse which were made against Kwame McCoy. He was the nominee of the then Minister Priya Manickchand to the Rights of the Child Commission. Another minister, Volda Lawrence, faced calls for her resignation after she did nothing to see independent and formal resolution of the allegations of child sexual abuse against her colleague, Councillor Winston Harding.  The politicians held their course.

What will the political parties who have dismissed allegations of child abuse do differently now? What will the police and the CPA do differently now? What will the Ministry of Education do differently now as their teachers can still beat children who might also be dealing with other forms of abuse?

Yours faithfully,

Vidyaratha Kissoon

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