(Trinidad Guardian) A High Court judge is calling for the enactment of laws to hold parents and guardians responsible for their children’s criminal actions.
Delivering the sermon in his capacity as a lay minister at the Marabella Presbyterian Church yesterday, Frank Seepersad said some parents benefit from the spoil’s of their children criminal activities while others turn a blind eye.
He also called for an overhaul of the failed educational system which, he says, does not inculcate a sense of national pride in youths.
Noting that the national response to the recent devastating floods has resulted in a flood of renewed hope in our sense of humanity and brotherhood, he said, “This we-can-do-it attitude needs to be used tackle the onslaught of criminality which confronts us.”
Pointing out that the majority of the crime is committed by youths, he said this is because family life has deteriorated. There is a lack of parental guidance and the educational system has failed.
“Parents for too long have hidden behind the phrase ‘yuh does make a child but not dey mind’ to explain their children’s truancy. Far too many mothers have sanctioned criminal conduct as they collect grocery money from their unemployed gangster sons who wear shoes costing thousands only to cry out ‘he was a good boy’ when he is shot or arrested.”
Declaring that parenting is a divine and moral obligation, Seepersad said, “We need to consider the enactment of parental responsibility laws so as to impose sanctions upon parents and guardians whose poorly instructed and supervised children create havoc. The common law should be used to treat parents as accomplices when they harbour guns in their homes which their sons use to commit a crime.”
Seepersad said a range of alternative solutions, both judicial and community-based, must be put in place to treat with situations youths refused to listen to their parents/guidance.
Acknowledging that some parents face difficult circumstances, he suggested reverting to that time when it took a village to raise a child, being more accommodating in the workplace or assisting with books or clothing or other simple acts of kindness and encouragement.
“We need to revisit our scholarship system and consider awarding scholarships to pursue areas of endeavour which can critically assist in our national development needs. We have produced citizens with certification who lack a sense of citizenship and community. The existing system does not foster a culture of volunteerism, national identity or skills of interdependence.”