Legal Eagle : The protection of our children must be our priority

September 11, 2017
Children lay roses at the monument in memory of Jamaica's children who have died under tragic/violent circumstances. The monument is located at the corner of Tower and Church streets in downtown Kingston.

When our parliamentarians enacted the Child Care and Protection Act in 2004 [the Act] with the objectives of promoting the best interest, safety and well-being of children in the cities, towns, villages, hills and valleys of Jamaica, it was no joke.

The Act is relevant because each year, several of our young children suffered loss by death due to various means. Thereafter, they booked their flights in their white robes and halos to the safe arms of their Maker. Parents, who truly believe in the power and majesty of God, should be comforted by the thought that their innocent children are destined for that heavenly journey.

However, here on earth, the sudden and untimely death of innocent children can be so painful to the parents and families connected to these children, but even more so to grandparents. One can only imagine, but not many people will understand what it feels like to lose a child. Children are blessings. They must grow to their three scores and 10. In fact, in Matthew 18:14 Jesus said: "So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish."

The latest reminder of the passing of a young child came just hours before this article was written. It was Saturday, September 9. Family and friends gathered at the St Andrew Parish Church to say their last goodbye to a one-year-old boy who walked into the arms of his Maker more than a week before.

The programme was expertly done. The hymns were just right. But there were moments when there were no 'dry eyes'. The parents were weak in the knees and had to be supported when walking. Grandparents were feeling the pain in the bottom of their bellies. Family members were bawling and hallowing, and everyone else was quietly weeping and grieving.

The reality is that a home is now without a child. Parents' nightmare is now a reality. Parents and caregivers are not blessed with all-seeing eyes; arms are not long and strong enough to grab children back from danger. The reality is that we are living in a dangerous world, and children who are out of sight are fully in danger.

Note, however, that children are always special in the sight of God. Jesus is quoted in Matthew 19:14 saying: "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for such is the Kingdom of heaven." The law is also jealous of its children. Hence, the passage of the Child Care and Protection Act, 2004 and other related legislation, which placed special obligations on those who have the custody, charge or care of children to provide proper care and protection for the children under their care.

Protection of our children must be our foremost priority. Those who suffer must be comforted. To my friend, Lesline, a loving grandmother, and all the parents and grandparents who must bear the pain of losing a child or grandchild, may God find comfort for you in your time of bereavement.

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