A LOST GENERATION: Kamla Persad-Bissessar

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Leave corporal punishment alone

Madam Prime Minister, Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar, I have read on several occasions, a columnist in one of our daily newspapers who refer to you as the mother of the nation. Given our present situation in this country, you are in a position to prove him right.
I implore you to reconsider your plans to enact laws to remove corporal punishment from the homes of this gracious nation of ours.
We are still in the planning process for the final resting place of one of the outstanding icons this nation has produced, ANR Robinson—past president of the republic of Trinidad and Tobago—which is just one of the many executive portfolios he held.
I was born in Castara Village, Tobago, one of the most blessed islands in the Caribbean. As a child I attended the Castara Methodist School where James A Robinson, father of ANR, was my headmaster. I can assure you that Mr Robinson, snr was a disciplinarian as I fell victim on several occasions to his tamarind whip, for what I considered at the time to be minor infringements...such as arriving late to school, or incomplete homework, just to name a few.
Robinson Snr made it his duty at one of the morning sessions, to discipline pupils with similar infringements. That type of discipline has produced exemplars in our society which includes Mr Arthur NR Robinson.
Madam Prime Minister, you made mention recently that you were instrumental in enacting laws to remove corporal punishment from our schools. I am not in a position to say whether or not those laws played a part in the mayhem we are now experiencing in our schools.
What I do know is that;
(A) There is no discipline whatsoever in our schools today.
(B) Teachers are afraid of our pupils.
(C) Bullying of children in schools who refuse to join the indiscipline groups.
(D) Teachers are assaulted whenever they try to bring order to their classrooms.
And the list goes on.
Madam Prime Minister, I am of the view that a very high percentage of people who commit child abuse came from indiscipline schools and homes. They should be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law. I am indeed convinced we have lost an entire generation, as they are committing every conceivable crime we have ever seen in this country.
Should you chose to remove corporal punishment from our homes, Madam Prime Minister, our next generation will suffer even worse than we are experiencing today. I believe that parents, teachers and all other stakeholders should work in tandem with the Ministry of Gender and Youth Affairs in order to find a solution.
Madam Prime Minister, I read over the past weeks, articles for and against the mother from Point Fortin who was seen disciplining her 12- year-old daughter on television. In my humble opinion, that woman should be awarded the highest medal this country can offer as she has shown what should be done to save our next generation.
First you can see that the mother was speaking to the child about her indiscretions and then administering the straps. That is so far from a person who decides to burn a child with a hot iron, or tie a child in a room for days without food. There is a very wide margin between child abuse and corporal punishment.
I do pray that God will intervene and save this country from the disastrous path we have found ourselves in today.

Ulric Phillip
Diamond Village
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