Friday, February 23, 2018

Kamla: New laws will protect children from abuse at homes

Government will be working on legislation to ensure the protection of children who are housed at children’s homes, says Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Persad-Bissessar was speaking to the media at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, on Tuesday, following a cock­­tail reception to honour the life and work of the late Nelson Mandela.

Persad-Bissessar said the chairman of the Child Protec­tion Task Force, Dia­na

Mahabir-Wyatt, had

indicated the committee’s

report—which includes recommendations on protection of children in homes—was near completion.

The Prime Minister said from there, Government will look at legislation to ensure protection.

Persad-Bissessar was commenting on the report into allegations of

abuse at the St Michael’s Home for Boys.

Persad-Bissessar said: “Allegations, if true, are very shocking alle­gations, very tragic and horrendous to think that children who are alrea­dy vulnerable are subjected to the kinds of actions that the report contains.”

She said she had instructed the Attorney General to forward the matter to the Di­rector of Pub­lic Prose­cu­tions (DPP) and the Ag Commissioner of Police.

“We look to see whether there would be a criminal investigation into those matters, again, where children are concerned, it is really heart-rending; those allegations are things you do not want to read about, hear about or see happening in any country, far less than in our own country,” she said.

Questioned on the complaints from some members of the public about alleged abuse by soldiers, Persad-Bissessar said the matter was discussed at the National Security Council meeting.

She said the Chief of Defence Staff had indicated all allegations would be investigated.

The Prime Minister however said there have been no reports to the po­lice about soldier abuse and, there-

fore, it was difficult to investigate.

She said persons who have alle­gedly been abused should come forward and report the matters.