Break the silence the authorities would now encourage us to openly stand against child sexual abuse, while other forms of abuse like bullying go unnoticed. It's as if the authorities pay attention to children's problem only when these problems form part of the official calendar of activities. Many are, however, quite aware that seldom does government language materialise into action. Rather than assist those children who are victims of sexual abuse the authorities would simply continue with their campaign of "good touch, bad touch” as if this is all that matters in helping children of sexual abuse.
Just when one tagline is replaced by another nice sounding tagline, receiving the nod of government officials of how well it sounds, perpetuators of crime against children remain free to continue their exploits with impunity. Government technocrats are somehow contended for a job well done in educating our young against abuse as a target setting. When what is largely needed as a weapon against sexual abuse and all other forms of abuse against children is enforcement, which leads to the swift indictment of those persons who for all intent and purposes violate the rights of our children.
Break the silence they would admonish an already indifferent society, while the Ministry of education remains silent on the bullying of a female student by another male student. The ministry wouldn’t care to have this problem staring it in the face as it was not on their calendar of activities. Their campaign on bullying was just about a success. After all, the ministry had just about pull out all the stops in educating students about the problem of bullying. It had check off this concern on its short list of concerns for this year. Who was now making it a problem when it was so professionally dealt with, would obviously have to wait for next year, as the Christmas barrels for this year were just about being rolled off.
But if the message on bullying was missed by the male student who was bullying this female student, it was most certainly missed by his mother too. No sooner was the bully’s mother the main perpetuator taking over from where her son had left off. They were educating the people when all along education on the rights of others were seldom upheld by enforcement. In this nation, the relay of abuse runs from home to school, from school to the community, from the community to the wider society, with law enforcement hardly done by a justice system too caught up in its delayed proceedings to careless. Now, you see why we have become so apathetic.
Bravo to Molly Allen for standing up for her abused daughter. Bravo to Molly Allen for the tongue-lashing meted to an indifferent ministry of education and the minister of labour. Robert Lewis, no matter how much he tried to wash his hands from off this matter as Pilate did in the crucifying of Christ, he can’t. No amount of water will keep Robert Lewis’ hands from being stained from the abuse received by this little girl while at school. Had Robert now conveniently forgotten to “step-down” and to serve his constituents when he had so proudly exalted on the election campaign trail? How quickly has he Robert now forgotten?
Robert Lewis had somehow lost his political fervour from chasing all about the place behind Taiwanese money. If there was no credibility left in him, one expected that he would, at least, remain steadfast in obeying the words of his God when he admonished us “to suffer not the little children to come onto thee”. With his mind on the Taiwanese money, school is definitely out. He would rather chase the fire engines in his constituency rather than come to the aid of a bullied little school girl. Robert Lewis missed a rare opportunity to serve in a dual capacity; first, as district rep to a child and mother from Castries South, which he represents and, secondly, as minister of education to a little girl attending school whose mother believed that the minister of education would make safe.
When at school a young female student is bullied and bruised, Robert is absent. The ministry’s technocrats in the chief educational office is the one on whose shoulder and not that of the minister of education this matter rests. The chief education officer is the technocratic responsible for handling this matter and not the minister; after all, he is a policymaker. Try as hard as he may to wash his hands clean of this matter, his hands are already red. He has let down this little girl and her mother simply for not showing any care towards them. All Molly Allen was asking of the minister was to extend a reassuring hand at this her child’s moment of peril.
We see it all the time public officials coming out and reassuring victims’ families that justice will be done without taking sides. To reassure this mother that her child would be safe at school was an opportunity again missed by the minister. Labour pays lip service to the ills of the nation's children. There is this young school girl being bullied by another male student and the authorities did nothing about it. For two years this would go on to the point where the child being bullied is attacked by the bullying male student’s mother. How could this have been allowed to happen in the first place by a school system which is obligated to keep our children safe?
Break the silence the authorities would admonish. Now, Molly Allen has done just that and the authorities are having none of it. Just recently a young man was shot for the second time and killed in the same Castries South constituency despite asking to be placed in police custody. Must Molly’s daughter kill herself or be killed by this bully in order for her plight is taken seriously? An ever bizarre twist to this story, will the bullied female student's mother become a victim of bullying herself, this time from the government, as the Labour government tries to make an example of her for breaking the silence.
Social services have since been put on notice to follow up on why Molly’s daughter remains at home. According to the authorities now showing concern for Molly’s child, it is an offence to keep a child of school age from attending school, without reasonable excuse. With the mother who attacked the school girl now arrested after TV reports showed the child unable to talk and apparently injured. The authorities now seem eager to embarrass or to even make Molly pay for berating them publicly for failing to keep her daughter safe at school. The youth is the future, then, again this is St Lucia where lip service is only paid to such an assertion, victims are not protected, the dead are marched for, vigils are kept, and the living must break the silence, and suffer, but are made to be silent like the dead! Shame on you, Labour!