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Parents, do your job!

Discipline starts at home, says magistrate

The issue of discipline among the island’s children must start at home, and not when they are brought before the law courts.

The assertion came from Magistrate Ian Weekes during the Prison Fellowship Barbados’ Angel Tree launch for 2013 at the Cuthbert Pilgrim Hall yesterday.

“While I will give assistance, it starts with the parent. The parent has to identify the problem [and] deal with it. There are times when these children come before [Magistrate Barbara Cooke-Alleyne] and myself, and we have to do the work of the parent and save the child. Particularly mothers, but I gather that is a biological issue.

“You all brought them into this world, so you figure that there is nothing called tough love. But, [it] does not mean incarceration.

“If tough love is given at an early stage, even if they get to us, we already know that there is some structure in place in the home that we can work with and we can get a positive result,” he said, as he drew reference to a recently published article in another section of
the Press.

Weekes, noting that there was a possibility the matter could come before the court, suggested that the information should not have been circulated, and that for a lot of Barbadians who would have been doing so, they seemed naïve to the fact that this was a breach
of the law.

“I am sure that some of them may appear before us in the future, so I won’t speak about that. But it must be reinforced that any type of behaviour that you see in the schools doesn’t just happen. It would have been there before and the tone would have been set by some
of us adults; and if we continue to set those types of examples for our children,
we cannot complain.

“Don’t call the [radio programmes] and complain about the young people robbing, if we are not going to inculcate certain values in them.  [And] the values to be inculcated start right here, in the church.  If the youngsters are not given the foundation in the Commandments they will certainly depart from it,” Weekes said.

Meanwhile, Magistrate Barbara Cooke-Alleyne of the Holetown Court, in an interview with Barbados TODAY after the launch, revealed that the court was seeing a number of drug cases coming before her court, with the main offenders being males.

“. . . There is also the theft of cellphones, bags, particularly the North Face bags; but that is also with the girls as well. What has
been happening is that there has been an increase in the cases where knives and offensive weapons are in the possession
of children.

“We have had some stabbings coming out of that. What happened [in The City] has also been happening in the north.”

The magistrate praised the work of Prison Fellowship Barbados, noting that it was critical to providing mentorship for the children
of inmates. (RG)

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