Full story on deaths not yet told

Nearly six months after the death of 12-year-old Shemar Weekes of Fryers Well, Checker Hall, St Lucy, and four months since six-year-old Jahan King perished under mysterious circumstances, the island’s child care agency has said that the primary lesson it has learnt from the tragedies is that it has not told its story.

Speaking in defence of the Child Care Board (CCB), Chairman Ken Knight described the deaths as “freakish”, saying that in nearly three decades of service no one had died under its watch before.

Weekes was found hanging on May 14 at the home he shared with his mother while King died in on June 29 from what the police later said was chest trauma. Knight also made reference to a third death which Barbados TODAY could not immediately verify.

“The board has been in operation for close to 30 years and it has never had a death before. But here you, we were involved directly or indirectly of three of them within the space of two months . . . kind of freakish turn of events in terms of timing. That is one of the major things that came through to me as chairman as I go around speaking with people; people were not really fully aware of what the Child Care Board does,” the CCB boss told Barbados TODAY in an interview this morning.

There were allegations that both boys had been abused and King’s grandmother Margaret Gill blamed the board for his death, claiming that despite several reports the child protection agency failed to act decisively to remove the boy from danger, presumably at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend.

In an interview with Barbados TODAY on July 8 Knight also denied that King had been abused, stating that a medical examiner had found no signs of abuse and that bruises around King’s eyes were the result of allergies.

 Asked today what lessons the board had learned from the tragedies and the surrounding controversies, Knight focused on a lack of public relations.

“I would say that the major lesson learnt is that the Child Care Board has not told its story,” Knight said.

He contended that there was not a “coherent understanding” by the public of the board’s role, adding that by sharing this information he believed people would become more sensitive to state agencies functions.

“They never realized we ran 15 day nurseries; they never realized we ran care homes . . . looking after kids that are parentless. In addition to that, our officers have to attend court hearings practically every day in giving witness to cases where access to kids are involved . . . then there is the child protection aspect of if where people come in from off the streets and make reports of suspected cases of child abuse and we have to act accordingly,” he added.

Knight said the board’s officers also have investigate cases where children appear at the QEH or at schools with injuries.

6 Responses to Full story on deaths not yet told

  1. Olivia Jordan
    Olivia Jordan November 7, 2015 at 6:32 am

    Imagine still making excuses hmmmm

  2. Sue Donym November 7, 2015 at 8:03 am

    I’m left wondering who should be more embarrassed after this story, Barbados Today or the Child Care Board. All I got from this was – nothing!

    Mr. Knight starts by saying the story has not been told. This would be the perfect opportunity to either tell its side or say why they are not in a position to do so now.

    So let’s assume there’s a legally sound reason that the Barbadian public should not be taken into Mr. Knight’s/Child Care Board’s confidence. Next step is to rehash what has been said or speculated? This, rather than inform us of the responsibilities and structure of the CCB; what resources are available or needed for investigations; what remedies are available to assist children and what programmes are in place or being developed, given their professional experiences. What does “act accordingly” mean?

    What if any suggestions have been made to CCB’s minister and ultimately the Cabinet? What improvements have been made ‘under (his) watch’? But anyway, if what Mr. Knight has learned is that they’ve not told their story, can he guess what I’ve learned about him and his board?

  3. Ben Haynes PsyD November 7, 2015 at 11:01 am

    I agree. We the general public have not learned anything from our educated Mr. Knight. What should be done is not forthcoming, and we are left confused as to what position this agency can do to protect our children now and in the future.

  4. Ingrid wellington November 7, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Stop making excuses Mr the only thing that’s freaky is the behavior of you all at the child care board this is very sad and disrespectful to the public how many children have to die or mistreated and abuse before something is done seriously this is unacceptable.

  5. Valencia November 7, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Utter rubish from intelligent, responsible citizens of this country who ought to be accepting responsibility rather than finding excuses. SHAME

  6. Chris Wright November 8, 2015 at 12:09 am

    This account highlights the reason for more oversight of the program to protect the children of Barbados. Due to the fact that
    “The board has been in operation for close to 30 years and it has never had a death before” let’s not hope that the deaths of these children are to be taken for granted. One life lost due to abuse or neglect is far too much, there should be determined as freakish. Freakish in my opinion is when a child falls from a tree, or runs into a wall, fall from a bicycle or other mode of transport, and is killed. To die allegedly at the hands of someone is not freakish and if there are suspicions concerning a death it should be investigated to the core to find cause of that death.
    Kids born into this world are to be protected first by responsible parents and when parents shirk their responsibility and there is evidence of abuse, the children should be taken from them. following that there should be counseling and education on the care of that child, and unless the CCB is 100% satisfied with the ability of those parents to care for the child, it should be placed in a home willing to care for it.
    Times and attitudes are changing and the CCB must be aware of this and act accordingly so another child does not die senselessly.


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