Holder: No need for new legislation

 A former Child Care Board officer who is now a prominent criminal lawyer says the existence on the statute books of Barbados of the 1904 Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act and its continuing effectiveness, eliminate the need for new legislation to protect the island’s children.

Arthur Holder.
Arthur Holder.

Arthur Holder gave this advice to the Freundel Stuart administration this past weekend while addressing a meeting of the St Michael Central constituency branch of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) at the George Lamming Primary School, Welches, St Michael.

Holder who served as a Child Care Board officer from 1993-1996 and subsequently as a manager, said: “The Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act is still on the statute books, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel and have a new piece of legislation to bring a solution to the problem of child abuse.

“As a Child Care Officer, on occasions I have gone to homes where there was abuse and I had the power then to remove the child from that home and place the child in a safe environment. I had a so-called bad reputation within the environs of the City because my area was Nelson Street, Combermere Street, Chancery Lane, Wellington Street, Spruce Street and all of those streets.

He went on: “I remember on one occasion, there was an abuse case where a young child was thrown on a nail by its mother and I visited the hospital and removed that child from the abusive home and placed her in residential care.

“There wasn’t any need for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Child Care Board and the Royal Barbados Police Force as suggested by Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett, because the Act gives specific authority to child care officers where there is a level of abuse of children.”

Holder said the issue went deeper. He contended that it was only in Barbados where serious child abuse cases could have occurred without any shake-up taking place at the institution responsible for their protection.

Giving the steps that are taken when a case of child abuse has been committed, Holder said: “There is an intake officer who takes the complaint. That officer is then mandated to act accordingly. However, when social workers are overwhelmed by case work and cases are not prioritized, the system can break down.”

He told his audience that the Child Care Board has a Queen’s Counsel who advises child care officers on the legal steps to be taken in removing a child from an abusive environment. “So there is a protective shield for the abused child,” Holder said.

“So all that is needed to be done is for a revamping of the internal policies of the organization. You can hold all of the press conferences in the world and you can have the best UNICEF advocates as it relates to child abuse or the rights of the child, that will not solve the problem,” he added.

Holder suggested recent issues involving the Child Care Board were enough to warrant the resignation of its board of directors en masse.

4 Responses to Holder: No need for new legislation

  1. Bobo September 24, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Why we (Blacks) are so rich –and then again very poor–

    After the colonies were given their independence a ”Constitution” was invented with laws and principles .

    The Constitution of Barbados

    Protection from discrimination on grounds of race–

    Protections from inhuman treatment–

    The principles remained in the government filing cabinets

  2. Heather Cole
    Heather Cole September 24, 2015 at 11:50 am

    My sentiments Arthur all of them should be made to resign..including the Minister.

  3. Valerie Da Costa Greaves
    Valerie Da Costa Greaves September 24, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    This gentleman talk a lot of sense he also been there done that hope he gets listens to and people in authority take note

  4. Donna September 24, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Thank you very much Mr. Holder! When I argued this I was ridiculed as an emotional woman. I knew it was just a case of a bad job being done. Understaffing may very well be an issue but still better should have been done.


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