Latent Child Abuse must be stopped

Am I the only one who has noticed the proliferation of under aged persons in adult places, at adult functions and at adult times?

The alarming increase in cases of child abuse has been plastered all over the news recently. Grenadians banded together in disdainful abhorrence when the lifeless body of a minor was found. It was grotesque.

This led to a hue and a cry for a sexual offenders’ registry and some even called for blood. The horror expressed by our people was well-founded and if the average person was privy to more horrific cases, they would be dumbfounded by the atrocities that some of our children face.

Yet, as we all know, not all abuse is expressed in such a violent nature. As the organisation specifically designated to protect our children and their interests, The Child Protection Authority (CPA) has been working assiduously to mitigate occurrences of the ignominy that is Child Abuse.

Although, they must be commended for their efforts, I cannot help but feel that they, and indeed we as society are missing a ‘no brainer’; that some Night Club Managers/Owners and Event promoters are also perpetrators of Child Abuse. Please allow me to explain my perspective.

One definition of abuse according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary is ‘a corrupt practice or custom’.

It is definitely a corrupt practice to have our children in nightclubs and at these mega-events held across the length and breadth of Grenada.

Another definition touted is ‘to use something for bad effect or for a bad purpose. Some of our promoters, as well as club owners are guilty of this corrupt practice of misusing children for the sake of lining their pockets.

As such, is it farfetched to argue that they are guilty of child abuse?

Our children are allowed to be part and parcel of these mega-events: They are also free to enter, and be patrons of popular ‘night-clubs’. Children are outside at obscene hours, involved in many immoral and at times illegal vices.

It is unacceptable to say, well it is not my child, or, their parents have to control them. For in as much as this may be so, we must make a concerted effort as a nation to protect our children and to set standards that ensure same.

It is imperative that those concerned deal with this issue forthwith. Is it unreasonable of an adult at a club/night event to expect to be able to socialise and mingle freely with his/her peers?

What would happen if at Christmas, a fully-grown man approaches Santa Claus to sit on his knees and ask for toys? Some things are simply for children and not for adults, and vice versa.

Many persons mistakenly assume that all who frequent these places are adults. One may argue that this is a reasonable conclusion. Sadly, the reality is often the stark opposite as some painfully learn later on, when they find themselves on the other side of the law.

Thankfully, to this problem there is an obvious and simple solution. One that most first world countries have already adopted, the presentation of ID cards that confirm the holder to being above the age of 18. Then and only then should they be allowed to patronise these events.

Promoters are aware that they should, but the extra dollars that these ‘children’ bring are enough for them to turn a proverbial blind eye, and gaze instead upon the increased bulge in their pockets.

Let us allow our children to grow in stages, a topic in and by itself. We have adopted so many policies and customs from ‘the big world’. Why are we so reluctant to seize and cling to this one?

I challenge all promoters and nightclub managers, not to wait until legislation is passed, but to do the ethical thing. Adopt this practice now. Make it mandatory that patrons present identification in order to enter your clubs and events. We know it is your livelihood, but earning monies in this manner is definitely pyrrhic. It just is not worth it.

This is a call to the CPA, concerned citizens, promoters and lawmakers alike; let us champion this cause for the sake and the protection of our children.

Child Protector

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