Break the silence, shine a light

Tuesday, March 25, 2014    

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Dear Editor,

I wish to commend the newspaper on the front page piece on AIDS carried in the Sunday Observer of March 23, 2014. Specifically, may I address the fact that Jamaica's laws are largely silent on the spreading of AIDS. This is one of the greatest "silent" problems in the country. Silent, because to talk about it or report offenders could reveal one's status.

Chief among the offenders are the practitioners of a certain craft that make them very attractive to young people. Teenage girls, especially, entertain fantasies of being in relationships and on the arms of these people, which is particularly worrying.

Sometimes, the first sure step in this direction -- they think -- is to have a baby for them. The fact that there is a multitude of others before them who were left by the wayside does not seem to make them pause and think. Despite the fact that they are aware of their status, these men knowingly pass on this infection to any and all who make themselves available. And they are many.

It cannot be said too often that many of our ills stem from the fact that the country is suffering from a woeful shortage of "proper" parents. People with the right values who will guide and protect children through what I call the "foolish years". These loveless, rudderless young girls see having a "baby fada" who is popular as an enormous status symbol. They would be the envy of all their friends.

This problem is an open secret. It has not gained the prominence it deserves because the victims do not want to reveal their status and many still entertain the hope that the "fada" will one day wade through the sea of other victims to settle down with them. So they remain silent, some infecting others in search of love and financial support.

Truth be told, there are others, sometimes mature women, committed to a monogamous relationship, who fall victim to this selfish recklessness. It is therefore surprising that nothing has been done by our lawmakers to address it. They would not be breaking new ground as there are laws dealing with this matter in most well-thinking jurisdictions. But we know that nothing will happen unless some powerful voice continues to pursue it on behalf of present and prospective victims.

Thank you for shedding more light, Observer.

Glenn Tucker

St Andrew





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