Why we'll take Ms Christina Milford over Minister Spencer

Why we'll take Ms Christina Milford over Minister Spencer

Sunday, March 14, 2010

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Shared Hope International, a non-profit organisation that was set up in 1998 by former Congresswoman Linda Smith and her husband Vern, has a terrible video on its website of two Jamaican men selling a 13-year-old girl to a white man for US$400, for sex.

The white man, who was posing as a tourist, was in reality a human rights investigator working with the Jamaican police to nab the men for conspiring to traffic a minor.

The sting operation, which saw the investigator testifying for the prosecution, resulted in the convictions and jailing of both men for this terrible crime which, according to information coming out of a prayer breakfast convened by the Pregnancy Resource Centre of Jamaica (PRCJ) yesterday, is prevalent here. According to one presenter, an investigator was offered over 30 young girls for sex within weeks of staying at a prominent business hotel in Kingston.

We're willing to bet that the average Jamaican is not aware of the work that Shared Hope or the PRCJ, a pro-life organisation that was set up by Ms Christina Milford four years ago, is doing here. Neither would they be aware of the depressing statistics regarding the lives that have been lost through abortions, sexually transmitted diseases and other spin-offs from sex trafficking and slavery.

Maybe the media's to be blamed for not giving enough attention to the issue. After all, the fraternity's not perfect, and in a world of scarce resources, important, difficult-to-source stories often get lost.

However, when such information does become available, it is painful to see people who should know better making inexplicable attempts to cover it up.

We refer to the report in yesterday's edition which quotes Health Minister Rudyard Spencer urging members of the joint select parliamentary committee who are deliberating the thorny abortion issue to keep the contents of the Abortion Policy Review Advisory Group (APRAG) close to their chest.

This, without further explanation, is worrying.

APRAG was set up in 2005, the story tells us, by Mr John Junor, the former health minister, amidst concerns that the third leading cause of death in adolescents was abortion and that unsafe abortions constituted the eighth leading cause of maternal deaths in Jamaica.

Why would Mr Spencer see fit to drag his feet on this issue by cancelling the meeting on behalf of committee members who have never showed up at any of the deliberations and by urging those members who have, to 'hug up' the information?

It seems to us that the efforts of Ms Milford in facilitating the dissemination of information, through organisations like Shared Hope, are far more deserving of resources and attention than what would appear to be an exercise in time-wasting on the part of our legislators.

From Ms Milford, whose organisation has discouraged over 50 abortions since its inception, we can benefit from tangible information with which to inform our consciousness of this difficult, legal, moral and medical issue.

It's a pity we can't say the same for Mr Spencer.

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