Time to act on saving young windshield wipers

Time to act on saving young windshield wipers

Monday, September 23, 2019

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Dear Editor,

What is the Government doing about the young windshield wipers on the roads?

For years, as motorists, we have noticed them, sometimes after school hours, late in the evenings, stepping out as the light turns red to wipe windshields for “a change”.

Does anyone consider how dangerous this is for a child? Does anyone wonder where their parents are? Does anyone care?

It must be noted that most of these youth are male, and they see this task as a quick way to earn money due to their present circumstance. However, if we are building a country that will be the ideal place to live, work, raise families, and do businesses, this must be addressed with the appropriate legislation.

More so, the Child Protection and Family Service Agency (CPFSA) must investigate these matters. It is not right for these children to be labouring under these circumstances that might put the lives of themselves and families at risk. They are operating under these older extortionists who might demand that they give over their earnings or lose their life.

Back in 2018, Acting Commissioner of Police Clifford Blake stated that addressing the matter required more than policing to deal with the windshield wipers. He said, “With the best crime plan in the world you are going to have these social issues which are putting these children into the crime pool and into gangs. The best police force in the world will not be able to get the desired results.”

He is correct. However, I remembered when the matter became a public debate for a few days and the former head of the Police Traffic Division, Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen, stated that the issue with windshield wipers had been addressed numerous times but the windshield wipers keep coming back. He had explained that under the proposed new Police Service Act members of the police force could be given the power to arrest without warrant with respect to aggressive begging, aggressive vending, loitering and intimidation of individuals, to assist in curbing street crimes including windshield wipers.

We are yet to see that happen. For now, the child protection agencies must do more. Get the children off the streets. Find their homes and address the situation. We can't have them wiping windshields to take care of their families. They are just children. They should be home getting rest for a next day at school.

But, how many of them are in school, though? That is another matter to discuss.

The Members of Parliament should also get involved. Frankly, too often they visit communities and overlook those who really need help.

Andre Heslop


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