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Holness against corporal punishment

Friday, October 06, 2017

ST ANN, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness has made it clear that he does not support corporal punishment and is urging parents to find alternative methods to discipline their children.

Holness, who was speaking at a ceremony to officially open the expanded operating theatre, the renovated male surgical ward, and to handover a new ambulance at the Ann's Bay Regional Hospital on Friday, said the recent video of a mother beating her child with a machete had driven him to comment on the use of corporal punishment in Jamaica.

“I can understand the frustration that many Jamaican parents feel; I can understand the pressure that a single mother comes under when the child enters puberty… let me make it clear, while I understand, it is not acceptable,” Holness said of corporal punishment.

The prime minister, who described the video as a cultural manifestation, argued that corporal punishment has wreaked significant psychological damage on the nation's children. He said the use of corporal punishment has taught children to use violence to deal with their problems.

Holness added that he would not condemn the mother as she will answer to the law of the land. In the meantime, he said his commitment to the ban on corporal punishment in schools still stands He said he was not only concerned about corporal punishment, but other acts which affect children such as parents who subject their children to incest and other sexual crimes.

Renae Dixon