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Attitude towards girls stinks, says charity head

BY HG HELPS Editor-at-large helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, December 05, 2012    

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THERE is a "real stink attitude" towards girls in Jamaica, an official of an international charity organisation that works with children and inner-city youth here has said.

Moira Morgan, director of the United Kingdom-based charity organisation, The Griffin Trust, wants Jamaicans to show more respect to young girls, a move which she said could redound to the benefit of the nation if certain procedures were to be implemented.

"When I go into the institutions, we have a real stink attitude in this country. From you see a little girl and she is 10 'a muss a man she a look, she a bad pickney, she a bruk way pickney'," she lamented in her adopted Jamaican vernacular during this week's Monday Exchange hosted by Jamaica Observer journalists at the newspaper's Beechwood Avenue officesin Kingston.

"From the day a little girl can wiggle in her pampers, what is it she hears? 'If you can't wine you waist you no ketch no man'. Our little boys, from the day they have their first erection in their pampers, everybody tell them how they are stallions and how them are this and they are that, and masturbate them too, show them about them iron pipe. That's what it is when you are playing with a child. It is abuse. We dress up little girls like they are big women. We are feeding the eyes of the paedophile and we are allowing him to groom her further," Morgan said.

The Ireland-born woman who lives in Jamaica said that such behaviour had become culturalised, although it is not the culture of Jamaica.

"I have gone into children's homes and I have heard the gateman calling 'Yow grandpa'. (I would respond) 'Excuse me sir, did you call'? And he would say 'you don't see the size of her backside? These are the people we have employed to take care of and safeguard our children," Morgan said.

Giving an example of how unsympathetic some officials in children's homes could be, Morgan cited an incident at the Diamond Crest children's facility when the girls became rowdy on a Saturday afternoon.

The discussion that led to the additional heat from the girls, she said, had been centred on the recent fatal fire at the Armadale facility for girls and one of the wards got upset.

"The response of the staff was far less than sympathetic. I looked at a member of staff and said 'Madam, do you not hear what this child has just told us'? 'Oh you think she is the only one who was raped', she asked me... 'I was raped too,' in which case I told her that she should be more sympathetic.

"They look at them as bad pickney. This thing coming with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science and Technology starts with the premise that our children are no good, all they want to do is have sex and smoke ganja.

"This is the premise that this programme is starting from. It is starting from the premise that our children have no innate good -- that we have to brainwash them into it and break them. Everything we do with children in this country is violent. We talk to them with pure vile and violence in our mouths. Every generation has looked upon the younger generation as the generation of violence and treated them as such.

"Any child that comes into State care who can walk and talk, you can guarantee they will put them down as being bad pickney. But there is no bad pickney... only bad bringing up. And I am not putting that on just the parents, because they were children themselves who had no care and no support," Morgan said.

He argued that conditions in inner-city communities also put severe pressure on how they are raised.

From the day the children are born in the innercity, she said, they have to forget everything that they see and they hear in their houses, in their yards, in their communities.

"Yet we expect them to learn and remember when they go to school. It doesn't work. Already we are splitting their personalities from the day they are born. Already we are grooming them for mental health problems from day one," she stated.

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