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Break the cycle of child abuse

Mayor Ramsay makes appeal at Palm Sunday service

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND Observer staff reporter

Monday, April 21, 2014    

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Mandeville Mayor Brenda Ramsay has called for more care to be taken in guiding and protecting the nation's children who are increasingly becoming victims of abuse.

She described it is an "awesome" responsibility that should not be taken lightly.

"....I say this especially in light of the fact that in recent times we have had numerous reports of institutions and places that should be places of safety... persons who (children) are depending on to nurture them and to protect them have become abusers," Mayor Ramsay said at a Palm Sunday service at Ebenezer United Church in Manchester on April 13.

The service was used to launch activities for the 120th Anniversary of Albion Primary School.

According to anniversary organisers, about 70 per cent of the Albion school house is the original structure. It was first used by the United Church as a mission house for parishioners in the communities of Albion, May Day and Knockpatrick more than 100 years ago.

Ebenezer United Church, which is some distance from the education institution, is considered its "roots".

The theme for Albion Primary's celebratory year is '120 years and More: Roots, Branches and Beyond'.

"The theme represents the school's vision of calling attention to its excellent foundation, rooted in the lasting principles of the word of God, the high standards established by teachers over the years and the far-reaching branches the institution has spread through its graduates who can be found giving service around the world...," said Principal Paulette Chedda.

Parish manager for the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) in Manchester Vivien Morris-Brown participated in the church service in her capacities as past student, past teacher and present community representative to the school board.

Mayor Ramsay encouraged the school administration to continue to provide the required nurturing for children in their formative years.

Citing a report from the Child Development Agency (CDA) she said that there was a significant increase in the incidence of child abuse for 2013 in comparison to 2012.

"Let us not forget that children live what they learn. Researchers are now suggesting that the matter of child abuse is a cycle and it is believed that a child who has been abused will end up being an abuser. This means that this cycle will live on from generation to generation unless we intervene. As responsible citizens we have an obligation to break this cycle...," she said.

Ministry of Education representative Kennecy Davidson said she was happy to see that schools continue to respect the critical role that the church has to play in the education of children.

She said it was also a message to the rest of the society that education is not only about one ministry but required the effort of an entire nation.

"If everyone of us here today pledges within our hearts to make a difference, one root at a time, providing the soil that is necessary, Jamaica will become a better place...," said Davidson.

Other planned activities for the year include a PTA Community Extravaganza on April 21, a Grand Open Day on May 6 and the launch of the Past Students Association and an Anniversary Reunion Banquet in October.

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