Prime minister says no to corporal punishment

Saturday, October 07, 2017

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OCHO RIOS, St Ann — Prime Minister Andrew Holness has urged parents to find alternative methods to discipline their children and to stop using corporal punishment.

Holness, who was speaking at a ceremony to officially open the expanded operating theatre and the renovated male surgical ward and to handover a new ambulance at the Ann's Bay Regional Hospital yesterday, 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.

Holness said while he can understand the pressure faced by parents, he does not support corporal punishment.

“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 [but] let me make it clear, while I understand, it is not acceptable.”

Holness, who described the video as a cultural manifestation, said corporal punishment has had significant psychological damage on the nation's children as it has taught children to use violence to deal with their problems.

The prime minister said, however, that he would not condemn the mother as she will answer to the law of the land.

He made it clear, however, that the action of the St Thomas woman in video in no way represent the standard of parenting in Jamaica. “Let us agree that corporal punishment is not good for our society,” he added.

The prime minister said, too, that he was concerned about parents who subject their children to things such as incest and other sexual crimes.

— Renae Dixon

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