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Apr 4, 2016

Human Development Ministry Has Concerns about Curfew

Judith Alpuche

The implementation of a curfew on unaccompanied minors after nine p.m. by Eastern Division South Regional Commander Chester Williams has stirred a firestorm. ACP Williams announced several weeks ago that the program would be implemented as a result of recent murders that were allegedly committed by minors.  While the move has received support by residents and on social media, UNICEF and the Human Development Ministry are not a hundred percent on board. According to the ministry, the issue brings to light the shortcomings of by families to provide a safe environment for children. According to C.E.O. Alpuche, while they agree on the objective of child protection, there are concerns about the methodology.

 

Judith Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Human Development

“We definitely have concerns. We understand and share the ultimate objective of keeping children safe. We have concerns about the methodology that is being proposed and so we are in discussions; I think that has come up in the media that we are in discussions with the police and other entities to see how we can do this more holistically. To me this is a piece of the puzzle—what we are doing here with the LIRC, what we are doing with the YCT, what is going on at Gateway because it is really about the prevention side. How do you engage young people? How do you find positive things for them to do? How do you get them back into schools? So we really have to be talking to truancy as well and it really has to be a holistic approach because you pick them off the road, off the street at night and then what? So the interventions that need to happen with their families as well…all that. So if you are going to come at it from a holistic point of view, then we really need to work together and we will need more resources because if we had all the resources that we needed, it would have been solved. But we are trying to see how we can leverage all that we have in a concerted way and in a way that doesn’t penalize children for the shortcoming of their parents. If a child is on the road and you pick up that child, then what is the responsibility of the parent in all that and you are detaining the child. So we have concerns as to how we can meet the objective of keeping children safe and engaged in a way that does not penalize them for the shortcomings, in a way that respects their rights, in a way that supports their families.”

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