Barbados Chief Magistrate Urges Parenting Classes

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

Barbados Today:– Chief Magistrate Ian Weekes wants to see the introduction of mandatory parenting classes, he has suggested to a public forum.

In the same way that people are taught to drive, they should receive lessons on what is appropriate parenting behaviour for children, he said Tuesday at the Cave Hill Wesleyan Holiness Church, as he urged churches to give a moral foundation for creating law-abiding citizens.

He said: “Then the school is also involved. So, I am saying that you have all of these institutions who must work together before the children reach this stage.”

The Chief Magistrate was speaking on the monthly Man Talk discussion series that examined the topic – Is Jail time working out for the betterment of lawbreakers – hosted by the church’s men’s ministry.

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Weekes suggested that deejays on the airwaves teach more to children than their parents. He said the country needs to come to grips with the damage that subcultures are doing to children that eventually leads them to the law courts.

But the Chief Magistrate insisted that judicial officers are doing their best to help young people who appear before the courts, through assistance from the Probation Department, social workers, the Child Care Board and a number of other agencies, before sentencing takes place.

Commenting that most countries frown upon ex-convicts, Weekes said there must be a concerted programme to address the needs of those who have been released from prison.

He said: “So, we must start a programme out here to try to deal with a lot of these issues. And when we start that programme out here to try to sensitize people that my cousin or your cousin will have to re-integrate into society, what do we do to help them from going back inside? As long as we can start a programme of sensitization such as that, I believe that we can start to make a difference. But I do believe that identifying those persons beyond just craft because there are actually some very articulate persons who are in prison.

“If we can identify those talents, and we can set up a mentorship programme of those kinds, I am sure that you will see better results in terms of being re-integrated into society and finding jobs. But we must accept first of all that we are a very unforgiving society and this is where the church must play a major role and certainly, I believe that Reverend [Dr Lucille] Baird is one of the shining lights in that regard.”

Headline photo courtesy Derek Thomson (Unsplash.com)

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