A child protection workshop was held on Nevis on Wednesday 12th October. The workshop which was held at the Red Cross headquarters at Chapel Street, was coordinated by UNICEF and the West Indies Cricket Board.
Mr. Junie Mitcham, Territorial Development Officer for the Leeward Islands Cricket Board, chaired the opening ceremony and his opening remarks, pointed to the fact that the workshop was one of the prerequisites before participants can be accepted into a foundation Cricket course which will be held in Nevis, in mid-November.
The other two prerequisites are: A first Aid course, which will be conducted on Saturday 15th October and each participant must also have an unblemished Police record.
He stated that the teachers and coaches present will be equipped with more than just the basic skills of coaching and noted that the sessions will deal with abuse in all of its forms and how the coaches can deal with varying situations.
Deputy Director at the Social Services Department, Mrs. Kim Singh, represented her boss, Mrs. Sandra Maynard and stated that the hosting of the workshop was a recognition by individuals and agencies that they need to work together in a thrust to protect children from all forms of abuse.
She told the participants that as a requirement of law, they are mandatory reporters of abuse and stated that the Family Services division on the island, has been forced to deal with sue 84 cases of child abuse between 2008 and 2015. She also shared her concern that quite a number of cases still go unreported.
Denrick Liburd, Cricket chief on Nevis and WICB representative, added his voice to the proceedings. He expressed alarm at the statistics provided by Mrs. Singh and stated that the NCA and the WICB detest abuse of children in any form and that they fully sanctioned the workshop.
He asked the participants to make the most of the training so that they can indeed make a difference in the society.
Junior Minister of Sports, Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, deemed it a historic moment and noted that UNICEF has been a long time partner with the NIA and reminded those present that the prestigious organization, teamed up with her Ministry three years ago in the ‘Break the silence’ campaign.
She also commended Mr. Mitcham and the WICB for their efforts in stemming the scourge of child abuse.
She noted that 84 reported cases over a five year period, is unacceptable and asked the participants to be the vanguards of the children in their care.
She also expressed disappointment that more persons did not see it fit to be part of the workshop and wished the participants every success.
Ms. Glentine Wattley, the Facilitator for the course, then led out in the class room activities.