Member of Parliament for Babonneau and Minister for Gender Relations and Family Affairs, Alvina Reynolds, is expressing grave concerns regarding the rate of absenteeism among students at various schools on the island.
The minister said the issue of truancy has become a social scourge which does not auger well for youth and national development.
She said research has shown that an alarming number of students in the Babonneau community have made absenteeism from class a habit.
“Whether the reasons stems from issues of broken families and homes, financial constraints, neglect, substance abuse or feelings of insecurity caused by bullying, we in Babonneau must ramp up charitable responses working with the police, schools, families and various support social agencies to deal with truancy,” she said.
Minister Reynolds has also reiterated a call for an urgent end to abuse and discrimination which she said continues to plague the overall development in Saint Lucia.
The minister said every citizen has a fundamental right to be treated equally despite one’s social or economic background.
“Justice is the right to be treated fairly, equally and without discrimination irrespective of one race, gender, skin colour, religion, disability, age or any other characteristics. It is therefore unjust and morally wrong for anyone to abuse children, minors, the mentally ill, elderly citizens and people with disabilities, and I speak here of abuse in all it’s forms – sexual, physical, neglect, emotional and physiological abuse,” she noted.
The parliamentary representative said she will be working with the relevant agencies and community support groups to address an apparent increase in reported domestic violence cases in Babonneau.
She has also vowed to ensure unified action is taken against the perpetrators of such crimes.