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Charge men who get underage girls pregnant — Trinidad official

By Radhica Sookraj

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Kevin Rati­ram

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — At­tor­ney and pres­i­dent of the Rapid­fire Kidz Foun­da­tion Kevin Rati­ram is call­ing on the po­lice to strict­ly en­force laws against old­er men im­preg­nat­ing teenaged girls.

His com­ments came af­ter the chair­man of a Joint Se­lect Com­mit­tee of Par­lia­ment, Paul Richards, re­vealed that every month at least 62 teenage girls be­tween the ages of 13 to 19 were re­port­ed as preg­nant.

Sta­tis­tics showed that over a five-year pe­ri­od, 570 girls ages 13 to 16 be­came preg­nant, while for the same pe­ri­od there were 2,907 cas­es of girls ages 17 to 19 get­ting preg­nant.

Speak­ing to the me­dia yes­ter­day fol­low­ing an East­er toy dis­tri­b­u­tion dri­ve at the pae­di­atric ward of the San Fer­nan­do Teach­ing Hos­pi­tal, Rati­ram said it was im­por­tant for every­one to keep their eyes open for in­ap­pro­pri­ate sex­u­al be­hav­iour be­tween adults and chil­dren.

“Ed­u­cat­ing young girls is key. The law has to be strict­ly en­forced when it comes to adult men im­preg­nat­ing teenaged girls and hav­ing any sort of sex­u­al af­fil­i­a­tion with them,” he said.

Rati­ram said of­ten mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ty and par­ents turned a blind eye.

“We need a proac­tive ap­proach when it comes to the com­mu­ni­ty. It can­not be left up to the par­ents and the po­lice. Every­one has to have a watch­ful eye on teens and speaks out when they see a re­la­tion­ship that is in­ap­pro­pri­ate and down­right il­le­gal and crim­i­nal,” he said.

Rati­ram, who said he will be em­bark­ing on a parental guid­ance pro­gramme lat­er in the year, al­so ex­pressed con­cern about re­ports of phys­i­cal and emo­tion­al abuse of chil­dren.

He said some par­ents were in need of guid­ance when it comes to rais­ing chil­dren.

“It is easy to phys­i­cal­ly be­come a par­ent but the re­spon­si­bil­i­ty that goes along with par­ent­ing is a very se­ri­ous re­spon­si­bil­i­ty,” he said.

Rati­ram added that a team of sup­port­ers com­pris­ing ed­u­ca­tors, med­ical doc­tors, psy­chi­a­trists and psy­chol­o­gists was de­vel­op­ing an ed­u­ca­tion­al pro­gramme to deal with par­ent­ing and deal­ing with chil­dren with be­hav­iour­al dif­fi­cul­ties.

He said the project would re­quire vol­un­teers and fi­nan­cial re­sources and his or­gan­i­sa­tion would be reach­ing out to the pri­vate sec­tor and the gov­ern­ment for as­sis­tance.

“We hope to launch the project by Sep­tem­ber 2019. Ed­u­ca­tion is al­ways key and our teenaged girls in par­tic­u­lar need to be shown the dan­gers of en­gag­ing in sex­u­al in­ter­course and the risks of preg­nan­cy which could de­stroy the rest of their life.

“It places them in a pre­car­i­ous po­si­tion to pro­vide a sta­ble home and en­vi­ron­ment for her ba­by,” he said.

A to­tal of 40 chil­dren from the pae­di­atric wards on the three lev­els of the Teach­ing Hos­pi­tal re­ceived toys yes­ter­day. Rati­ram the an­nu­al event and it was par­tial­ly spon­sored by the San Fer­nan­do City Cor­po­ra­tion and May­or Ju­nia Re­grel­lo.

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