(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.