Government Warns Perpetrators
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Health authorities in Trinidad and Tobago have warned of persons soliciting donations for the surgery for a baby diagnosed with bone marrow cancer.
The Ministry of Health said that it has not authorised any entity to undertake such an initiative after indicating that those involved were using fake documents from various institutions to solicit the funds.
It said that the public could be easily deceived into accepting the document as legitimate since it bears the Coat of Arms, the name of the Ministry of Health, the crest of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service as well as the logos of the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) and the Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society.
But the Ministry of Health insists that the document is not legitimate and is urging the public to refrain from making any financial or other donations.
It said that the police are carrying out investigations.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Children’s Authority, Haniff Benjamin, says he is sometimes moved to tears and has sleepless nights over the heinous cases of child abuse being investigated by the agency.
“From last year into this year we have seen some of the most atrocious acts against our children and we have seen it from year to year to year to year,” he said.
Speaking at a Church service here on Sunday, Benjamin said “somehow when I sit as the chairman of the Children’s Authority, the authority responsible for care and protection, I have a different view, a view that makes me tired and weary, a view that makes me cry, a view that makes me weak when I listen to the types of cases that are coming to us every day.
“I cannot help but shed a tear. I cannot help but try to understand what wrong with Trinidad and Tobago,’ Benjamin said, noting that since the inception of the Children’s Authority in 2015 there has been more than 55,000 calls for child protection, of which 13,500 required their intervention.
He said international statistics show that for every one call, four calls should have been made.
“We talking about nearly the entire youth population. We are receiving 20 to 30 calls a day for care and protection. Over the past couple of months I cannot sleep when the night come because is video after video after video being sent to me. ‘Mr Benjamin I need you to investigate this. What going on with this?’
“We have where a child is produced in a video saying, ‘Lord I need help I am being prostituted.’ Thirteen years old. We have a video where a child skin is rotting from neglect and abuse. We have a video with child performing oral sex. We are living in perilous times and it seems as if our children are pushed further and further in the back,” he said.
Benjamin said data show that sexual and physical abuse and neglect are the most prevalent. What is most heart-breaking, he added, is that the very people who should love, care and protect are the ones hurting children.
“I am not sure if the 13,000 cases is the sad part, or the worst part is the parents who should be protecting our loved ones committing these heinous acts. The data is saying to us that we are failing our children. The data is saying to us that we have abdicated our responsibility to our children. The data is saying to us that we no longer are caring for our children the way we ought to. It is saying that we the adults are not doing enough for our most vulnerable.”
Benjamin said he wants perpetrators of child abuse brought before the courts. – CMC