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The glaring truth

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EDITOR: In the Searchlight of Thursday, April 13, 2006, the following was printed: “Deborah Rodney pointed out that preliminary results in a recent survey showed that 63 per cent of males and 37 per cent of females admitted having sex before they were 15 years old. Twenty per cent of babies born in St. Vincent and Grenadines were born to teenaged mothers. Deborah stressed that this was an indication that the country should “get real” and face up to the fact that “young people are engaging in sexual intercourse”.{{more}}

The preceding excerpt was clearly designed to make Vincentians think that teen-on-teen sex was responsible for the 20 per cent of babies born to teen moms.

In the Searchlight of Friday, June 16, 2006, the following was printed under the bold heading MENACE: “Consultant Pediatrician at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, Dr. Bharati Datta believes that at least 90 per cent of teenage mothers that give birth at the hospital are impregnated by an older man or relative”. Both Coleen Mc Donald, current President of the Family Court, and Sharon Morris Cummings, former President of the Family Court, concurred that the number of cases of statutory rape and incest they were aware of was consistent with Dr. Datta’s analysis. Three highly qualified, local professionals on the frontline of dealing with such cases agree that the overwhelming cause of teen pregnancy in SVG was not teen-on-teen sex as Deborah Rodney would have us believe, but rather crimes committed on teens by adult males.

Even after this glaring written refutation, Ms. Rodney still had the audacity to appear on NBC’s “Face to Face” morning program shortly before the 2006 Carnival weekend, and again imply that teen-on-teen sexual activity was responsible for the 20 per cent of births to teens.

Why is Ms. Rodney so intent on misrepresenting this statistic? By this misrepresentation, Ms. Rodney is minimizing an abhorrent scourge that needs immediate attention. In so doing it gives the predatory criminals and parents who accept their bribes the impression that they could continue with business as usual.

As if this were not outrageous enough, Ms. Rodney added insult to injury by asserting that what the teens (who are victims of abuse) need are condoms. Giving these condoms to teens along with a pat on the back. would benefit only the criminals who would now be able to commit their crimes with the HIV/Aids Units’ blessing.

Then, in the build-up to Carnival 2006, she made known her intentions of giving condoms to anyone who approached the HIV/Aids Unit booth. Ms. Rodney indicated that she was even going to give them to intoxicated persons. In the midst of a permissive atmosphere with highly suggestive music, and skimpily clad women gyrating their various parts, could handing condoms to intoxicated people result in responsible behaviour or correct condom use?

Authorities at the Ministry of Health need to sit with her and advise her against this action.

The failure of the Media, the Legal Fraternity, the Medical Association and the Christian Council, to yet raise public objection to any part of the above is incomprehensible.

SALT

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