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Parliament Passes Historic Child Protection Legislation

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ST.GEORGE’S, GRENADA, OCTOBER 29th, 2010_The Grenada government has crossed yet another milestone in its promise to improve legislation relating to the protection of the rights of children and the vulnerable, with the passage of the Child (Protection and Adoption) Bill 2010, in Parliament on Friday.

Grenada became the first country in the seven-member Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to enact the bill, previously called the Child (Care and Protection) Bill 2010.

Amid the debate, the bill received bi-partisan support, a rare show of unity, from both sides of the Lower House. Several speakers on both sides of the house described the bill as “very timely and very necessary.”

In his contribution to the debate, Prime Minister Tillman Thomas said the foundation of child abuse is found more in “the lack of a proper value system than in economic conditions.”

“We cannot use economic challenges to justify the abuse of children; you find abuse at all levels of our society,” said Prime Minister Thomas.

He agreed with the Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, Hon. Nazim Burke, who, speaking in his contribution to the debate declared that “the passage of this bill is not an isolated act, but part of my government’s plan for the protection of our children.”

In leading the passage of the bill, Social Services Minister Sylvester Quarless said he regarded the bill as “historic, extremely timely and extremely necessary.”

The bill allows for mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse cases by persons involved in various professional areas of a child’s development, including education specialists and health care professionals. The passage of the bill climaxes several years of work on reforming the laws relating to the Family and Domestic Violence in Grenada and the OECS.

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