Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 16th 2014 Contents A7
February 16, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
older men on the beaches in the
area, Elie said this was the norm.
"The girls would go with men
who have funds. They would use
the money to buy outfits...nice
clothes. The question people are
asking is: Where are their parents
when the children are outside?"
Elie said he knows of two school-
girls who got pregnant in the vil-
Asked if the babies are provided
for by the fathers, Elie responded:
"You are asking me a million-dol-
lar question, but the answer is no.
The thing about it is... they do not
even tell their parents who is the
father of their child."
Elie said the problem is exacer-
bated by the fact that villagers would
not speak out on pertinent issues
affecting the community.
Since last year, Elie said, their
community centre and pavilion have
been under repairs, while jobs are
few and far between.
"There is nothing to keep these
youngsters occupied in a meaningful
way," Elie said.
Charles: Villagers too secretive
Also expressing similar sentiments
was former president of the Blan-
chisseuse Community Council Owen
Charles and his wife Loney, both
elders in the community.
Owen, 81, said boys in the village
are not academically inclined and
not interested in obtaining a skill to
make themselves men.
Instead, they prefer to sit at the
street corner and "cuss, fight, or
kick ball" rather than do something
He said what was equally disturb-
ing was the fact that sexual activity
among teenage girls is kept hush-
hush in the close-knit community.
"You would hear people talking
under their breath about a girl or
girls involved in sexual activity, but
that is as far as it goes. Wrongs are
committed, but it would never reach
the ears of the police."
Owen said long ago, primary and
secondary students were lectured
by the police.
The secondary school students
were advised to "condomise" when
having sex to prevent sexually trans-
mitted diseases and unwanted preg-
nancies, while pupils in the primary
schools were taught family values
and respect for their parents and
This, Owen said, needed to be
"The police need to ask parents
and children to come out together
so we could tackle these problems,"
In some instances, Owen said,
boys would drop out of secondary
school, preferring "to walk up and
down the road whole day. They are
Loney, 84, agreed that parents had
failed in their responsibility and were
not setting limits for their children,
who were doing as they please.
"The children have very little
ambition. Education, to them, is not
a priority. From the time you become
a teenager you could do what you
want and go where you want. There
is no control by parents. There is no
discipline. It s time parents wake up.
They bring these children into the
world... they have a right to take
care of them."
Long ago, Loney said, children
were rooted in religion, which helped
them to decipher right from wrong.
"Why would a parent allow their
teenage daughter to wear a halter
top to church? That is not for church.
Miss, this is hurting us because that
is not what I know and that is not
what I expect from young people.
They are not growing up with any
Loney said the Blanchisseuse
Police do not interact with villagers
and work with families who are going
through difficult times.
"Police does come and police
does go. They do not mess with
anybody," Loney said.
Teen pregnancy, delinquency rampant...
'Parents just don't care'
Continues from Page A6
...Skills training and jobs desperately needed
Samuel identified unemployment and lack of
skills as the community's biggest challenges. He
said the community centre and pavilion which he
met in disrepair in 2010 are currently being
Samuel said Blanchisseuse has many single
mothers; and too many of their girl children find
themselves in relationships with men in order to
"We have a lot of single parenting all over, and I
am not too sure if the nation understands that
anybody can bring forth a child but not everyone
can be a parent."
He said teenage pregnancy was wholly a parental and social problem.
Though a lot has been done in the village in the last 45 months, Samuel
said, "There is only so much we can do in a community and no more," since
there were no industries and government agencies to provide employment
for young graduates.
A few month ago, Samuel said, the 11 primary and three secondary
schools in his constituency were identified as the "worst performing"
schools by the Education Ministry.
In a bid to improve the students' academic performance, Samuel said he
met the schools' 14 principals, asking them to outline educational
weaknesses and strengths in a report, in order to chart a new way forward.
Two years have since passed, Samuel said, and few principals ever
submitted a report after being told by the school supervisor that they had
no authority to meet with him.
Samuel said he was now pushing to have a re-development programme
instituted in the community.
"In these rural areas, schools should not be closed after 3 pm. We are
trying to turn the Blanchisseuse Secondary School into a redevelopment
centre where we can offer retraining for young people who slip through the
A bus will be provided to transport lecturers and teachers in and out of
the area, Samuel said.
"We have been trying to help."
MP: WE HAVE BEEN TRYING
Blanchisseuse residents scale fish by the river. PHOTO:ABRAHAM DIAZ
A farmer walks with green figs
from a garden in the area.
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