Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 25th 2014 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, April 25, 2014
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Legislation to outlaw corporal
punishment against children in
homes may not be the appropriate
measure to deal with acts of violence
against children, says activist Hazel
Brown, in a telephone interview
yesterday, said while it was the
responsibility of the Prime Minister
to determine the course of action,
what was needed may be a conver-
sation on the rights of the child.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar said on Wednesday she
would look at legislation dealing with
corporal punishment in homes.
Legislation to outlaw corporal pun-
ishment in schools is yet to be pro-
Corporal punishment in the home
has been outlawed in over 30 coun-
tries, though not in any Caribbean
Persad-Bissessar s statement fol-
lowed the release of video footage
on Facebook of a mother repeatedly
lashing out at her daughter with a
belt, while using obscene language,
over her inappropriate use of social
The incident has drawn public out-
cry with commentators split between
support of the mother s tactics and
outrage over what they saw as abuse.
"I don t believe that legislation
would deal with the problem," Brown
She felt the mother s response to
the situation was an indication of
the "poor and inappropriate" par-
enting in T&T.
"Children are learning that if you
have a problem, the way to deal with
it is with violence. That message
must change," she added.
Brown said the fact that members
of the public supported the video
meant that something was wrong
with the country.
"That woman is not a model par-
ent for anybody."I feel sorry for both
the woman and her child. I think it s
very sad. The mother, child and other
children need help," she added.
The mother, Helen Bartlett, has
defended her treatment of her daugh-
ter.In an interview with the T&T
Guardian yesterday she admitted to
no wrongdoing but said she wanted
the incident to be forgotten.
"I just need this to go away. I dis-
ciplined her (the 12-year-old daugh-
ter) and it was the best way I saw fit
as a mother," Bartlett said.
Gareth Lalla, an executive member
of the Single Fathers Association of
T&T, said members of his association
had varying views on the subject.
He added, however, his view was
that corporal punishment in any form
had a negative impact on children.
"It is very necessary to discipline
your children but what disciplinary
measures you choose to take is
"I feel that people make mistakes
and prefer to act out in frustration
rather than trying to correct their
errors," he said.
The father of the 12-year-old girl whose Facebook
flogging post has created a firestorm of comments
over discipline has disputed her mother s claim that
he was a deadbeat dad.
He spoke on Vibe CT 105.1 FM s Mixed Nuts morn-
ing programme yesterday but declined to reveal his
name due to his occupation.
The man said he had always been there for his
However, he admitted since his separation from
Helen Bartlett, the mother of the children there were
some problems which hindered his communication
with his two daughters.
He said he was only made aware of the incident
when someone called him and alerted him to the
video of Bartlett beating the child with a belt which
has since gone viral on YouTube and Facebook.
In a telephone interview yesterday, a close relative
of the father told the T&T Guardian, via telephone,
the father met with an attorney yesterday and they
have started the process of filing a libel lawsuit against
"He met with his lawyer and we have a strong case
because she has scandalised his name and have borne
false witness against him. Legal action is being pre-
pared. It is already in process," she said.
Asked whether he would be applying for custody
of his children, the relative said the court had already
awarded legal custody to the mother.
"The children will still want their mother in their
lives," she added.
During a radio interview with i95.5 FM hosts Dale
Enoch and Tony Lee on Wednesday, Bartlett said she
was yet to hear from the child s father. Bartlett said
the father had refused to get involved in the matter.
The relative said: "He can t get them so right now
he is trying to see about his name. This has rocked
the family. It had shocked him. He is traumatised and
hurt by this."
The relative said that because the child s father is
a police officer, both of them would remain anonymous
The viral video of the Bartlett beating her daughter
stemmed from a text message she received informing
her that a teenage boy was trying to persuade the girl
to have sex.
After searching her daughter s Facebook profile,
she found seductive photos of her daughter.
Although Bartlett s action and the video have been
criticised by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar,
police and other public figures, there has been support
for the mother on social networking sites.
Activist on outlawing 'licks' in homes:
That's not the way to go
pm for a one-hour special
examining the issue of corporal
punishment. The panel, hosted
by Francesca Hawkins, includes
criminologist Renee Cummings
and pastor Clive Dottin, who will
explore the pros and cons on the
issue. Viewers will get a chance
to join the discussion.
SPECIAL TONIGHT ON CNC 3
Girl's dad plans libel
suit against mother
TRIBUTE TO LARA
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