By Robert A. Emmanuel
The Family and Social Services Division (FSSD) within the Ministry of Social Transformation has issued a statement strongly condemning the act of public indecency and “child abuse” that occurred in St. John’s during the 2019 Carnival celebrations.
The incident, which was caught on camera and shared on social media, caught the attention of the government department which stated that as part of its primary function to protect youth and children and to provide guidance for families, “Any failure to condemn this activity in the strongest possible terms would be a dereliction of our responsibility to the public, to families, to the youth, and to future generations”.
The referenced incident involved an adult female publicly engaging the minor in dancing meant to simulate sexual activity, something the Division described as “open obscenity”.
A security worker near the scene quickly stepped and pulled the child away from the female.
The FSSD congratulated the security officer for her “prompt act of social responsibility”, and said it “would encourage members of the public to emulate her behaviour in the event that such an incident should occur at any future time”.
The department, in its statement, said while the event was videotaped, if it was initially handed over to the proper authorities, this would have resulted in a discreet and efficient investigation. It lamented that the recording was instead unhelpfully posted on social media, “attracting unhealthy attention from the general public”.
“That mischievous action is also to be condemned, and it is the hope that, in the future, persons will be more responsible and refer such videos to the FSSD or the police,” the statement continued.
The directorate called upon relevant organizations in the country to take urgent note of an unhealthy movement, and to work vigorously to arrest and reverse a destructive trend illustrated by individuals clearly in need of guidance from the wider society.
The statement from the FSSD followed similar sentiments made by the Minister of Social Transformation Samantha Marshall where, in an interview with OBSERVER media, she said that engaging in any form of egregious behaviour has no excuse.
“When I played mas’, I did not act in a lewd way because I did not drink. Some persons will use this as an opportunity to make an excuse for their behaviour and it is not really a situation of drinking,” Minister Marshall explained.