KINGSTON, Jamaica, November 5, 2019 (CMC) – Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, has reiterated the need for greater parental supervision and protection of children from catastrophic events, such as fires, which can be prevented.
He made the plea in the aftermath of a tragedy in the western parish of St. James, in which two young boys were killed when a fire razed their home, last Friday.
The Prime Minister said many of these fires are the result of negligence and a lack of attention to fire hazards.
“Exposed flames are a danger to children, and their use should be discontinued with immediacy. Fire hazards, such as candles, kerosene lamps, exposed electrical wiring, flammable items, accelerants and all other such hazards, should be removed in all instances, and kept out of the reach of children where necessary,” he stated.
The Prime Minister is also encouraging parents not to leave their children unattended, at any time or in the care of another minor.
“Supervision is important to prevent these disasters; we must ensure that the safety of our children is always our foremost concern,” he added.
On Friday, eight-year-old Javinchie Palmer and one-year-old Tyler McLeod, died in the fire. The police say that their mother, 28-year-old Shantel Brown, was taken into custody on suspicion of child neglect.
Holness has been very vocal about the issue of open flame fires as an imminent danger to children.
“In the last few years, I have embarked on a solar light distribution program, intended to replace the use of open flames as a source of lighting in poorer households. The lights are charged by sunlight in the daytime and last up to eight hours when fully charged,” he said.
“Yours is the responsibility of protecting the precious lives of these children, who are the future of our country. Stop leaving your children carelessly, to die tragic deaths. Be vigilant in protecting your children from harm,” he advised.