A moral outrage Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
January 19, 2007

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ONE can only describe the terrible death of nine-year old Basmatttie Seecharran as a moral outrage.

This young child before whom life had just begun to unfold was found dead on Tuesday last.

A post mortem report confirmed that she was strangled and raped. The response to such a gruesome tragedy can only be one of indignation over the fact that the life of this young child could have been so senselessly snuffed out in such horrific circumstances.

It is time for the entire nation to take stock of what is taking place within our society and accept our collective failure in protecting our young children.

Whether it is in the home, at schools or in our communities, our children are vulnerable and it is the duty of each and every citizen to seek to ensure the safety and protection of our children.

For years, we have been reading about the ordeal some of our children endure at the hands of abusive parents, abuse that often begins with spousal cruelty and then extends to trauma and other forms of ill-treatment of children. Within our school system also it is not uncommon for children to face threats from their peers.

One defining feature of all of these forms of abuse is the advantage that is taken of the weak and vulnerable. Those unable to protect themselves, those physically and financially weak, those without adequate emotion support are the ones most vulnerable to abuse.

It is time that as a society we begin to take a firm stand against these forms of abuse, to encourage victims, especially victims of domestic abuse, to speak about what is happening within homes, for the adults must at times become the voice for the children who are often afraid and too intimidated to seek assistance.

Within every community it is time that we pay attention to abusive relations, often warning signs of imminent tragedy. It is time that we reach out to those who are neglected and abandoned since it is these persons that are at a higher risk of being taken advantage of.

In his New Year’s address to the nation, the President of Guyana indicated that this year the government will be taking steps to protect the vulnerable within our society. Already it is believed legislation is being drafted that would treat more firmly with those who are inclined towards inflicting abuse on the weak and vulnerable.

We commend the government for its stated commitment towards the weak within our society.

While, it is now too late to reverse the loss of young Basmttite Seecharan, her death should galvanise the entire nation to make a more concerted effort to protect our citizens against the abuse of battery, rape and others forms of personal violence.

We call on religious and community groupings to begin to take a more active stand against all forms of violence against the person, to stand in solidarity especially with our women folk and our children and through this solidarity to make a difference in the lives of those who suffer personal indignities in their daily lives.

The dignity of our children must be respected. They must be loved and cared for. Not abused.

We sympathise with the grieving family of Basmattie Seecharran and hope that her death will mark a defining moment in the way we respond to the weak and vulnerable within our society.