Minister appeals to community to help protect kids

| 29/05/2023 | 37 Comments
Education Minister Juliana O'Connor-Connolly, Cayman News Service
Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly

(CNS): Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly has issued an appeal to parents, teachers and the community as a whole to commit to protecting, as well as educating, the children of the Cayman Islands. In a message marking Child Month, she said that despite the work being done, “child abuse… is still far too prevalent, which suggests that we have not yet managed to create a safe environment for all children”. 

Child Month was carved out to highlight the needs of children, and this year’s theme is “Investing in Our Children Means Investing in Our Future”. O’Connor-Connolly said, “It is well-known that, over the years, we have invested heavily in teaching and learning resources. We have done this to improve the educational opportunities presented to our students. 

“However, we also recognise that it is essential to invest in developing resources that will guarantee a safe learning environment for every child under our care. To this end, we have worked diligently to institute National policies for educational institutions outlining code of conduct expectations for adults, safe environment requirements, and a framework for the mandate to report suspicions of child abuse and neglect.”

Since 2021, around 2,700 people working and volunteering in educational institutions, both government and private sector, have completed the online child safeguarding training, and almost 1,300 have completed the in-person module to help them spot signs of child abuse.

But the government alone cannot succeed in protecting all children, and the broader society must prioritise their wellbeing, she said.  

“I urge all parents, guardians and other caregivers to let us all work together to create a safe environment for our nation’s children,” the minister said. “In so doing, you must be vigilant, set up child-friendly spaces, engage in open conversations with your children, and listen carefully to their concerns.”

Thanking all those who champion the well-being of our children, the minister urged anyone who suspects a child is being abused or neglected to contact the child protection officer assigned to the child’s school or centre. They will then report the matter to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) for investigation.

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Comments (37)

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  1. Eliza Harford says:

    Well said, Juliana.
    We all need to keep our eyes and ears open, and act if we think a child is being abused.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Useless woman! Please retire.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wanna protect kids? Sack the exorcist Vickie Fredrick as headteacher at Red Bay Primary!

  4. Anonymous says:

    We live in an Altered State run by Pinocchio

  5. Anonymous says:

    Use your governments precious private purse up to help build a facility for them if you give so much as a damn!

    Racking up millions in property fees and COL import taxes and can’t even help our community. Disgraceful

  6. Cheese Face says:

    You wanna protect the kids? Retire woman!

  7. Anonymous says:

    you can start with removing the mandatory christian teachings from public schools.

    don’t force you religion upon kids, that can’t reason and think for themselves yet.

    it is child abuse.

  8. Anonymous says:

    MASH is just a pile of MUSH. From the top down they are a group of inept, incompetent, irresponsible and insensitive group who lack the basic understanding about their role. Mash them down and start afresh with a sensible and responsible organization.

  9. Anonymous says:

    *whew!* that was a close one. I’ve been so worried, but… then…

    “Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly has issued an appeal to parents, teachers and the community as a whole to commit to protecting, as well as educating, the children of the Cayman Islands.”

    Now everything is going to be okay. An appeal. So very effective. Thank you Julie. We heart you.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Kids need protection from criminalisation.

    Any developments on this front?

    • The wellbeing of all children — and not just what other parents’ children might/will cost us as future criminals or costly cases of government care, etcetera — should be of great importance to us all, regardless of whether we’re doing a great job with our own developing children.

      Too many people will procreate regardless of their (in)ability to raise their children in a psychologically functional/healthy manner.

      Many people seem to perceive thus treat human procreative ‘rights’ as though they [people] will somehow, in blind anticipation, be innately inclined to sufficiently understand and appropriately nurture our children’s naturally developing minds and needs.

      A physically and mentally sound future should be every child’s fundamental right — along with air, water, food and shelter — especially considering the very troubled world into which they never asked to enter.

      And mindlessly minding our own business on such matters has too often proven humanly devastating.

      But no such rights exist. Instead, every day of the year needs to be Child Abuse Prevention Month.

      Sadly, due to the common OIIIMOBY mindset (Only If It’s In My Own Back Yard), the prevailing collective attitude, however implicit or subconscious, basically follows: ‘Why should I care — my kids are alright?’ or ‘What is in it for me, the taxpayer, if I support programs for other people’s troubled children?’

  11. Anonymous says:

    Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) opens in Cayman islands to coordinate child protection. [2017]
    “International best practice demonstrates that MASH Units significantly[‼️] improve the sharing of information among agencies,” said Her Excellency the Governor, Helen Kilpatrick, “and helps protect vulnerable children from harm, neglect and abuse. The establishment of the MASH is a big step [‼️]forward toward comprehensive child safeguarding across the islands.”
    “As a society I know that we are all concerned and appalled at any kind of child abuse. As a Government we committed [‼️]to tackle this and have worked together to form this multi-agency group to address the safety and protection of children in the Cayman Islands,” said Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin.

    ❓WHAT HAPPENED TO Alden McLaughlin’s concerns?
    ❓ WHAT HAPPENED TO Her Excellency the Governor promises to significantly improve child protection in the Cayman Islands?
    ❓It has been 6 years since they’ve made the above statements. What MASH achievements are?

    • Anonymous says:

      Below is the link to MASH site. The lates “news” was posted in 2019, which is announcing the MASH launching. The entire site is about links to the numerous other sites. This organization was stillborn. What a mess. Such an embarrassment for all involved.

      CNS: That is not a link to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), which I think formed in 2017, and includes the RCIPS, Department of Children and Family Services and Health Services Authority, as well as the Department of Education Services and other government agencies and NGOs. Reference to MASH appears in relevant criminal cases. There’s more about it here.

      However, due to the sensitivity of what it does, which is tackling domestic violence and child safety cases, you don’t hear much else about it. Therefore, I cannot say how active or inactive it is.

      This link is to the Alliance to End Domestic Violence that was formed in 2019 – see here. It seems to include many of the same entities with much the same focus. I do not know why the Alliance was needed and I have no idea if it is still active. There has been no news about it since it launched, even though part of it stated mandate was to “educate the wider public on how domestic violence impacts the whole society”.

    • Anonymous says:

      MASH does an excellent job of investigating a multitude of cases, and quickly defusing dangerous situations. Hats off to them.

      • Anonymous says:

        Should we take your words? There were so much self-praising in 2017 and now we’re hearing a plea for help in protecting children. So what mash is doing if nothing has changed?

      • Anonymous says:

        “57-year-old man who was convicted of abusing at least six children for a period of several years, one of whom was only five years old ”
        Several years!
        How did MASH overlook several years of abuse of several children?

        In Florida he will be sentenced to die

  12. Anonymous says:

    What does Juliana’s SIPL conflicts register list? At last check, she had failed to submit one at all for all of her PPM/Unity years, despite owning (and paving) many properties in the Brac – including one she had acquired with CIG funds and on discovery, paid back. Shine the light in on this file.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’d be afraid to report any abuse when I know a perpetrator of abuse at Red Bay Primary School has been reinstated after exposing defenseless children to a self-styled exorcism.

    It would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Lets start with your resignation!

  15. Anonymous says:

    There’re so many groups, organizations etc. the whole purpose of which is to prevent child abuse in the Cayman Islands. The documentary about children abused in Cayman was made. Tara, Juliana and other politicians have made many statements about child abuse promising to stop it.
    Unless draconian laws are implemented, like in Florida, making child abuse a capital crime, nothing will change.
    Now, I don’t know what the above mentioned organization’s achievements are, but this message from Juliana is telling us not much.

    • Anonymous says:

      A child with seven nannies loses his eye. Meaning of this proverb: when too many people are in charge of a child’s safety, no one is actually “watching” the child.

      The same with the numerous child protective agencies.

  16. Anonymous says:

    “… not yet managed to create a safe environment for all children.”

    Let that sink in, parents of RBPS children.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The hubris of this whole article.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Why does she always have her glasses on her head?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Yea, she needs to look no further than the Brac!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Community is appealing to minister to educate our kids!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Looking forward to her clamping down on teachers abusing children by subjecting them to exorcisms and other manifestations of the teachers personal beliefs.

    • Al Catraz says:

      But then what are you going to do about the demonic spirits in the kids?

      • Anonymous says:

        Water coolers with holy water. Passive and effective.

        Also, garlic in school meals.

        I’m not 100% sure though – will this protect against demons or just vampires (surely a subset of demons?)


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