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Call to ‘desexualise’ the society

NATASHA BECKLES, [email protected]

Call to ‘desexualise’ the society

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PORT-OF-SPAIN – Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration Dr Rodger Samuel on Friday made a call for society to “desexualise”. (According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary this means to “strip of sexual character”).
Samuel, who is also a Full Gospel pastor, was asked to share his sentiments on the national debate over Point Fortin mother Helen Bartlett who posted a video on Facebook showing her beating her 12-year-old daughter for posting  indecent photos on Facebook.  
“It’s difficult to comment on that. I am concerned about abuse,” he said.
Samuel, who was at the time conducting a tour of renovations at the Red House (Parliament), Port of Spain, also responded to questions about claims by pupils of St Michael’s School for Boys about abuse. 
The institution is being investigated over claims of abuse from three boys, aged 11 to 13, who said they were beaten and verbally abused by staff of the school. The school is also being investigated over the recent death of 14-year-old Brandon Hargreaves who was said to have been play-fighting when he suffered a fatal fall. 
Samuel went on to say both children and adults were daily bombarded with a “sexually charged society”.
He said: “We can ‘desexualise’ the society. If there is such a word as ‘desexualise’. We should look at changing the environment. It is a serious task. And if the state does not have the answers, then we need to turn to the church, Islam, the pundit or imam or else we will continue to have problems. The fool hath said in his heart there is no God.”
Samuel also said it was a biblical injunction to  discipline children. 
He said: “We should not spare the rod and spoil the child. Train up the child in the way it should go and when it is old it will not depart from it. If we are saying parents should not be allowed to discipline their children we have to be careful we are not stepping into grounds that we should not. Discipline in the house is for the parents.” 
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, on learning of the Facebook beating, had responded Wednesday by saying her government would look at legislation that can offer protection to children in their homes. There was a storm of criticism in response to this and on Thursday Persad-Bissessar clarified her position, saying it would not be a unilateral decision but would have to go through the Ministry of Child Development before coming to Cabinet. (Express)