Prime Minister Andrew Holness has given the clearest signal that his administration was not afraid to go against the grain of culture and pass legislation to outlaw corporal punishment, which has been a decades-old mode of punishing children in Jamaica.
At the same time, Opposition Leader Mark Golding said that banning corporal punishment would be a symbolic step to tackling the problem, noting that this was a trend worldwide.
However, Golding noted that Jamaica was a “deeply Christian country” that embraced the biblical admonition that parents should not ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’. This, Golding reasoned, was still considered to be “sound precept in many homes”.
“Many of us have grown up where some minor forms of punishment of a physical nature may have been imparted without any obvious lasting damage – I don’t know whether banning it in the form of criminalising it so that parents face criminal sanctions if they slap their child if that would be well accepted across the nation – I don’t know,” Golding said.