“Protecting the richness of our Cultural Tradition”.

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Carnival should be a time when the entire community and visitors alike enjoy the richness of our cultural traditions through the creative and performing arts. It should be a time when our performing artists, entertainers and cultural icons display their commitment as ambassadors in promoting this country as a carnival destination upholding high moral standards and values. It should also be a time when each citizen and resident can enjoy healthy fun and not be irritated and demoralized by the constant flaunting of rude and crude sexual behavior.

As Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports and also as a citizen of this country, I believe it is my responsibility to sound the alarm that we should not encourage lewdness in public life involving adults and certainly not children & youth.

I wish to address the parents as the primary guardian that their children should not be left unattended, but should be supervised at all times during the festivities. Failure to ensure adequate supervision is a form of neglect and can result in destructive behavior.

As Minister with the responsibility for Education, Culture, Youth and Sports and interim Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, I will be collaborating with the Minister of Justice to address the concerns regarding the ever growing amount of unsupervised minors during the jump ups.

I am therefore calling on the parents to exercise their responsibility and to protect their children from the abuse and use of alcohol and explicit behavior during the jump ups and parades. If we are to pass on the baton to them then it our duty as adults and government is to protect them so that they will become healthy and productive citizens of this society.
I am also calling on all vendors and booth holders to refrain from selling alcoholic beverages to minors as this is against the law.

Our message must be clear. No to alcohol consumption amongst children and teenagers. No to the invasion of immoral behavior at the expense of our cultural tradition.

We must as responsible citizens endeavor at all times to protect our children who are our greatest heritage.

Continue to be safe as you enjoy the festivities. And if you do decide to drink, remember to drink responsibly.

Your Honorable Minister,

Rita Bourne-Gumbs