Outrage has greeted a report in online press about a Portland mother who had to seek a transfer for her daughter to a school closer to home, because of unsavoury practices in the public transportation system in the parish.
The mother, whose name has been withheld, reported that the conductor on one of the buses available to take her child on the 40-minute-long journey from Port Antonio to school insisted that she should sit in the lap of a male or get off.
The mother decided to transfer her child from her dream school after just one week to one just six minutes from home, as she was not prepared to put up with the slackness.
Since her story was published, there have been several offers of support for the mother of six.
Dr Clover Baker-Brown, spokesperson for the Montego Bay, St James-based advocacy group, Sarah’s Children, is among those describing the challenges facing this family, and several others in rural Jamaica, as a national disgrace.
“Every Jamaican should be righteously indignant about it, because it is a blight on all of us,” said Baker-Brown.
Speaking from her home in Maryland, United States, Baker-Brown said Sarah’s Children believes the abuse of children should jolt all Jamaicans into a call for action.
“How do we expect to have a civil society when we continue to herd our little people like animals? This is a continued blight upon our society, and successive governments have demonstrated either unwillingness or an inability to once and for all draft a permanent national policy around this issue,” added Baker-Brown.
Lauding the mother for standing her ground, Baker-Brown said it would be good to see the engagement of the national conscience on this sickening act.
She said Sarah’s Children is offering to fund a start-up business for the mother and provide school uniforms and transportation for her daughter to attend the school of her choice for the next two years.