President of the NDP Women's Arm Jeanie Ollivierre (Internet photo).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Having young parents is no reason for persons to become deviant and criminals, says Jeannie Ollivierre, president of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Women’s Arm.

“I am pleading with our mothers. Saying that mothers these days are young [is] no excuse. I was 17 years old when I had my first kid,” she said on an NDP sponsored programme on Thursday.

“I was young, too; but that didn’t mean that my children went astray. We have to keep to our responsibility. God has given us that responsibility. It is expected of us so we must adhere to it,” added Ollivierre, a former coordinator of women’s affairs.

She noted that young men perpetrate the majority of violence in this country.

“Therefore, you see that something is needed: some sort of caring, nurturing is lacking for our young brothers,” she said.

Ollivierre said that violence has escalated since the NDP left office in 2001 and added that Vincentian women need to do something about it.

“We used to organise marches and rallies,” she said and recounted picketing the chamber’s of a judge who sentenced lawyer Mark Williams to five years in prison for killing a nurse in front of the Central Police Station in Kingstown during the 1990s.

“… I called my Minister [of Women’s Affairs] — Yvonne Francis-Gibson — and said if you don’t join me I will bring out the rest women and she came and join us. Two of us were there and I remember [Sir] Vincent Beache passing and telling me … if I ain’t have anything to do; I must go and look for work to do,” she said.

She said that it seems that the work that used to be done years ago by government agencies is not as prevalent now.

“I don’t want to alarm anyone so I am not going to give the alarming statistics of the violence in our society. We have it from the Family Court, we have the statistics from the police, and it is very alarming. And I would not touch on it tonight because it may scare some people,” she said.

“But it is a very, very serious situation in our country today,” Ollivierre added.

“Women, although they continue to be mother, be single parents in our home, we have to do a lot more with our boy children. We are the ones who give birth to our boys, we are the ones who have responsibility of training them, which means teaching them norms and values and I think we are far away from that. We are not doing what we are supposed to be doing. We are reneging on our responsibility,” Ollivierre further stated.

Ollivierre said that the NDP Women’s Arm recently developed a family violence plan to be implement at the constituency level and to be monitored by national executive of the Women’s Arm.

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