Wakeup call for communities – Ann Greene

Berbice rape-murder

As Guyana observes Child Protection Week 2017, the country remains in outrage over the recent case where a teenager was lured away, sexually assaulted and murdered in Sisters Village, East Bank Berbice.

CCPA Director Ann Greene

In light of this, Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) Director Ann Greene has spoken out against gruesome attacks on minors, noting that it was a wakeup call for communities. This is as the Agency is of the belief that persistent intervention by residents in the area could have prevented the fatal outcome.
Reports revealed that 13-year-old Leonard Archibald, of Brothers Village, was allegedly sodomised and dumped into the Berbice River while still alive, by two allegedly known child predators residing within the area.
Reports are residents in proximity to the location of the attack recalled hearing screams, but failed to report the incident.
In an interview with Guyana Times on Tuesday, Greene indicated that the CCPA has commenced consultations relating to the matter and in doing so, the Agency has met with the family of the now dead teen.
Given the reluctance to alert the authorities despite being alarmed by the screams, the Director posited that the tragedy could have been averted.
On that note, she lamented, “We could’ve gotten a better outcome for this child had the community been more involved and understand their roles and responsibilities. If you know of a predator in your community, that person must be identified, monitored and pushed to the criminal justice system.”
Responding to comments that reports were made, all of which were to no avail, Greene argued, “Even if you say you reported to the Police, you best keep reporting this thing until action is taken. Here is where people can come out and stand up at the Police Station demanding action.”
Adding to her calls for intervention at the community level, the CCPA Director is also urging families to be more vigilant as it regards the welfare of their children. In fact, she noted that they must not only go into protective mode for the females, but attention must be paid to the males as well.
With the Berbice incident in mind, Greene reiterated that it was a wakeup call for communities and thereby emphasised the need for families, and by extension members of communities to be more invested in the protection and well-being of children, and to even be persistent when necessary.
As such, she underlined, “We got other children out there and we got to use “out of evil might cometh good”. It is a wakeup call for other communities. You know something, you best say something. You best keep reporting until action is taken. You have a responsibility to keep the children in your community safe.”
Meanwhile, the warning by the CCPA Director coincides with this year’s theme for Child Protection Week, “Partnering with families and communities for positive outcomes for children.”