A non-profit organisation is considering pursuing criminal charges against adults who, accompanied by children, have been climbing over and damaging the fence at its playpark in Palmiste Park.
In an effort to discourage this lawlessness, the Rapidfire Kidz Foundation yesterday erected “Keep Out” signs at the playpark which has been closed since March 22 in keeping with the COVID-19 regulations to curb the spread of the virus.
Speaking with Guardian Media, Foundation president Kevin Ratiram said over the last week he has received reports about people “storming” the playpark. “
He said, “They have been climbing over the fences and using the playpark, thereby causing damage to the fencing. What’s worse, many of them are parents, who bring their children. They encourage their children to climb over the fences as well. Some of them physically pick up the children and put them over the fence.”
While he understands the frustration experienced by some due to the stay- at- home restrictions, Ratiram said that is not an excuse for their irresponsible actions.
“They’re putting their children’s lives in jeopardy. There’s a reason the health authorities have not given the green light for playparks to reopen. In playparks, you have scores of children touching the equipment, like swings, slides, see-saw, and benches, one after the other. This is exactly how the coronavirus can be transmitted. Parents need to understand that we’re still in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. We’re not out of the woods yet. People must be responsible when it comes to their children’s health and the nation’s health as a whole,” he said.
Apart from the health concerns, he said parents are setting a bad example for their children.
“They’re blatantly teaching them to break the law, to disregard rules and authority. It’s no wonder indiscipline is so rampant in this country. Many parents actually instil that in their children.”
He said The foundation did request and receive assistance from the Police Service and a private security firm who visited the playpark and requested that the unauthorised visitors leave.
Ratiram said, “But they can’t be there 24/7, so the problem persists. It may reach the stage where we have to request that the police charge people for trespassing and malicious damage to property as a result of them damaging our fencing.”
Since opening the playpark in August 2018, Ratram said said the foundation has maintained it to the highest level and ensured it was cleaned daily.
Endorsing the his comment, vice president and Moderator of the Presbyterian Chuch Rev Joy Abdul-Mohan lamented the irresponsible and reckless behaviour of some 21st-century parents.
She said, “No wonder the crime rate is escalating, children learn by example, so what example have these parents taught their children.”
She was hopeful that as Father´s Day is celebrated this month that fathers will at least be role models to their children and others in their community.