The Child Protection Unit (CPU) has removed three children from their home pending an investigation after one of them was made to kneel on the roadside in front of his home with his hands upraised. CPU’s head Supt Claire Guy-Alleyne said the children will remain in the custody of a relative pending an investigation into the matter.

The children are all under 12 years old and live with their mother and other relatives in Carapichaima. The matter came to the attention of the authorities after a photo of a 10-year-old boy kneeling with his hands up in the air went viral on social media on Tuesday. Guy-Alleyne immediately ordered an investigation and dispatched a team to locate the child.

In a cellphone interview, Guy-Alleyne said they are arranging for the children to undergo psychosocial support through the Children’s Authority. “We are investigating the reasonableness of the punishment to see whether a criminal offence occurred.”

She also said that a thorough investigation has been launched adding, “A child’s welfare is of paramount importance to us at the CPU.” Psychiatrist Dr Varma Deyalsingh has strongly advised against public shaming of children as a form of punishment as it could lead to depression, low self-esteem and suicide.

He advised parents who are having a difficult time coping with their children to reach out to the family members, parent groups or support services available through the Social Development and Education Ministries.

Reporter: Sascha Wilson