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Former Independent Senator Rev Daniel Teelucksingh

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Former independent Senator Daniel Teelucksingh has come out in defence of the Children’s Authority following the murder of two teens who escaped from the Authority’s care before they were shot dead.

Speaking at a service held at the Anugrah Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Teelucksingh said rather than blame the Authority, parents should begin taking better care of their children.

“How could full responsibility be with the Children Authority? They have 957 children under their care in various homes across the country. Managing this has got to be a miracle. It has to be manned by miracle workers. I am telling myself, leave the overburdened Children’s Authority alone, they are trying their best,” he said.

Teelucksingh said parents must take responsibility for their children, particularly during their formative years.

“We have to return to the child’s cradle. We have mothers, and fathers, grandparents. I salute single parents. It is burdensome and when there are difficulties, the mothers come forward but when last you hear of the fathers showing up?” he asked.

Teelucksingh added that single parenting was burdensome and disadvantageous to young children and teenagers. He urged parents to form partnerships rather than blame each other.

Teelucksingh used the illustration of Pontius Pilate who presided over the trial of Jesus and later ordered his crucifixion. He said that just as Pilate washed his hands and declared himself innocent of Jesus’ death, many politicians and other leaders were refusing to take responsibility for the ills of the society but preferred to pass blame.

“We are facing social, moral and economic chaos. We have lost our direction,” he added.

Last week, the director of the Children’s Authority Nichola Harvey-Mitchell admitted that a security lapse at one of its safe houses in north Trinidad led to the escape of five teenage boys on March 20.

Escapees Antonio Francois and Semion Daniel, both 15, were gunned down in Laventille a day later. Daniel’s mother Natalie Braithwaite blamed the Authority for negligence but the Authority later said it has 957 children under its care.

Out of this 625 children were staying in community residences, 48 children were still in Child Support Centres, 68 were in foster care, 175 were residing with “fit” persons and 41 were in placement at other institutions including shelters, residential school camps, transition homes, hospitals and Youth Transformation and Rehabilitation Centres.