Call to increase consent age in Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica, December 1, 2008 – A call has been made for the age of consent in Jamaica to be increased from 16 to 18 years.

It’s coming from the National Parent Teachers’ Association of Jamaica (NPTAJ) whose President Miranda Sutherland has suggested that “the low age of consent is a big problem” for the country.

“The age of consent for sexual relationship is 16 in this country and yet we scream about teenage pregnancy. If that is the age of consent, aren’t we technically saying that persons can well become families and get married at that time? Aren’t we therefore saying that these persons are capable to begin to set up families?” she questioned.

Mrs Sutherland suggested that the poor parenting practices in Jamaican society could be blamed on there being too many young parents.

“These parents, who themselves are young, do not know how to raise children. They themselves are not even fully grown up…there is no maturity among these people and they are not able to give guidance to their children. They have not learnt it themselves so they cannot pass it on,” she asserted.

Mrs Sutherland has therefore also called for efforts to rebuild the family in Jamaica.