This Group has ignored the opposing evidence on the issue of corporal punishment

Dear Editor, I refer to the recent letter by Vanda Radzik et al (SN 3/23/08) resuscitating the well-intentioned but clearly indefensible call to ban corporal punishment in Guyana . They use comments by a Minister of Education in Jamaica as an introduction to same. Radzik et al use a four-pronged strategy of deception (it thrives on the unawareness of its supporters, and the hope that people will not take the time to inform themselves) that has been used in recent times by militant activist social groups to further their own political aims at the expense of good social policy: 1. Use no detail in their presentations, and ignore the UN’s own advocacy of sovereignty on the issue. 2. Use only anecdotal evidence, and casual but utterly unprofessional insinuations of “violence” to characterize CP. 3. Ignore the professional and research-evidence available in the educational community. 4. Use a select signature-campaign to bludgeon local Ministry officials by its “star-power” effect. We have noted their reference to the unfortunate comments of Minister Andrew Holness in Jamaica and, with due note to the deficiencies in the recent letter noted above, have referred both Minister Holness and the sizeable Christian community in that island to the detail found online in the introductory dossier “The Case for Corporal Punishment in Guyana II” (http://www.scribd.com/doc/17519228/The-Case-for-Corporal-Punishment-InGuyana-II ). The Minister will find that the available evidence is diametrically opposed to his assumptions. Good law, we remind him after the Honourable A.C Kirby, is based on good data. Issues of sovereignty, and the larger socio-political issues that have also accompanied this debate in recent years, are also addressed in the online article “Former Guyana Chief Justice Massiah has it all wrong on the Corporal Punishment issue” (http://www.scribd.com/doc/130222685/Former-Guyana-Chief-Justice-MassiahHas-It-All-Wrong-on-the-Corporal-Punishment-Issue ). It is also interesting that Radzik et al completely ignore the outstanding secular, academic and political positions that have generally supported the classic Christian position on corporal punishment. This clearly outlined at page 25 in the short online dossier “The Case for Corporal Punishment in Guyana II” and had so far not engaged an iota of the group’s attention. To insinuate that this solid Christian position somehow “disregards the humane non-violent teachings, theologies and practices at the core of all the great religions of the world” is wicked, mischievous and without honour. Guyanese, and Jamaicans, should join with over five thousand people worldwide in over 100 countries that have accessed the above article for an introduction to the detail and balance that they need to make informed decisions on this important issue. If there are any concerns about “violence”, they should also refer to the article “Not Without Reason: The Place of Physical Correction in the Discipline of Children” (http://www.crin.org/docs/resources/treaties/crc.28/FamiliesFirst.pdf). I maintain that in the absence of truthful disclosure and a fully-informed citizenry, efforts of this sort by Radzik et al to influence social policy in directions detrimental to the national ethos are questionable, and amounts to the blind promotion of a dubious agenda. Yours faithfully Roger Williams March 26, 2008

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