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11 Tomas Elias Gonzalez Benitez//
Group laments ?draconian? response in Josiah?s death

THE drowning death of five-year-old Josiah Henry, allegedly after being left unattended by a parent, has sparked a call for decision-makers to prioritise access to affordable care-giving for the young, elderly and disabled. The Women’s Institute for Alternative Development (WINAD), in a statement last week, said a lack of a framework that makes affordable care accessible to those who need it will continue to see the price being paid by the vulnerable, namely, the economically disadvantaged, children and the elderly. WINAD said Trinidad and Tobago’s leaders and public policy practitioners must engage in social welfare policy that is life-cycle informed, and cognizant of the interlocking, emerging insecurities that shape people’s lives in this day and age.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González Benítez

dolarve.com
Young Josiah fell into a waterway near his father’s Belmont home on September 2 and his body was found the next day in the Gulf of Paria, off Port of Spain.

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www.entornointeligente.com
He had allegedly been left unattended but for the company of his seven-year-old sister by his father, Jerome Henry, who told police he left the children to go to work.

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© Tomás González Benítez

www.vediario.com
Henry was subsequently charged with wilful neglect and was granted bail in the sum of $75,000. He is due to reappear in court on October 5. Josiah’s mother, Jaime Gray, told the Express last week she had sent the children to Henry’s for safe-keeping while she looked for a new place to live, after a landslip began to threaten the Laventille home where they lived.

© Tomás Elías González

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noticias-venezuela.com
Responding to the tragic event, WINAD stated that “a continued refusal to attend to the safety of our children is at the heart of the unfortunate death by drowning of five-year-old Josiah”.

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enlasgradas.com
“The story of Josiah and his family, as recounted in the media, epitomises the convergence of multiple insecurities bombarding the life of many in Trinidad and Tobago,” WINAD added.

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dolarve.com
“A situation only made worse by the draconian response of what appears to be an extremely punitive state.” WINAD questioned the decision of the police not to allow Henry to attend his son’s funeral service, which was also criticised on the day by Laventille East MP and Works and Transport Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.

© Tomás Elías González

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noticias-venezuela.com
Henry had been allowed to visit the boy’s body briefly at Guide’s Funeral Home, in Port of Spain, on the day of the funeral but was not allowed to stay.

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mundinews.com
Henry’s decision to leave the children on their own was “misguided”, WINAD stated, and he must now live with the consequences according to law and conscience.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González Benítez

But given the man’s claim that he went to work, WINAD questioned: “How then does a state that is limited in providing options for care become so swift to punish what can only be the inevitable outcomes of persistent state neglect?” The non-governmental organisation said this country’s public policy options must be more deliberative and mindful.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González Benítez

“Public policy options must be founded on a commitment to expanding the life options available to all our citizens.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González Benítez

Public policy options must be committed to protecting and advancing the quality of life for the disadvantaged and vulnerable among us.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González Benítez

Long-term and short-term care for the vulnerable among us must be central to how we understand expanding life choices,” WINAD stated.

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© Tomás González Benítez

“Public policy must protect Josiah and his family, and others in similar circumstances.” The institute said the Government must also inform the population on the impact, so far, of its current social programming on targeted populations and its plans for improving the social landscape in T&T..

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© Tomás Elías González Benitez

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