by Vasinatta Yama, EM TV – Port Moresby
Bomana Jail Commander, Kiddy Keko, says children’s issues and welfare need to become a priority for the country.
He says projects and policies that address children’s issues can only work if those in the hierarchy fully participate in these efforts.
Commander Keko confirmed that of the 2,000 detainees at Bomana Correctional Service, 60% are children.
Another group of children who also live in the prison are not offenders but are born to women detainees, and children of warders.
Commander Keko was adamant that projects like the NCD Urban Children’s Empowerment Program and the ‘Lukautim Pikinini Act’ can only work if it receives the needed support from the top.
The Urban Children’s Empowerment Program is a project by NCD to process street kids in Port Moresby to go back to their families, or be looked after by the State and Non-Governmental Organizations to eradicate the issue of having street kids in the City.
Commander Keko says the education system plays a big role in preventing children from ending up on the streets or in prison.
He added that more research needs to be done to identify the problem.
Meanwhile, the Department of Community Development will be tabling the ‘Lukautim Pikinini Act’ in May which will address Children’s issue and rights.