There are other ways to punish people besides beating them.
That is the view of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, who told journalists recently that he does not support corporal punishment for children or adults.
The PM’s position on corporal punishment came after lawyer Grant Connell suggested to Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnette that “eight hard strokes” from a “very strong” police officer could help deter some criminals from stealing.
“When he puts his hand on it (something that he is going to steal) … he would remember the eight strokes,” Connell stated while listening to a case where a man was caught stealing a bottle of strong rum from Randy’s Supermarket in Kingstown.
“I don’t agree with Grant, Grant kicks-ing (colloquial term for joking) man,” the PM commented, noting that while there is a provision for persons under the age of 16 to be given strokes, he does not support it.
“There are other sentencing tools which you have. In fact, even for children, I am not a corporal punishment man and I don’t think you should have corporal punishment in schools,” the PM stated, adding that when the government was involved in discussions with the Teachers Union on an education bill, the union was very strong on “they want to keep beating people children.”
The PM said there are other ways that can be used for disciplining
children, and he knows that teachers who still support corporal punishment will soon change their minds.
“I know the view I am expressing might be a minority view in the country, but it does not matter me whether it is a minority view or not a minority view…,” said the PM, adding that there are people who would say that growing up, he (Gonsalves) was subjected to corporal punishment by his parents and he did not turn out bad.
“I say yes, I got licks and I ain’t turn out bad, but I might have turn out better if I didn’t get the licks,” joked the PM who thinks that denying children certain privileges and talking to them works better than beating them.