(CMR) Five hundred and forty-five children were reported missing during the first six months of 2020 in Jamaica.
Education Minister, Fayval Williams, made the revelation during a sitting of the House of Representatives on Tuesday (November 24).
“I now turn to the missing children's report for the period January to June 2020. Preliminary figures received by CPFSA from the Jamaica Constabulary Force's missing persons monitoring unit indicate that 545 reports of missing children were received between January to June 2020,” said Williams.
Despite the alarming figure, Williams said that this was a reduction of 37.2 percent, as in 2019 898 children were reported missing for the same period.
Williams went on to share that 80 percent of the children reported missing were girls.
While 417 of these children have been accounted for, Williams said that the remaining 124 had not been located, adding that there were no reports of any children subsequently being found dead.
According to Williams, the data suggests that parents need to exercise greater supervision over there children, noting that many students are reported missing while on the nation's roads traversing to and from school.
Williams cited that in countries with more resources, this was part of the rationale for the implementation of the school bus system.
“These figures suggest to us at least one major missing element, greater supervision is needed of our children as they make their way to school and back. This is the reason Madam Speaker some countries that have the resources have a formal school bus system,” said Williams.
“While that is out of our reach just now I know that in our rural communities, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has made provisions for 250 selective schools in 13 parishes to engage the services of eligible transport operators to provide a shuttle transportation service for over 7500 students are either unable to attend school because the cost of transportation or because they're travelling along routes that are not adequately serviced by the public transportation system,” added Williams