The recent headline making news of a Jamaican pastor having sex with a 15-year-old girl has rocked the small island to its core. Since the story broke, it has been the main topic of discussion; putting the violence that has been ravaging the island on the back burner.
The truth of the matter is grown men with young teenage girls are not a new phenomenon in Jamaica. It has been happening for years and even celebrated in some dancehall reggae songs. Who can forget the song Two-Year-Old by Admiral Bailey where he chants: two-year-old mi love mi two year old? Of course, Baily was not talking about a literal two-year-old but he was referring to a young girl below the age of 18.
Then there was Chaka Demus give ode to the underage girls in his song “young gal business”. In that song, Demus chants:
Young gal business control Jamaica
Gal a rule man who drive Benz and Mazda
In Jamaica, there is even a saying that “De olda de moon, de brighta it shine; de younga de gal, de sweeta she wine.”
It is no wonder this behavior has been tolerated for so long and it took a pastor’s involvement in the act for it to become a major topic of discussion.
In Trinidad, it is even worse than in Jamaica where grown men are not only getting intimate with girls under the age of 18 but they are also marrying them.
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi on Wednesday revealed that there have been over 3000 child marriages in the last 10 years in Trinidad and Tobago.
The attorney general said that between 2006 and 2016, the Registrar General recorded 3,478 child marriages, with marriage certificates showing that some of them were girls as young as 11 and 12 who were married to men as old as 36, 42 and 56.
“We have a phenomenon where the law, as it exists in Trinidad and Tobago, permits somebody who is more than two or three times the age of the child, of the girl, to be married to a man two and three times her age,” he said, adding these facts were taken from marriage certificates.
He dismissed the argument that child marriages take place in rural areas – stating that greatest number of these marriages come from urban areas.
Trinidad and Tobago is one of only eight countries in the world where someone can be married as early as age 12.
Seeking to dispel the argument by religious bodies that early marriages protect young girls from sexual immorality and unwanted pregnancy, the Attorney General said statistics also showed there were more child pregnancies than abortions.
Between 2009 and 2015, hospital records showed 15,231 children gave birth.
The statistics also showed there were 743 teenage abortions between 2011 and 2015.
Last year, 168 children between 11 and 16 became pregnant while 12 had abortions.
These numbers are ridiculous in any country in the developed world.