– Parents Action Group leader calls for restrictions
In certain parts of the world, tattooing a child is illegal. But in Guyana, as “indecent” as some parents may consider it to be, their children would not be breaking any law by coming home with tattoos.
But would it be right? Leader of the Parents Action Group based in Sophia, Doris Anetha Shelto does not seem to think so. She finds it disturbing that young children are flaunting inked images on their bodies without even knowing the meanings of them.
Ms. Shelto, who is founder of the ‘ ‘Sophia Sparkle Youth Group’ told this newspaper that just recently, a 13-year-old group member succumbed to peer pressure, and got a tattoo.
“He is a quiet little child who gave into peer pressure. He is now stuck with an ugly tattoo on his body,” Shelto stressed.
“In a case like this, who is to be blamed? The parents who may be oblivious to their children’s intentions? Or the tattoo artists who, for the sake of making money, would resort to ruining the bodies of young children by drawing images which carry all sorts of meanings?” Shelto asked.
She believes that adults are not upholding to their responsibility towards the children of their country.
Shelto explained that not only the tattoo artists, but adults on the whole need to take back the role that they once played in guiding children.
“It is only right that these tattoo artists deny applying these images on the bodies of our small children. I can understand if they do it on the older ones, but applying a tattoo on an obvious 13-year-old without parental consent is unacceptable,” Ms. Shelto stressed.
She added that currently, the child’s worried parents are in the process of seeking avenues so as to have the child’s tattoos removed.
Shelto said that it is also quite disturbing that the Guyanese population is adapting too much of the western culture, especially its negative influences.
Just recently, Crime Chief Seelall Persaud announced that work is ongoing to dismantle a major criminal outfit called the ‘Hot Skull Gang’.
Persaud had said that the gang is based in Albouystown, and that within recent times, several of its members have been either killed or placed behind bars.
The members of the ‘Hot Skull Gang’ can reportedly be identified by the image of a human skull tattooed on their bodies.
Gang tattoos often speak volumes about the wearer: What gangs they are in; what their ideologies or beliefs might be; what they have done; where they have been incarcerated or lived; as well as details of how many individuals the member is said to have killed. Known
Western gang tattoo symbols include teardrops under the eyes as well as spider webs on the elbows, which are said to symbolize that the wearer has killed.
While applying tattoos on some parts of the body may not be considered that bad, there are others which suggest tainted character; this includes the infamous “tramp stamp”, a tattoo applied on the lower back of women.
There are also locals who have Chinese words written on their bodies, without a clue of what the words mean; some may consider this very much laughable.
Meanwhile, Kaieteur News made contact with former Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, who said that there is no law restricting tattoo being applied on a young child.
However, like Ms. Shelto, Dr. Ramsammy believes that licensing for tattoo practitioners should establish stern age limits.
The Minister pointed out that there are certain regulations which need to be followed by tattoo artists.
Currently, there are many of them operating on the pavements and street corners of Georgetown.
According to Dr. Ramsammy, who is also the present Minister of Agriculture, tattoo artists operating in these conditions are in breach of regulations which outline that they are to follow specific setting requirements.
Meanwhile, Both Dr. Ramsammy and Ms. Shelto are advising that parents take the issue of their children applying tattoos seriously, and inform them of the dangers and defamation that come with inked images.
So remember, but before you get your guitar gently inked on your bicep, it’s important to do your research and know what you’re getting yourself into, especially since U.S. researchers have found a link between inked body art and Hepatitis C, the leading cause of liver cancer.
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