Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Case for Corporal Punishment in Guyana

The online advisory "The Case for Corporal Punishment in Guyana", formerly found at , is now located at the following sites:


The "Introduction is appended below:


The reader will find that there is stunning correlation and agreement between the Judeo-Christian position on corporal punishment and enterprising, detailed and academically distinguished secular research. The position is also eminently consistent with the Ministry of Education’s current Manual of Guidelines for the Maintenance of Order and Discipline in Schools.

There are implications for this issue at the “Child-development” and “Adult” levels. As complex as the exercise is, this generalized treatment serves its introductory purpose. To achieve this end we should allow “snapshots” of expert opinion to speak for us.

It will be comforting to find out that what the Bible says in a few sentences is almost always inevitably borne out by unbiased scholarly research. The Christian position on Corporal Punishment is summarized at It is very clear, and summarized in full at pages 25-27 herein.

Readers are encouraged to do follow-up reading of their own for each of the articles cited and arguments used, and use the contact information on our cover page to provide comments and feedback to the through These comments will be included in future editions.

There are usually two sides to every argument, and that the only sure way of ensuring that the truth prevails is to consider both sides openly and honestly … with scholarship, evidence and common sense coming together to accommodate objective, if not definitive, judgement on an issue.

The scholarship which supports the classic activity and perspective of the Church and Faith-Based-Organizations (FBOs) has been consistently left out of the pool of available information used in framing the role of corporal punishment in a range of measures to enable disciplined and productive child development. This Dossier seeks to correct that.

For example, the position of the David Benatar ( speaks volumes:

“... In the first instance, my arguments, although lengthy, have been directed against a radical yet commonly held view -- that corporal punishment should never be inflicted. I have sought to show that this position is untenable, even though the arguments for it do show that frequent and severe physical punishment is morally wrong … My view is that the empirical data, insofar as I have understood them, are insufficient to defend the extreme view that physical punishment should never be administered ... ”.

The entire process and argument for the ban on corporal punishment has been characterized by deception. Nowhere has this deception been evident as in the misrepresentation of Benatar’s work. Benatar destroys seven of the myths the pro-ban crowd in Guyana have foisted on the Guyanese people:

1. Benatar disagrees with the view “That corporal punishment leads to abuse”, and shows us why!
2. Benatar disagrees with the view “That corporal punishment is degrading”, and rationalizes why!
3. Benatar disagrees with the view “That corporal punishment stems from and causes sexual deviance”, and shows why not!
4. Benatar disagrees with the view “That corporal punishment teaches the wrong lesson”, and rationalises why not!
5. Benatar disagrees with the view “That corporal punishment necessarily injures authority relationships”
6. Benatar disagrees with the view “That corporal punishment does not deter” and outlines why!
7. Benatar disagrees with the view “That all the arguments above taken together fare better”, and rationalizes why not!

Benatar then outlines the case for limited corporal punishment as follows:

8. Corporal punishment punishes only the guilty!
9. Corporal punishment plays a significant role in the scale of punishments!
10. Corporal punishment is not a good in itself, but a good alternative/substitute to other punishments!
11. Child-rearing and parents’ liberty interests are protected!
12: Parental and academic requirements could be satisfied with the judicious use of five safeguards, namely: Infrequent pain without injury; Non-discrimination; Due process; Timing; other safeguards such as 1) the offences for which the child may be physically punished; 2) the implement used to inflict the punishment; 3) the number of blows; 4) the places on the body to which such punishment may be administered.

Parliament, and the Ministry of Education, is urged to rule against the attempt to ban corporal punishment.

Roger Williams
Georgetown, Guyana
May-June 2007
(Please refer to disclaimer on page 4)

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