Issue No. 02/2020 – Thursday, 03 December 2020 (Kitiona Tausi)
In the colonial times, each island in Tuvalu had their own rules for the movement of children at night. All the islands observed a curfew at 9.00pm in the evening they restricted the movement of children at night. There were also school committees on each island inspecting every homes to ensure that children are at home or ready for bed time.
After separation from the Gilberts in 1976, the Ellice Islands has agreed to make Funafuti its capital and Ellice Islands workers to form the first civil service of a self-government, and thus the infrastructures on Funafuti began to be constructed, and the population in Funafuti began to increase by a mixed population of different islanders comprising of the 8 islands.
Island communities started to build up as well as the Funafuti Church of the Ellice Islands Church increased its membership because of this movement of Ellice Islanders from Tarawa in the Gilberts.
Up to this time, there had not been any regulations restricting the movement of children at night, but parents did restrict their children and to ensure that they had enough time of sleep in the night.
After independence in 1978 and as the new Tuvalu began to develop, new social activities emerged and especially entertainment in line with home video entertainment and this year, a 24-hour television access came to the home, street lights were erected and parents can longer restrict the movement of their children at night.
Children of primary age and even secondary age can be seen roaming in the night especially under the street lights enjoying themselves running around shouting. It may be a disturbance to families nearby and they could be in the street up to midnight. Parents in fact can no longer control the movement of their children as some of them were caught smelling petrol from the motor-cycles that park outside the homes.
In attempt to restrict the movement of children at night, government has introduced a regulation that would prohibit children from being in public places that could impact the security of children. According to the regulation, public places refer to a houses, road or street, a market, a playground, worship places or any other places like these on the island. Children refers to children between 4-15 years of age except when they are accompanied by an adult or a guardian.
Other exemptions include when children are having studies, involved in a community activity, a youth activity or need emergency medical attention.
There are also penalties imposed in the regulation as such: 30 days for community services; for the second time, a fine of $100 and to be paid within 14 days; for the third time, a fine of $300 or not more than 1- month imprisonment.