Columns

Wanton killing has to stop

Barbara
Gloudon

Friday, May 03, 2019

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I was at my desk 'doing my work', and was awakened to the serious reality that my beloved parish, Hanover, apparently now finds itself fallen from grace and is now included in the recently announced state of public emergency (SOE).

On Tuesday of this week Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced a SOE in the parishes of St James, Hanover and Westmoreland. The western end of our island has been suffering from outbreaks of murder and mayhem which have been causing much distress. Our ancestors must be wondering what tek wi head?

Since the end of the last SOE or “enhanced security measures” in St James, incidents of murders and other crimes had begun to pick up speed again. In response to the trend, the prime minister stated that, under recommendation from the security forces, the Government took the decision to declare a public emergency which is to last for two weeks in the three parishes.

Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson gave reasons for the particular decision at Tuesday's press conference. It turns out that Westmoreland was identified as the most “murder-dense place in the country, followed by Hanover”. How did the smallest of the 14 parishes, my sweet sweet Hanover, find itself in this mix up?

Much has been said about how easy it is for criminals to move through the countryside, putting down roots and sowing the seeds of evil and destruction. The security forces and the Government are hoping that increased police presence and soldiers on the streets of the three adjoining parishes will help to dislodge the criminals.

Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar, Councillor Bertel Morris, stated in a report in the Jamaica Observer that the people of Westmoreland are looking forward to an improvement in the crime rate, but he cautioned that, “things must be done in the right way!”

It is hoped that during the period of the SOE it is the wrongdoers who will get caught in the dragnet and brought to book. Let's hope, indeed, that we get it right. We cyaan tek anymore wrong.

Following on the heels of the announcement of the SOE, the news reported another harrowing story coming out of Pond in Hanover. An 11-year old girl had gone missing on Saturday. On Tuesday morning the revelation came that she had been found dead. Trisha Morris is now added to the crime statistics that have led to the SOE.

What kind of world are we living in? It sometimes feels like we are in a race to the bottom of the heap. The wanton killing and disregard for life is too much to bear. Too many of our children are the victims of cruel and wicked acts. What are we doing to the future leaders of our country? We are at the start of Child Month where we'll recite the usual lines about our children being our future and our most precious resource, but do we really do enough to protect and care for them?

The reports on how young Trisha went missing are similar to that of Shantae Skyers. Both girls had been walking alone when it seems they were abducted. It is sad that our young girls, in particular, will now have to think and think again about travelling on their own, but times have changed. We tell our high school age girls and young women to walk in groups to avoid danger. We must extend those words of caution to children of all ages. We can no longer leave them on their own.

It must be hard for parents of young children to strike the balance on how to talk about the dangers that face their young ones. How do we talk to our children about how scary our world has become without making them feel they should just hide in their homes every day? It's hard, but we have to do it.

We cannot hide the seriousness of the situation from them. But, as we talk, we must also take the time to listen to our children. Listen to their concerns, and allow them to talk about how they feel. We must reassure them that there are still good people around us, and we the good people must do what we can to fight back the darkness. Come on, mek we do it for our children and our country.

Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator. Send comments to the Observer or gloudonb@gmail.com.


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