Expressing outrage is not enough!Monday, March 29, 2021
The spike in murders in Jamaica is alarming. There are not enough words to describe the outrage in the recent murder of 20-year-old Khanice Jackson.
She went missing for a few days after going to work early one morning. Her body was later found, hands bound in the bushes near a fishing village not far from her home in Portmore, St Catherine.
I can't imagine the pain of her grieving family and friends.
We can no longer express outrage and condolence and then move on. Khanice is our sister, our daughter, our relative, and our friend, she could be anyone among us. Other women have lost their lives senselessly or gone missing. The University of the West Indies (UWI) student Jasmine Deen has been missing for over a year with no successful leads. A few weeks ago a woman was gunned down while worshipping in a church.
Our society has become ruthless, callous, and overwhelmed with evil and we need a more effective response. Legislators must push to enforce stiffer penalties for murderers and demand swift justice for these serious crimes.
We must socialise young girls and women to be always conscious of their surroundings and who they associate with. The advice of walking in groups when possible, or near other people, must be constantly reminded. Women should be encouraged to carry mace and pepper spray to aid in self-defence. We must find effective ways to teach young boys to become better men and better human beings.
As the prime minister said, oftentimes the warning signs are there, even among those who are around us. The media have a responsibility, too, to help to improve awareness.
Still, many attacks on women are rooted in domestic abuse and sexual assault. It is sickening and alarming.
The minister of national security has repeatedly shown that crime is outside of his realm. His approach is lacklustre; it is not enough to express outrage and condemnation repeatedly. Crime-fighting is a huge responsibility. An advisory team is needed to lead the national response. Jamaica cannot develop even marginally with this level of crime around us.
We need a more effective plan that goes beyond the typical states of emergency and zones of special operations. Murder cases should be prioritised and the justice system overhauled to expedite trials and sentencing. Trials should be fair, just, and speedy. I read recently that the accused found guilty in the “Bunny” Francis case is about to be sentenced, 10 years after the fact. This is totally unacceptable! We hope that Khanice's murder case will be tried quickly with sentencing served to match the crime. We continue to pray for her family and friends, and other victims of these horrendous crimes.
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