Sat | Jan 21, 2017

Child killers claim 15th victim since start of the year

Published:Wednesday | March 4, 2015 | 12:00 AMGary Spaulding
Students at Donald Quarrie High School in St Andrew arrive to news of a schoolmate's murder yesterday.
A student reflects on the death of a schoolmate at Donald Quarrie High School in St Andrew yesterday.
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Jamaica was thrust into despair once again yesterday as the barbarism of some of its people was emphasised when another child became part of the chilling murder statistics.

Her head almost ripped from her slender frame, 14-year-old Kayalicia Simpson, a second-form student of Donald Quarrie High School in Eastern Kingston, has been brutally torn from the embrace of her family.

Innocence was stolen as relatives, school friends and teachers were greeted early with the news of the teen's killing.

The unvarnished sadism of hardened hoodlums has, for some time, been hitting hard at Jamaica's children of all ages, ravaging the psyche of their families.

Earlier this year, Jamaicans were in anguish when another 14-year-old girl, Santoya Campbell of Frome in Westmoreland, along with three-year-old Crystal Coleman of St Mary, were murdered.

Shariefa Saddler met a somewhat similar fate in January 2013.

"It must be me who is going to die," declared the 14-year-old Haile Selassie High School student, less than 14 hours before her battered body was hurled from a motor car, just about a mile away from her home on Lothiam Avenue, sending shock waves through the Kingston 11 area.

At the time, Shariefa's cryptic comment was reportedly in response to a remark about the inevitability of death during a prayer meeting at her house on Joshua Edwards Avenue in Tower Hill, Olympic Gardens.

While both incidents happened at pre-dawn, this time around, Kayalicia's body was found at the rear of the house, with chop wounds to her head and neck.

Dr Kim Scott, adolescent health head of the Child Resiliency Project, and Dr Elizabeth Ward, chair of the Violence Prevention Alliance, have highlighted the need for an active programme to offer alternative educational and behavioural strategies along with financial support for children at risk.

They said this would require the support of the public and private sectors and the creation of more church, school, family and community partnerships.