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Prime Minister warns of tougher punishment for child abusers

Published:Friday | May 8, 2015 | 5:00 AM

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has warned that she will ensure tougher laws are passed to protect children, in light of the current incidents of child abuse in Jamaica.

Speaking at the launch of the Local Economic Development Support Programme in Ocho Rios yesterday, Simpson Miller made it clear she would not tolerate the current levels of child abuse.

"I am not going to stand for the abuse of children anywhere in this country, and I don't care by whom," she said.

"I want it to be made quite clear: I believe those of us sitting here today, and those of us who are professionals, had our parents abused us, we would be different from who we are now. So I make a special appeal: Be careful how you treat the little children."

Her comments came against the background of several reports in the media of incidents of child abuse, including cases of cold-blooded murder.

Since the start of the year, up to April 18, some 24 children had been murdered, according to police statistics.

"My heart is full of sadness that such wickedness has become part of the Jamaican reality," Simpson Miller is quoted as saying in a Gleaner story on April 19, in response to the gruesome murder of three teenage boys and an adult male in Clarendon.

Yesterday, she made it clear that this would not be allowed to continue.

"If I hear more situations of abuse coming to me, I am going to deal with it in a way that some persons are not going to like," she warned.