Mayor bemoans trauma among children in downtown Kingston
Making reference to the flare-up of violence in downtown Kingston in recent times, Kingston Mayor Dr Angela Brown Burke has urged citizens to be mindful of the trauma and discomfort that children continue to experience, which could, according her, severely impact their development.
Addressing the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation's monthly meeting, which was held at its offices in downtown Kingston, yesterday, she said it has been a stressful and painful period for many families and, as such, she is urging stakeholders to actively become a part of the fighting strategy.
"There is no doubt that we must put a stop to the brazen attacks in broad daylight, in full view of children. It is bad enough that they are being traumatised by experiencing second-hand these events, but now, they have taken it to another low, where they, too, are becoming targets in these senseless attacks," the mayor said.
"Many parents in the area refuse to send their children to school for fear that they might be caught in cross fire of gunmen trading bullets. From my own experience, I am well aware of the possible impact even while they are at school," she continued.
"The anxiety and nervousness, their lack of ability to focus, jumping at every sound, not wanting to go home, some even crying to stay at school, so that they don't go home to face those kinds of activities. This is certainly no way to grow our children."
Brown-Burke also said there has to be a continued focus on bringing order to the area, as discussions with the police have indicated that a major hindrance to fighting crime in downtown Kingston, is the prolonged chaos in the city, including illegal vending.
"As you would imagine, this has a tremendous impact on business and business interest in the general downtown area, as well as the market district. We are all aware that vendors from rural Jamaica who either sell goods in Kingston or either purchase goods to sell in other areas," she said.
"We want to make it very clear that our concern is not just how it affects businesses but it is also how it affects the community where people live and where they are going," she declared.
Up to the first week of September, data provided by superintendent of police and head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force Corporate Communications Unit, Stephanie Lindsay, showed three more murders so far this year in the Kingston Central Police Division, bringing the number to 34, compared to 31 in 2015.