Sat | Nov 18, 2017

Fleet Street killing sparks march - Residents want peace and reconciliation

Published:Tuesday | June 27, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Residents of South Side, central Kingston, march through the community yesterday before moving on to the Secret Gardens children’s monument (in the background) to vent their disgust over the killing of 11-year-old Taysha Hughes.

Moved to action by last week's horrific murder of 11-year-old Taysha 'Angel' Hughes, Fleet Street residents in Kingston staged a peace march yesterday in hope of spurring critical action on the path of the authorities in cauterising an ongoing turf war, which according to some, has the potential to explode.

"We are marching in peace, first of all, for justice. The blood of little Taysha is crying out for justice. We are hoping this march will bring attention to the situation, and we as a people are tired of the violence," said march organiser, Bishop Brian Cameron of the Spiritual Revivalist Council of Churches.

Questioned if this was just yet another one-day event soon to be forgotten, several residents responded that it was just the start of a proactive approach to community involvement in protecting the children.

"This is not a nine-day wonder, we are going to keep this up until we are heard. Angel's murder, although horrific, will stand for something," one resident, who gave her name only as Turreen, said.

 

PROTEST ROUTE

 

The march began at the very spot where Taysha was brutally gunned down minutes after 10 Thursday night on Fleet Street, and took the placard-bearing protesters through several neighbouring streets, culminating at the Secret Gardens monument, dedicated to children who have lost their lives in violent circumstances.

Cameron said that his fear is that children who leave home for school will now be easy prey for marauding gunmen.

"It is a legitimate concern for many parents. They are afraid that if something is not done urgently, it's the little ones, innocent as they are, who are going to be targeted. Taysha had nothing to do with violence and turf war, yet she is dead because of the evil men among us," he said.

Men joining protest against killings must denounce it first - demonstrator

Asked why more men were not part of the march organised to protest the killing of Taysha Hughes, one resident said it was best they be left out of it. She said it was because of them the children are dying.

"We nuh want no man fi march wid wi. Is dem a di cause fi dis in di first place. Is dem a tek up gun before dem go look work fi mind dem woman and pickney. If any a dem a come march, him affi denounce dem ting deh," the resident said.

Meanwhile, Rosalie Hamilton, the Jamaica Labour Party councillor for the Rae Town division, says she is growing increasingly wary of the ongoing violence.

"You see, if the police was doing a good job, all of this that happened wouldn't have happened. It was brewing for over a year, it's a turf war, and these guys are supported by powerful political elements."

"This is where the problem is stemming from, the failure of the police to do their duty without fear and favour. I worry that if it's not handled properly and promptly, it will get even worse," Hamilton said.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com