We have to change our culture - Hanna
Former Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna has said the country needs to look carefully at negative aspects of its culture if is to reduce violence effectively.
Speaking to Rotarians of the Rotary Club of Trafalgar New Heights recently, Hanna said the country cannot continue to turn a blind eye to those aspects of the Jamaican reality which are incongruent with the values the country wants to promote.
"We are going to have to change our culture," she told the Rotarians.
"We cannot continue to tolerate mother, daughter and grandmother being 10 or 12 years apart," she said referring to the problem of adolescent pregnancy.
"We have to find a way to stem the tide of things like that," she added.
"We cannot turn a blind eye and listen to new music on the radio being churned out weekly by persons we know are incarcerated, persons we know have questionable value systems, and persons who are shaping the values of our children," she continued.
Hanna said when children begin to view negative values as normal, the situation becomes difficult to treat with.
"There needs to be less of democracy where things like that are concerned and we have to take back our country," she told the Rotarians.
In a message to parents, Hanna pleaded with caregivers to desist from demonstrating and perpetuating violence by undermining the authority of those given charge of their children. She charged against using violence to punish children.
"If I (as a parent) got to talk to your teacher, I shouldn't feel that I have the temerity to go and cuss off your teacher... , you have to find a way of getting parents to understand that you don't want to bruk up the pickney and try murder the pickney when they have done something wrong," she said.
Hanna urged the Rotarians to assist more by mentoring parents and young people.
"Get into the emotions and the hearts of Jamaicans. Start reaching out and mentoring. You'll be surprised how hugging, for example, can lift morale," Hanna said.