WESTERN BUREAU :
MAYOR OF Montego Bay Glendon Harris has urged Jamaicans to be courageous in standing up and speaking out against atrocities being meted out against the vulnerable, especially the children, in the society.
Harris, who was bringing greetings on Saturday at the 46th anniversary celebration and installation of officers of the Kiwanis Club of Montego Bay at the Grandiosa Hotel, Queen's Drive, Montego Bay, St James, said no effort must be spared in ensuring that children and other vulnerable groups, including women and the elderly, are protected.
"We should work and protect the children of the world, the vulnerable, and the less fortunate of our society. We need to be our brother and sister's keeper, and we should never be afraid and to stand up and speak up against the many ills that are being done to our children.
He added: "We must protect the rights of our children as they are the men and women of tomorrow, our future leaders."
Harris was speaking against the background of the brutal rape of five women and girls, including an eight-year-old, at Irwin Point, St James, last Monday. The incident has left many in the community traumatised and in fear.
The mayor said Monday's incident and other criminal acts seemingly, were robbing Montego Bay of its title of the "beloved, friendly city".
He further pledged his support as well as that of the St James Parish Council in forging meaningful partnerships with the objectives of achieving safety and security for all.
"I wish to publicly pledge my support, the support of the St James Parish Council, to you (as you) seek to foster meaningful partnerships that align with your vision and preserve the trust of your members, the communities, the children, and families you serve as a people to ensure that our rights are not violated and we are not trampled upon."
Harris commended the Kiwanis Club of Montego Bay for its outreach programmes.
"We must be cognisant of and grateful for organisations like Kiwanis International that continues to balance the effort of the public sector by dedicating your life to the positive development of others through your service, which you have been giving since 1966."
Christine Subaran Lewis was installed as president to lead the 13-member executive and the club into its 47th year.