Tackle societal violence and the training of boys, pleads Pastor Glen Samuels
Several major stakeholders in St James, including West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (WJC) president, Pastor Glen Samuels, are calling for fresh attention to be paid to the increase in societal violence and the upbringing of the nation's boys.
Samuels made the call at Sunday's funeral service for 43-year-old Dionne Smith and her 16-year-old daughter, Jay-Shenel Gordon, who were both murdered by Smith's boyfriend, Fabian Lyewsang, at their home in Rose Mount, St James, on September 23. Lyewsang fled the scene but subsequently committed suicide.
In his solemn sermon at the funeral, which took place at the Farm Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church in the parish, Samuels lamented the fact that the society has degraded to the point where persons can be murdered at any time without even provoking their killers.
'STRIVE TO BE KINDER'
"The awesome spectacle of death is a lesson, a message, a word to the rest of us, that life can be taken from us at any point in the day - morning, noon or night. You don't have to trouble anybody for them to kill you. This is where we have reached, as ours is a violence-prone society," said the pastor.
"In processing these issues, we must strive to be a kinder and gentler society. We must affirm that we are our brother's keeper, and we must affirm the love for life and care for each other."
In echoing similar sentiments to Samuels, People's National Party caretaker for Central St James, AndrÈ Hilton, said that in light of the tragic deaths of Smith and Gordon, greater emphasis must be placed on teaching boys and men how to care for women.
"I suggest that we as citizens, and particularly our men, have to love, cherish and protect our women. When we're training up our boys, remember that we're training up our next generation of fathers, caregivers, and partners, so let's care for our boys so they can be good husbands, fathers, and providers for the family," said Hilton.
Earlier this month, the Violence Prevention Alliance called for social intervention programmes to be put in place to tackle the problem of domestic violence, including 'intimate-partner' violence.