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PM says gov't will take appropriate measures to protect children

Published:Wednesday | May 8, 2019 | 9:10 AM
Prime Minister, Andrew Holness (second right), enjoys the performance of students from the Hazard Primary School during a ceremony to launch Workers’ Week and Labour Day 2019 activities at the Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - Contributed photo

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is assuring that the Government will take appropriate measures to bring the perpetrators of crimes against children to justice.

Speaking at the launch of Workers’ Week and Labour Day 2019 activities at the Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday, Holness also assured that every case of abuse that is brought to the Government’s attention “will be thoroughly investigated and those who are accountable will be brought to book”.

Activities for Labour Day, to be observed on Thursday, May 23, will focus on the safety of children.

Noting that it is of “great concern” to him that the nation’s children “are being abused, brutalised and murdered”, the Prime Minister said he is still horrified about the recent brutal murders of 11-year-old Tricia Morris of Woodland District in Hanover and eight-year-old Shantae Skyers of Sterling Castle Heights in St Andrew.

“Our children deserve better, and they need to know that they are protected and that we ‘have their back’ at all times,” Holness said, adding that as a nation, “we must actively condemn such heinous acts against our children, and my heart goes out to the parents and families of both girls.”

He lamented that in cases like that of Shantae and Tricia, it is not usually strangers who commit the crimes, but, inevitably, the perpetrators are persons who they know from the community – “the very community that is supposed to be raising the child.”

Holness called for Jamaicans to “act decisively against these criminals”, and while not taking matters into their own hands, “to work with law enforcement to ensure that those who commit such horrible acts against the most vulnerable of citizens are brought to account under the law.

Citing statistics from the Child Protection and Family Services Agency, he pointed out that on average, 10 out of every 1,000 children are the subject of child abuse or maltreatment.

He also noted that 79 per cent of children witness violence in their communities or homes, and 68 out of 100,000 Jamaican children are victims of violent crimes.

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