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(CMC) – A human rights and advocacy group Monday called for more protection for children as a junior government minister condemned as “cruel, inhumane and barbaric” the murder of a 14-year old secondary school student.
The authorities said that the mutilated body of 14-year-old Raven Wilson, a third form student of Ocho Rios High School in St Ann, was found in a plastic bag, metres away from her home on Sunday, three days after she had been reported missing.
“I am seriously disturbed by the killing of yet another promising young girl, whose life was cut short by cold and heartless criminals. There is simply no justification for such cruelty against our children. The level of violence being meted out against them needs to stop, because it is robbing them of their right to life,” Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Floyd Green, said in a statement.
He said that there seems to be a worrying trend in the recent spate of child murders with the perpetrators dismembering their victims.
“We want to send a clear message to these perpetrators that there will absolutely be no safe haven for them. We continue to work assiduously with the police, and will leave no stone unturned in ensuring they are brought to justice,” Green said, urging the community to come forward with any information that can assist the police with their investigations.
The human rights group, Hear The Children’s Cry is calling for the prosecution of persons involved in carrying out criminal acts on children.
In a statement condemning the murder of Wilson, the group said “we have not even gone ten months of the year and nearly 40 children have already been murdered during 2018. That is double the usual gruesome annual statistic.
The truth is, children in Jamaica are at terrible peril and are at the mercy of vicious criminals on a daily basis. They are not safe in their homes, they are not safe at school, they are in danger in their communities and on the roads, they are at horrible risk on public transportation, not to mention being vulnerable targets of paedophiles when they are online,” said the organisation’s founder Betty Ann Blaine.
She repeated an earlier call for the government to convene an Emergency Child Summit to devise a plan to protect the nation’s children.
“For two years now, Hear The Children’s Cry has been asking Prime Minister Andrew Holness to convene an Emergency Child Summit to take practical steps to protect the nation’s children and safeguard their lives. After meeting with me, the Prime Minister asked us to prepare a detailed proposal outlining the objectives and format of the Summit, which would call together all stakeholders to enact urgent solutions.
“The proposal was submitted to the Office of the Prime Minister in 2017 and yet month after month has gone by with no word from the country’s leader, despite our repeated calls for action from him,” Blaine said.
Meanwhile, the ministry said a team of first responders from the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) will visit the Ocho Rios High School to conduct counselling sessions with affected children, followed by a home visit during the course of the week.
Wilson’s death followed the killings of Shanoya Wray and Yetanya Francis, both 14, in the Corporate Area last month.