Jamaica: PM nudged to react to child shootings

Spurred by recent gun attacks on infants as young as one year old, child-rights advocate Betty-Ann Blaine is calling on Prime Minister (PM) Andrew Holness to make a bold and uncompromising statement that the nation will take a zero-tolerance stance on violence against children.

“It can’t be that we are living in a society where every single day, weeks, months and year you hear about all these crimes against children and people feel they can just do anything to a child and get away with it,” Blaine charged on Monday.

Blaine said that the prime minister should send a strong message or “dictate that if you rape, murder, or physically abuse a child in any way, the investigations will be swift and sure and steady, and the penalties are going to be extremely severe”.

The spate of shootings and sexual assault reports has been particularly tragic in May, which is observed nationally as Child Month.

Last week, three infants – a one-year-old, two-year-old, and four-year-old – were shot between Wednesday and Friday in the western and eastern quarters of the capital Kingston. In the last incident, which occurred on Friday, a four-year-old girl was shot three times in her legs.

The girl was shot on Walter Street in east Kingston when gunmen pounced on a group of women and children in the community in an ongoing feud.


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