JIS News

Chairman of the St. Catherine Parish Council, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, and his counterpart in the Portmore Municipality, Keith Hinds, are calling for tougher stances against crime in the parish.
Speaking at National Heroes Day Civic Ceremonies held on Monday (Oct.20) in Spanish Town and Portmore, both councillors urged citizens to adapt the principles for which the nation’s Heroes fought for by rejecting criminality.
“We need to change our culture. Rather than persons trying to become like our National Heroes or those we are honouring today, they are looking towards being a ‘don man’ or a ‘donette’ in their community, and it speaks to the deterioration of our society,” said Dr. Wheatley, who is also Mayor of Spanish Town.
He stressed the need for the laws to be revisited, as they relate to punishing the perpetrators of crime and violence, and called on citizens to lobby the support of their Members of Parliament and other individuals in positions of authority, in order to “voice our cause in Parliament and the halls of justice.”
“Criminals need to fear the law. I think that we are wasting too much time feeding some of those who have committed murder, while families are mourning the loss of their innocent loved ones. I believe that once they commit a crime such as murder, and they (receive) punishment equivalent to the crime they commit, it (crime) will stop,” Dr. Wheatley said.
Portmore’s Mayor, Keith Hinds, told JIS News that the local authorities could be more effective channels through which information on how best citizens can assist in combating crime in their communities could be disseminated.
He took issue with what he said was the practice by some residents of harbouring criminals in their communities, and urged these individuals to be mindful of the repercussion of their actions, and desist from doing so.
“We really must stop and take a look at the wider picture; these men.. are killing our children, I have no apology when I say, we should hang them and do so quickly,” the Mayor asserted.
When asked whether this stance is a new thrust by Mayors, Mr. Hinds said they (Mayors) face the stark reality of the incidence of crime, when they are approached by traumatised individuals, mothers in particular, who come seeking assistance to bury their loved ones.
“It is becoming overwhelming, and I suppose each Mayor across the island would be faced with these challenges. We are human beings and we recognise that something is terribly wrong in our country, and we have to set out as leaders to begin to right this wrong,” Mayor Hinds emphasised.
He argued that consensus must be reached by all well-thinking stakeholders, as to how the issue is to be effectively dealt with, pointing out that he would be moving to this end, by addressing residents at citizens association meetings.
Both Councils bestowed awards on a number of citizens, in recognition of their sterling contributions.