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Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie, has appealed to the private sector to work with the state to coordinate a national programme to save and protect the nation’s children from harm.
Councillor McKenzie was addressing the launch of the Dunrobin Educational and Community Centre project at a Rotary Club of Kingston luncheon at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel yesterday (March 9).
Speaking against the background of the recent incidents of child homicides, the Mayor said, “I know that many people and organizations have been doing their own thing individually, but we are past that stage now we need one single coordinated national programme”.
He said the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) was willing to offer whatever resources it could to assist in this effort, “because we understand the urgency and we are committed to our children”.
Asserting that along with the passage of laws to protect children, the murder of children should be added to the list of capital punishments and carry the death penalty, Mr. McKenzie said, “the society cannot continue to be merciful to those who refuse to show mercy on our children”.
He recommended that the celebration of the month of May as Child Month be extended over 12 months from May 2006 to May 2007, “for us to work together to create a net to rescue our children let us give them a chance to escape the guns, the crime, the drugs, the prostitution let us work together to offer them encouragement. Let us try to protect and assist them”.
The goal, he said, could be achieved by “adopting” a child. “Let us take them into our homes and try to understand their needs. Skip a lunch for a day, every week, donate the money to a national support fund for children,” he suggested, calling on Rotarians to make this a special project for all Rotary Clubs in Jamaica this year.
Meanwhile, Mayor McKenzie congratulated the club on staying true to its motto of ‘service above self’ and lauded the organisation for its collaboration with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) to convert the “dust bowl” on Red Hills Road into a productive facility in the form of the Dunrobin Educational and Community Centre.
Rotary Club of Kingston and the Half-Way-Tree Community Development Committee Benevolent Society are the main sponsors of a $19.4 million project, which will entail the construction of a new, spacious school and community centre at 37