PM Golding to Meet Today to Address Crisis of Violence in Schools


Amidst the growing concern of the high incidents of crime and violence in the island’s schools, Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, has called a meeting for this afternoon (NOV 21), of the heads of all schools in the corporate area, along with the Ministers of Education and National Security and the Commissioner of Police.
He said it is important to put in place a whole new regime to protect children to, from and in schools. He said the Commissioner of Police, is now recruiting district constables to be deployed in as many of the schools as possible. He is also strengthening the security arrangements of the safe school zones.
Mr Golding has called on schools to sensitise their students about their own security and for them to be more alert and cautious. He said a whole programme of sensitisation is to be implemented to get children to recognise that they are under siege and they too must be part of the response Government is going to provide. “We are not going to leave them exposed and we will go the extra mile to ensure they are protected”, he said.
Mr Golding was speaking yesterday afternoon (Nov 20), at the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation’s Civic Ceremony in downtown Kingston, for the unveiling of a monument and sign board in honour of Jamaica’s children who have died under tragic or violent circumstances. He has asked the Commissioner to maintain patrols in those areas where children are on foot going to school. Mr Golding said he has also asked the police to take action within the law to prevent the congregation of people, mainly young men outside of school premises. He said a clear signal must be sent that this is not a place to loiter. Mr Golding said the Task Force set up recently has been working to identify measures to strengthen the response capability to assist children in distress. A number of initiatives will be rolled out in addition to the emergency 211 number for children in distress, and said an announcement will be made next week.
Meanwhile, Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Desmond McKenzie, in his address, said the country had failed its children and the time had come to give them back their innocence. He said the monument is a recognition of the failure of the society. “We should be erecting a sign to celebrate the achievements of our young people, instead we are celebrating the lives of those who were not able to make any impression on our society”. He announced that come the first of May next year-the start of Child’s month, the KSAC would meet at the monument to pay respect to the lives of our children.
In a moving presentation to a hushed audience, Richard Dean, father of slain Ananda Dean called on the parents not to allow her death to go in vain. He said those who caused her death should be brought to justice and be made to pay for her murder. But he said her death should be used to ensure that parents spend more time with their children, to meet with teachers to discuss their school lives and to attend parent teachers’ meetings.
The monument unveiling forms part of the observation of Local Government Month, which is being observed under the theme ‘Local Government reform: putting governance in your hand’. The monument is located on the corner of Church and Tower Streets in an area named ‘Secret Gardens’. The monument was designed by Paul Napier with main sponsorship from the Bank of Nova Scotia, the CHASE Funds and the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites, Jamaica National Building Society, the Kingston Bookshop, along with a host of other downtown businesses.

JIS Social