JIS News

Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, in a verbal offensive against the recent flare up of violence in Spanish Town last week, charged parents not to shelter their sons who they know had committed crimes, and warned criminals that they would be caught.
During a radio broadcast to the nation today, a few days after gunmen took the lives of seven persons and wounded four others in the old capital, the Prime Minister admitted that he was deeply disturbed about Jamaica’s prospects for progress, at this rate. “All our efforts will be in vain if we do not deal in a realistic manner with crime and violence,” he said.
Finding a solution to the violent outbreaks, he argued, was not the sole responsibility of the police, army, religious leaders, members of parliament, councillors nor those involved in the Peace Initiative, rather, it demanded the participation of all citizens.
“It is a very sad fact that most of the Jamaican people who live in the communities that are being torn apart by violence know who the gunmen are and where they can be found. I am addressing this to you directly.
“Understand that you are giving shelter to heartless monsters who are killing your children and stealing the hopes of the Jamaican people.
“Understand that you have made a choice to condone criminality rather than support law and order.
“Please go to the police or to anyone in the community who you trust. I know it will require courage if you decide to turn in these gunmen. But you must be prepared to give your children and yourselves the gift of peace, the gift of life,” he declared.
The Prime Minister said most of the crimes were being committed by young men under the age of 30, many of whom were in their early teens. He pleaded with them to stop the gun violence and seek help if necessary. “Turning to crime will only blight your future, for if the law does not catch up with you immediately, other gunmen will,” he stressed.
And for innocent residents in the affected communities, he promised that the government would continue to provide social and economic support to make life better.
To the parents who are having problems disciplining their children and who need guidance, there are programmes specifically designed to help them cope. He urged them not to resort to violence in the home, because such abuse of their children would only perpetuate the violence.
“If you think your child is involved in criminal activity, get help for them before it is too late,” he said.
The Prime Minister pointed to the many efforts by government, including the provision of more educational opportunities, to assist the youth and added that government agencies have been instructed to renew their efforts to reach out to the community.
In the meantime, he said the government would continue to open up its programmes to public scrutiny and invited any member of the public with new ideas or recommendations on what government action could make the difference, to get in touch with the Minister of Development in the Cabinet Office.
Persons with access to the Internet can find further information on government activities and programmes on the ministry websites or through the JIS website which has links to information on the work of the ministries.

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