JIS News

Chairman of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Senator Norman Grant has renewed his call for harsher penalties for persons, who have been convicted of violent crimes against children.
According to Senator Grant, persons charged for rape and murder, should serve their sentences separately instead of concurrently, as is now the case. “I am fundamentally against the law that talks about when you rape and you then murder that you should run the sentence concurrently. I really think that it should be an additional sentence.so if you rape and kill, you serve two life sentences,” he declared.
Senator Grant made this petition, while addressing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Jamaica 4-H Clubs and the Child Development Agency (CDA), which took place recently at the Health Ministry.
Referring to his resolution in the Senate in May of this year, that convicts should serve no less than 25 years in prison for raping children, Senator Grant said, “once you attempt to rape a child, the minimum sentence should be life imprisonment”.
Senator Grant further noted that legislative changes pertaining to violent acts committed against children should be treated with a high degree of urgency, as it was the responsibility of the state to ensure that the nation’s children were protected from the atrocities meted out to them by criminals.
“It is for us as a nation,” he asserted, “to deal with the rights of our children.and there certainly needs to be, not only the political will, but the legislative support to ensure that this take place.”
In 2004, 119 children under the age of 18 years old were murdered, while 70 per cent of the victims of reported sexual offences were children. In 2005, of the 8,275 victims of major crimes, (murder, rape, carnal abuse, incest, shootings), 24 per cent were children, who were under the age of 14 years old.
Noting that these were “frightening statistics”, Senator Grant said that he was in full support of, and was pleased to partner with organizations such as the CDA, which took the business of protecting the nation’s children seriously.
The signing of the MOU served to formalize the partnership between the 4-H Clubs and the CDA by providing the framework within which both organizations can further collaborate, especially as it relates to the expansion of programmes and projects offered by the 4-H Clubs into more children’s homes.