Madam Speaker:

Yesterday we got up to the very sad news of the horrific killing of a grandmother and her two grand daughters in Tryall Heights in Spanish Town, St Catherine.

As a St Catherine Member of Parliament, as a Minister, as a mother, as a grandmother, as a woman, as a citizen, I feel the pain of this vile act to my core.

Madam Speaker, there can be no excuse for this wickedness. We condemn it in the strongest sense. We commiserate with and send our condolences to the family.

And we urge the community: anyone with information please say something and let us have justice for Iciline McFarlane, Christina McFarlane and Mishane McFarlane.

I’ve asked the Bureau of Gender Affairs to visit the community and to work with other public and private sector entities to provide support to members of the family and to the community at large.

This House has joined me several times in the past in condemning violent attacks against our women and children. And in the last Parliament we tabled the Report of the Joint Select Committee that reviewed the Sexual Offences Act, Offences Against the Person Act, the Domestic Violence Act, and the Child Care and Protection Act.

This crime highlights the need for us to move quickly along the process towards implementing the recommendations and amending the laws to give greater protection to our people, to serve as a deterrent and to eliminate the violence.

Madam Speaker, as fate would have it, tomorrow we join the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls and the 16 Days of Activism towards ending the violence. It is the kind of violence that was perpetrated against Miss Icy and her grand daughters that we are committed to ending.

Madam Speaker, as a country we feel distressed and we sometimes despair when we hear of these brutal acts of violence. But we mustn’t retreat and we cannot give in to the gunmen. This is when we must fight back stronger than
ever before! We cannot surrender Jamaica and we must develop a steely determination that we will end the violence; knowing that it takes all of us to end the violence; and that the violence is not an inevitable part of life.
It can end. It must end. It will end.

We must renew our commitment to ending domestic abuse. We must commit to stop using violence as a way to discipline our children. It’s time we decide as a nation that we will stop the beating. We must end all acts of violence and abuse in our homes, in our communities and in our country.

Madam Speaker, we have to focus on the homes and the communities, because most of the violence against women and girls takes place in the homes.

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