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Commissioner of Police, Lucius Thomas has encouraged students to be tolerant of each other and to avoid using weapons in settling their disputes. “The peace we talk about, we expect you to exhibit it on a daily and on an hourly basis. You should not fight or quarrel. Fight leads to murder,” the Commissioner said.
Mr. Thomas was speaking at a Peace Day ceremony held yesterday (March 1), at Waterford High School in Portmore, St. Catherine.
The ceremony, which was organised by the South East St. Catherine Outreach Committee, in collaboration with Waterford High, was held in recognition of Peace Day, observed under the theme, “Peace.Let it start with you and me”.
The Commissioner said that too many young people found themselves in situations where they do not discuss an issue, but the first thing you hear, “I’m going for my gun. I’m going for my knife”.Mr. Thomas also urged students to take their lessons seriously in order to become “useful men and women of tomorrow”.
“If you do not take in what your teachers try to inculcate in you about love and peace and respect for others and prepare yourself for the future, you are not going to make it,” he said.
Stressing the importance of education, the Commissioner said that young people who lacked the capacity to reason were likely to get into trouble. He expressed concern about the levels of crime and violence, especially committed by young people. He noted that between 2000 and 2004, there were 172 murders, 153 shootings, 292 cases of rape and 307 robberies committed by young persons under 16 years old, who were either out of school or were members of gangs.
During the same period, a total of 279 children under 17 years old were murdered, 351 were shot and injured, 2,284 girls were victims of rape and 285 were robbed of their cell phones, books and lunch money, the Commissioner added.
He encouraged the students to join youth clubs or organisations that would make their lives meaningful. “You are the future and what you do today will bear fruits tomorrow,” Mr. Thomas said.