PSOJ calls for immediate action to curb violence against children

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) has expressed deep concern about at the violent crimes being committed against the nation’s children.

Renee Morrison-May, Chairperson of the PSOJ’s Gender and Disability Affairs Committee, in expressing concern on behalf of the organisation, said: “The crime statistics are a cause for grave concern to every well-thinking Jamaican. Since the start of 2019, 15 children have been murdered.

“In less than a month, we heard reports of little eight-year-old Shante Skyers, who was (believed to have been) raped then murdered; the mutilated body of 17-year-old Stefika Smith was found, and 15-year-old Jevaughn Morris was shot and killed in Bull Bay,” she added.

Morrison-May elaborated that “Our Jamaican mothers and, indeed, all Jamaicans, must play a part in removing the scourge of violence and crime against young people by reporting all criminal incidents to the ‘Violence Against Children Reward Fund’ or to the police.”

The PSOJ’s CEO, Makeba Bennett-Easy, added her voice to the call for action.

“We’re being inundated daily with reports of missing children, too many of whom are then found murdered. This is a disturbing trend that should stir passion for immediate action and justice in not only the authorities, but in ordinary citizens. We cannot wait until it is at our doorsteps before we act.”

The President of the PSOJ, Howard Mitchell, shared their sentiments.

“This cannot continue. We need to make sure these children’s deaths do not go unsolved, and that this monstrous trend is corrected.”

In November 2016, the PSOJ launched a “Violence against Children Reward Fund”, which is administered by Crime Stop. It rewards people who assist in the arrest and charge of anyone who has committed violent acts against children, including teenagers up to the age of 18 years. Violent acts against children, in this capacity, include murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, molestation, carnal abuse and child abuse. Information can be given anonymously to Crime Stop by dialling 311 or 1-888-991-4000.