Council of churches condemns family members’ killing in Hanover
The Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) has added its voice to the condemnation of Wednesday’s brutal killing of a pregnant mother and her two young daughters in Green Island, Hanover.
The deceased have been identified as 39-year-old Adanique Cunningham and her daughters, Jayanna Coote, 7, and Shanique Coote, 4, all of Green Island in the parish.
Cunningham was reportedly pregnant when she met her untimely death, allegedly at the hands of her common-law husband and the father of the deceased children.
Reports are that about 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Cunningham and her children’s father had a dispute at the father's home, and the altercation developed into a fight. The dispute reportedly arose after questions were asked about whether he was the father of the unborn child.
A machete was reportedly brought into play, and Cunningham and her daughters were chopped to death. The alleged 61-year-old machete wielder was subsequently taken into police custody.
The JCC, in a statement on Wednesday, said it was “deeply shocked and grieved by the gruesome killings…”.
According to the church umbrella organisation, “This incident serves as a stark reminder of the disregard for the sanctity of life by many in our country; the violence so often meted out to our women and innocent children in domestic disputes’; and our seeming inability to manage conflicts without them becoming violent.”
The JCC said it believes that peace is possible, is needed, but it requires real engagement.
“It is clear that many of our people have developed skewed mindsets expressed in varying anti-social behaviours. And so, inflicting deadly aggression on innocent children and those who pose no threat is only a manifestation of a psyche that is crying out for healing. Life cannot continue like this,” the JCC indicated.
The JCC said it is urging the “Government, religious community, educators, civil society and all well-intentioned Jamaicans and others who have made this “rock” their home, to work at purging the psyche of our people so that we may stop making each other into enemies, but instead, seeing, respecting and honouring the “Image of God” in the other.”
The council said it is also imploring those who are troubled by experiences of violence to be “equipped and engaged as peace-builders within our communities. Let us create a better future for our children and let us keep them alive to enjoy it.”
The council has extended condolences to the families and communities most impacted by what it described as “this horrific occurrence”.