Saturday 8 August, 2020

A view from the outside: Judging a nation

Shante Skyers

Shante Skyers

With Karyl Walker

A nation is judged by the way it treats its children and the elderly. On both scores, Jamaica has performed disgracefully.

News that another female child has been found murdered, this time in Hanover, is yet another crunching blow, an indication that we are no protectors of our future leaders, athletes, musicians, teachers and all the noble callings that well-thinking adults aspire to.

We are a nation that has bred rapists, butchers and sexual deviants who have not an ounce of human kindness in their system.

Like it or not, they are a reflection of us.

Just as we feel pride when our global ambassadors outdo themselves and leave us flashing ear to ear smiles and beaming with pride, so too we must feel disgusted and ashamed when those among us prey on our children by sexually abusing, then snuffing out their lives before dumping them to rot in some desolate, forbidden place. 

The latest child to have been found murdered is 11-year-old Trisha Morris. Young Trisha's decomposing body was found by residents in the parish of Hanover. It appeared she had been sexually molested as her underwear was partially removed and her clothes were ripped. Only forensic testing can confirm if she was raped.

Five grown men have been taken in custody in connection with that incident.

The shock and awe of the macabre murder of Shante Skyers  in West Rural St Andrew has not yet worn off. Her body was found beneath a pile of garbage about two weeks ago.

A post mortem examination has revealed that she was killed by blunt force trauma and while it has not yet been confirmed that she was raped, it has been unearthed that her hymen was broken. Again a DNA test will have to prove if any rape occurred.

Last year, five children who were reported missing were found dead. Four of them were girls.

It is a sad situation, especially when one considers a police report, that there are still 340 children unaccounted for between January 1, 2018 and April 30 this year.

On an average, some 1,500 children are reported missing each year and, thankfully, most of them (about 80 per cent) return home safely.

But how have we come to this?

Have the chickens come home to roost?

For decades, predatory men have been preying on our underage girls. It is an open secret in some rural and most lower income communities.

Whether it be the 'Don' or a man who wields financial influence, our young girls have been pawned out or forcibly taken.

Now the predators have been going after girls not yet into puberty and we are feeling the gut-wrenching effects of it.

Remember Yetanya Francis?

Her body was burnt just metres from her home in the community of Zimbabwe in Arnett Gardens in August of last year.

In the three cases mentioned above, suspects have been taken into custody but has anyone been tried, found guilty and sent away? 

It is almost a year since Yetanya's brutal and untimely demise. This is the snail's pace at which the wheels of justice turn in Jamaica, if they turn any at all.

Is there any hope that justice will be found for Shante and Trisha? 

All three were alone when they were taken against their will. Parents, we need no other signal that our children are under siege and we cannot leave them to travel to a school, church or even to the shop by themselves.

Let us hand them whistles and other noise makers to use when they feel threatened and, most importantly, train them in the habit of being very wary of strangers.

The village has to become more vigilant and return to raising and caring for everyone of our children.

After all, every child should be seen as yours.

I can only hope that those brutes who keep preying on underage girls are eliminated from our midst.

It is very tempting to say by any means necessary, but the law must take its course.

Over to you members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

That is my view from the outside.

Karyl Walker is a multi-award-winning journalist who has worked for Loop Jamaica, the Jamaica Observer, the RJR Communications Group and Nationwide Radio among other media entities. He now resides in South Florida.


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