News from the OPM

PM Commits to Reforms as he Mourns Murder of Three Year Old

Prime Minister Andrew Holness today said he is mourning with the nation and keeping a close watch on the investigation into the murder of a three-year-old girl in St Ann.

Prime Minister Holness said he has had conversations with the Police Commissioner Dr Karl Williams, who assured him that all is being done to bring the killer or killers of the child to justice: “The government is clear and adamant that we will do whatever we can to deal with these gruesome and indecent acts, especially against our women and children. This is a sincere commitment by myself and our cabinet. I understand that good progress is being made in the investigation and I believe this is one case where the perpetrator or perpetrators will not get away”.

He also revealed that Minister in charge of Gender Affairs, Hon. Olivia Grange will give a statement during her Sectoral Presentation on issues related to gender based violence tomorrow (Tuesday, July 12).  “Minister Grange will be updating the nation on the delayed Joint Select Committee to recommend amendments to the Offences Against the Person Act, the Sexual Offences Act, the Domestic Violence Act and The Child Care and Protection Act. This process was delayed and there has been no meeting since December 2014. We plan to restart that process and finally get these reforms in place”.

The Prime Minister added that the suggestion by his team then was to define, redefine or augment offences and punishments to be applied to the murder of pregnant women and other forms of violence against women and children. “We cannot continue on a path where the most vulnerable are targets. We must enhance penalties to act as deterrents or as appropriate punishment.”

In imploring all Jamaicans to be parents to all children, Prime Minister Holness urged all citizens to protect children as if they were their own. He stated that the community has an important role to play in alerting the authorities to suspicious activities related to children.