Prime Minister Andrew Holness has endorsed the Proclamation of Friday (June 23) to be observed as a National Day of Mourning for Jamaica’s children, stating that is a positive action for change.
The proclamation, read by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, urges Jamaicans to mourn children who
have been victims of violence and abuse. The Day also encourages citizens to participate through devotionals, remembrance services in homes, workplaces, churches and schools, and private or small group prayer vigils.
Persons may also engage in individual or group moments of silence, the turning on of headlights, the wearing of black, the tolling of church bells at noon, and any other appropriate response.
“The turning on of your headlights, wearing black, they may seem to be, on the surface of it, frivolous. But when taken together, it is a very powerful outward demonstration of how society feels, how we are grieving,” Holness said.
The Prime Minister also noted the recent case of eight year-old Danielle Rowe, a student of the Braeton Primary and Infant School who was abducted and murdered.
“It is important that in the collective expression of our mourning, we indicate that what has happened, not just to young Danielle, is an assault on our collective sensibilities… a blot on the collective moral fabric of the nation and that we are not going to remain silent, lest it gives the impression that the country has fallen numb; lest it gives the impression that that moral line in the sand which should not be crossed, that it is no blurred or totally erased,” he stated.
Holness noted that the Day is an opportunity to send a strong signal to law makers that these acts must have laws that are strong deterrents. He added that if the law does not deter perpetrators, the penalties must be severe because the act was significant.
The Prime Minister informed that the Government is in the process of finalising new legislation that will include increasing the penalties for murders and associated crimes, and amendments to the Domestic Violence Act, among other relevant laws.