Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - An­drew.harris@glean­erjm.com

ALTHOUGH MAYOR of Kingston An­gela Brown Burke is ap­peal­ing for par­ents to “in­struct their chil­dren to de­sist from the prac­tice of tak­ing cell phone(s) to school un­less it’s ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary”, Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion Ruel Reid is not in favour of that ar­gu­ment. He pointed out that the na­tion’s chil­dren are be­ing tar­geted for far less than a cell phone, and he im­plored the coun­try to stand up for them.

“I will not take that type of ar­gu­ment that they can’t take the elec­tronic de­vices to school. As a mat­ter of fact, when I was a prin­ci­pal at Ja­maica Col­lege, the par­ents called for the need to take their cell phones to school for their own safety,” the min­is­ter told The Sun­day Gleaner yes­ter­day.

“Stu­dents have been held up for their lunch money be­fore, or even the pair of shoes they (were) wear­ing. We have to stand up against these types of ac­tions be­cause this is our na­tion.”

Over the past week, six stu­dents were re­port­edly held up and robbed, one of whom was killed. On Wed­nes­day, 14-yearold Ja­maica Col­lege stu­dent Ni­cholas Fran­cis was stabbed to death for his cell phone.

Two other Ja­maica Col­lege stu­dents were also held up and robbed of their pos­ses­sions; and a fourth-form Kingston Col­lege stu­dent, Marvin Bloom­field, was held up, robbed, and stabbed on Fri­day evening.


Reid said these at­tacks on the stu­dents call to at­ten­tion the need for pub­lic safety.

“There will have to be a fo­cus and de­lib­er­ate re­sponse,” said Reid. “I am equally very con­cerned and out­raged at the sit­u­a­tion.”

He charged the na­tion to stand up and let these un­law­ful per­sons re­alise that law-abid­ing cit­i­zens out­num­ber them and are not threat­ened by their ac­tions, but rather will not

II­tol­er­ate be­hav­iour.

Close to the same pe­riod last year, 22-year-old Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy stu­dent Shanique Wal­ters was bru­tally shot dead by crim­i­nals af­ter they at­tempted to rob her.

Er­rol Holmes, pres­i­dent of the Ja­maica Col­lege Par­ent-Teacher As­so­ci­a­tion, said “a re­ward to­talling $1 mil­lion is be­ing of­fered by the Ja­maica Col­lege fam­ily, in part­ner­ship with the Pri­vate Sec­tor Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Ja­maica through Crime Stop, for the ar­rest and charge of the per­son who stabbed and killed 14-year-old Ja­maica Col­lege these forms of stu­dent Ni­cholas Fran­cis on Oc­to­ber 26, while trav­el­ling home on a Coaster bus on Old Hope Road in Kingston.

“Any­one with in­for­ma­tion can call Crime Stop at 311. You don’t have to give your name, just tell what you know. We want this per­son in cus­tody now and are pre­pared to pay out the re­ward within 24 hours of his cap­ture.”

In a show of sol­i­dar­ity, to­mor­row sev­eral schools will join in protest themed ‘Vi­o­lence Against Ja­maica’s Chil­dren Must Stop Now!’ Teach­ers, guid­ance coun­sel­lors and po­lice per­son­nel con­sole griev­ing stu­dents at Ja­maica Col­lege on Thurs­day. They were mourn­ing the mur­der of 14year-old Ni­cholas Fran­cis in a bus rob­bery.



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