End ‘in­forma fi dead’ cul­ture

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Jodi-Ann Gilpin Gleaner Writer jodi-ann.gilpin@glean­erjm.com

A COALI­TION of par­ent-teacher as­so­ci­a­tions and other groups push­ing for an end to vi­o­lence against chil­dren is plead­ing for an end to the ‘in­forma fi dead’ cul­ture – a prac­tice be­lieved to have played a role in the death of 14-year-old Ja­maica Col­lege (JC) stu­dent Ni­cholas Fran­cis.

Er­rol Holmes, pres­i­dent of the JC Par­ent-Teacher As­so­ci­a­tion, said the ‘in­forma fi dead’ cul­ture has sti­fled the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try, as it leaves per­sons afraid to re­port crimes. He also said law-abid­ing cit­i­zens can­not al­low the bad in so­ci­ety to out­weigh the good.

Holmes was ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence held yes­ter­day at the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, He­roes Cir­cle, held to out­line rec­om­men­da­tions to pro­tect the na­tion’s chil­dren go­ing for­ward.

Fran­cis was killed by a man at­tempt­ing to rob him while they were aboard a green Toy­ota Coaster bus in the vicin­ity of Blue Cas­tle Drive on Old Hope Road in St An­drew.

The sus­pect in Fran­cis’ mur­der, Qua­cie Hart, has been charged and is set to ap­pear in court on Fri­day.

Holmes made a pas­sion­ate plea for cit­i­zens to take back the coun­try in or­der to cre­ate a con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment for young peo­ple.

“We are mak­ing a stri­dent call to civil so­ci­ety to re­sist this phi­los­o­phy called

Coali­tion against at­tacks on chil­dren out­lines rec­om­men­da­tions to end vi­o­lence

‘in­forma fi dead’. When good peo­ple don’t speak be­cause of the fear of bad peo­ple, bad peo­ple rule. Two per cent (of peo­ple) are bad and 98 per cent are good, but when the 98 per cent are frozen into in­ac­tiv­ity and fear, the two per cent lead,” he said.

‘IT CAN­NOT CON­TINUE’

“My son turned 16 yes­ter­day (Mon­day) and I hugged him and prayed for him this morn­ing (Tues­day), but Xavier Fran­cis (Ni­cholas’ fa­ther) doesn’t have his son. Ni­cholas was on a bus filled with adults and stu­dents and they al­lowed him to be dragged from the back, abused in the mid­dle, stabbed on the step, thrown from the bus with a bro­ken hand and did noth­ing,” he said.

He added: “It can­not con­tinue, and I think a lot of that is be­cause peo­ple feel if they talk they are go­ing to end up the same way (dead). We must take back our coun­try and, in ad­di­tion to tak­ing back our coun­try, there is some­thing called cit­i­zen’s ar­rest, we must ex­er­cise that.”

Said Holmes: “One man can’t kill 20 peo­ple un­less he’s Sam­son (in the Bi­ble).”

He also ar­gued that he be­lieved that all schools should im­ple­ment a spir­i­tual com­mit­tee in their in­sti­tu­tions.

“There’s a model at the St An­drew High School (for Girls). They have a spir­i­tual com­mit­tee which meets on a reg­u­lar ba­sis to pray over the chil­dren at the school and to ask God for guid­ance. It has been my be­lief that it is God who has been lead­ing this na­tion and it is our God who will help us, and I think it is a good thing for us to call on the name of God,” he said.

“I think that is some­thing that I’m go­ing to rec­om­mend at our next PTA meet­ing, that we, with im­me­di­ate ef­fect, con­sider very strongly to put in place a spir­i­tual com­mit­tee and look at how God will use us,” he de­clared.

Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion Ruel Reid, in his re­sponse, noted that he was in agree­ment with the rec­om­men­da­tions and in­di­cated that he would be work­ing to en­sure that ev­ery­thing was done to pro­tect the na­tion’s chil­dren.

Reid also said he was in dis­cus­sion with Min­is­ter of Trans­port Mike Henry about es­tab­lish­ing a sus­tain­able bus sys­tem for stu­dents.

See full list of rec­om­men­da­tions on­line

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