March 25, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NATIONAL SECURITY MINISTER MUST IMMEDIATELY TELL THE PUBLIC WHAT THE CODE OF PRACTICE IS FOR PROTECTING CHILDREN
• Detailed Policy Regarding the Treatment of Children during Police Operations • Formation of "Parents Watch" groups • "Collective Security for Surety" Children's Advocate and New Nation Coalition Founder, Betty Ann Blaine, is calling on the Minister of National Security to immediately divulge to the public exactly what the Code of Practice is relating to children when police and military operations are carried out in volatile inner-city communities. This after two teenage girls, Nicketa Cameron and Vanessa Kirkland were killed within a space of less than three weeks under questionable circumstances.
"In any civilized society, special considerations are given to children by law enforcement. Is this the case in Jamaica, and what are those policies and procedures?", asks Mrs. Blaine.
"We cannot sit back and watch our children cut down this way", Blaine adds. "When will it stop, and how can we together as concerned citizens fix this problem?"
"Our hearts go out to the families, the loved ones and the communities in this time of grief. It is now time for all of us to put aside our differences and collectively work towards a lasting solution."
"Already some communities are working on solutions, asserts Blaine. In Fletchers Land for example, the citizens have come together and imposed a curfew for the time of evening that children should be inside their homes. That community found their own solution and that is a model that can be replicated across the country. Also, parents are the first line of defense for their children."
"The Fletcher's Land initiative is what Jamaicans call "collective security for surety". If citizens in a community come together, the problem can be alleviated. In addition, New Nation is recommending the formation of "Parents Watch" groups which will work closely with the police to build partnerships for safety."
"We are calling on Police Commissioner, Owen Ellington, to answer to the people of Jamaica regarding the policy of use of force by police officers. "We believe that those details are crucial in understanding the magnitude and complexities of the problem", contends Blaine. "These are tragedies of immense proportions and yet tragedies that we believe can be avoided. We expect that the Minister of National Security and the Police Commissioner will offer formal apologies for the killings of the two teenage girls, and will tell the public categorically how the police intend to correct and improve the situation."
"The Minister of National Security must also now convince the public that the investigations will be carried out with speed, impartiality and transparency, particularly at this time when there is a public standoff between the police and INDECOM – the independent body with the responsibility to investigate police abuses. These are questions that must be answered, and the public must be prepared to apply the pressure to get those answers", Blaine affirms.
Betty Ann Blaine: 294-8125, 462-0628
Aggrey Palmer: 381-4600
Celta Kirkland: 294-8123
Our vision is of a New Jamaica in which every Jamaican is valued equally, where true security and justice prevails for all, and where every man, woman and child has the recognized right to a good quality of life, and an opportunity to achieve his or her God-given potential.
NEW NATION COALITION
18 Westminster Rd, Kingston 10
Tel:(876) 294-8125 / 462-6028/ 844-6922
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