Displaying items by tag: Child Murder

Tuesday, 13 June 2023 16:17

Hang Em High...Save Our Children!

Andrew Clunis Passport Sized Photo PosterisedBy Andrew Clunis

In October of last year, I wrote a commentary entitled “Jamaica should have popped Rushane Barnett’s neck – the death penalty is in force, use it!”


I was soundly chastised over my take on the emotive issue of capital punishment in Jamaica. You may recall that Rushane Barnett is the 21-year-old animal parading as a human being who savagely butchered a young mother and her four children in Cocoa Piece Clarendon almost one year ago. They were his cousins by the way. The young lady had taken him into her home during his time of need, and that was how he repaid her.

I argued strongly that despite belatedly pleading guilty, he should have been hung at the neck until dead, preferably in May Pen Town Centre.

Members of civil society and the church thought that my views had no place in modern society and that I was perhaps no better than Barnett for holding those views. Yesterday distinguished Kings Counsel Peter Champagnie echoed those views. Former National Security Minister Robert Montague shared those views in parliament, are they also less than civil? The law says that the death penalty should be reserved for the “worst of the worst cases”. How do you, the ordinary man, classify these brutal murders of our children? Are they not the “worst of the worst”?

I stand by my position and just to be clear, I don’t believe in euthanasia. The two most appropriate forms of capital punishment are hanging or electrocution. Those are the only punishment for capital murder that can ultimately bring closure to the relatives of victims. This is my view and it is not based on scholastic research, but on my emotive response to what is a sickening trend emerging in Jamaica!

The brutal killing of 8-year-old Danielle Rowe on Friday has once again shocked the nation’s conscience. As customary, we hear the condolences and platitudes from those in authority and we see the usual reactive behaviour of the government. The Minister of Education has suddenly seen the need to install cameras at the entrance of all primary and infant schools.

What a $22million lightbulb moment!

How about going a step further and providing such surveillance at all schools, hospitals, health centres, police stations, courthouses, prisons and other government-run institutions?

The PNP has long been saying that the JLP doesn’t have a crime plan and that argument is beginning to gain traction, despite the fact that the PNP itself doesn’t even have an anti-crime thought.

The truth is, the government has been more reactive than proactive in its approach to crime. States of Emergency are meant for limited use but they have become the major weapon in the arsenal against crime. I am surprised one has not been declared in Braeton, St Catherine, from where Danielle was snatched.

Jamaica Eye, the government’s digital public surveillance initiative is a sleeping giant. It is clear that somebody in the national security hierarchy believes in its potential, so why isn’t the government making it a top priority in the fight against crime? Had there been proper surveillance outside the school gates, Danielle’s abductors could have been tracked all the way to Roosevelt Road in St Andrew, where she was dumped to die. Her attackers did not walk with her to Kingston. If they took the Mandela Highway or the Toll Road, with adequate surveillance equipment in place along the routes, the police could have easily put the pieces together by both identifying the vehicle and the culprits through image detection and recognition.

We have first class investigators in this country, but their efforts are constrained by the tools they are assigned to work with.

In a country that has been plagued by violent crime since the 1970s, this should not be a matter of public debate at this point. In the same way the government has fought tooth and nail to implement NIDS, similar zeal should be shown in securing our public spaces.

How many more Danielles will there be?

The Ministry of National Security was allocated $96.8 billion for the 2022-2023 financial year.  

In 2020, Andrew Holness, said that $1.2 billion was set aside in the budget for the supply and installation of cameras, servers and software for ongoing project activities.

He said the money would be used to acquire radio communication and dispatch equipment.

“We are going to put cameras everywhere. We are committed to doing that and we are building out the infrastructure to be able to accommodate that,” Mr. Holness said in parliament.

Three years on, has that programme been rolled out? Do you see evidence of it? Do you feel safer in public spaces?

Well, with Jamaica Eye having been hacked two days ago, one wonders if the money has been well spent.

Jamaica needs a comprehensive approach to dealing with crime.

What kind of society produces individuals who are so comfortable with cutting people’s throats, even babies. They were not imported…for the most part they grew up here. What is it in this society of churches that has led to such devilish characteristics?

We often boast about the massive increase in the number of tertiary institutions operating in the country. But what are they doing to impact social change? What are our sociologists and anthropologists doing to help create a more civilized, kinder, empathetic generation for the future?

Social development in Jamaica is being spearheaded by politicians (who have just been voted the most corrupt lot in in the country), bloggers who struggle with basic spelling and reading and social media influencers, the fastest growing career group in the country.

We need to pivot, refocus and return to our core values.

There was a time when it was easy to distinguish right from wrong…it was inculcated in Sunday school.  

But now, even the churches have failed so badly that ethics and morality play no significant role in the national conscience.

The most influential people in the country, our entertainers spend their time on their ‘live’ squabbling and bickering over childish things in their desperate bid for likes and views. They display selective outrage. Have you ever seen how they rally when death reaches one of their own? Yet they remain mum on these outrageous incidents like the Cocoa Piece Massacre and the savage slaying of young Danielle.

Jamaica is in problem. And let me hasten to say that this is not the doing of this Andrew Holness administration. We all knew but hoped that this day would not come. The seeds were sown in the 1970s and 80s and it’s now harvest for the locusts.

The country has to stand together in the face of the challenges! Our future should not be left to the sole determination of politicians. Rally the spirits of our ancestors if we must, but let us give our blood, sweat and tears to make this country the promise it was meant to be.

In parting, I ask you…do you want to see capital punishment reinvoked in Jamaica? Should it be placed on the ballot at the next elections as a referendum issue, so the people may decide? Send your comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or @jamaicatimesa

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