“I am again deeply saddened and profoundly shaken by this attack and senseless killing of one of our young citizens.” she said.
Speaking specifically to spouses, family and friends of criminal elements, the Minister lamented that those who decide to take people’s lives at whatever cost are devoid of any morals and understanding of the value of life and have been shielded for far too long.
“We must not allow them to take over our society nor hinder its growth,” the Minister added.
The Minister, who was addressing students at the Norman Manley High School in Kingston as a part of the Ministry of Youth and Culture’s ongoing #IamConnected School Tour, said maturing into productive and responsible citizens is a process which must start while they are young. Highlighting that even as students, they too have a collective responsibility to speak up about acts of violence being meted out against them or their peers, the Minister said protecting criminal elements by not reporting them to the police, makes them also guilty.
“The lives of our young people should be nurtured and not be taken away maliciously or brutally at the hands of criminals who walk among us knowingly. The reality is that these criminal elements, who continue to wreak havoc in our country, live in houses and in our communities, they have sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers who know of their wrong doings and refuse to speak up. This must not continue!” Minister Hanna expressed.
The Youth Minister also added that now is the time to channel energies, as a nation, and weed out criminal elements as we strive to create a safer and more productive environment for our children and young people to inherit.
The Minister encouraged the students to take their civic duties seriously as this will, in many ways, guide them in becoming responsible citizens as they grow older. She also encouraged them to get involved in the programmes being offered by the National Youth Service (NYS) which will undoubtedly foster their social and personal development.
“Get connected with NYS, make use of the opportunities that are available to you and get involved in extra-curricular activities. Active minds develop into brilliant minds,” she added.
The Minister expressed her deepest sympathies to the family, friends and classmates who mourn the untimely passing of young Shanique Walters.
In light of the unfortunate incident, the Minister has called on all well-thinking Jamaicans to look out for students, many of whom are living away from their families while they attend university. She implored each and every one to remain vigilant in the fight against crime and urged any witnesses to come forward.