Jamaica was an elated nation a month and a half ago as it celebrated the victories of its Olympic heroes. This week, a stunned nation is in mourning as the headless body of a little girl believed to be 11-year-old Ananda Dean was discovered weeks after her abduction.
This harrowing end to the search for Dean is made even more disturbing by the fact that more than fifty children have been murdered in Jamaica since the start of the year, among them Aakim Scott, whose dismembered body was found stuffed into a bag. A teenager has since been charged with his gruesome murder.
Jamaican bloggers are as shocked as the rest of the population, and are making their voices heard in an effort to examine how such brutal acts against minors have become so widespread. Even before Dean's body was reportedly discovered, Kadene Porter at Abeng News Magazine was keeping a close eye on developments:
September 25 is day eight since eleven year-old Ananda “Passion” Dean went missing in her Kingston, Jamaica community. The feverish hunt for her continues, days after a concerned passer-by found her brand new schoolbooks dumped on a busy Pembroke Hall avenue in the nation's capital. Understandably, her parents are facing an anguish no parent should ever have to face, but which is becoming all too familiar across the length and breadth of Jamaica when children do not return home from school after a reasonable hour. Ananda’s disappearance has occured on the heels of a most disturbing and gruesome find in the sleepy little district of Sandside, St Mary, where the dismembered body of another 11 year old was recovered from a garbage bag.
Problem is, the children are fast running out of trusted adults. Many of the island’s nearly three million citizens are agonizing over the acts of depravity which are so frequently reported in their daily newspapers. They are frightened, not knowing when the blood-lust will be directed at them, and are also angry at the growing realization that the state is powerless, or unwilling some say, to protect them. Concealed weapons of every description have become staples in the survival kit of adult and child, whether from the tough inner-city streets or the dwellings along the nation’s rural dirt-tracks, the grim determination of citizens forced to claim justice for themselves.
Once the body (believed to be Dean's) was found, Porter wrote a follow-up post:
News reports in the island’s major dailies detail the gruesome discovery and the reaction of family and witnesses, along with reports of the taunting telephone calls received by the parents by pranksters demanding ransom or providing clues that led nowhere. Although fifty children have been murdered since the start of the year, the child’s father was told when he reported her as missing, that the police would need to wait for a 24 hour period before she could be officially listed as missing and any action taken. With the current murder trends, this lack of prompt action shows remarkable insensitivity on the part of the police, for by the next day, the trail of her abductors had grown cold.
Untold grief will hover over Ananda’s family for months to come, but sadly, for a population that has over time learned how to steel itself against the effects of horror, in a matter of days it will be back to business as usual, until the next collective gasp in the wake of yet another unspeakable atrocity.
Yawd From Abroad was overcome with emotion on hearing the news:
Tears filled my eyes as I saw the picture of 11 year-old Ananda Dean’s mother, Nordia Campbell, in such anguish. She’d just possibly seen the remains of her daughter’s body pulled from a precipice and was inconsolable. Who wouldn’t be? I’ll never forget that picture, that pain.
It seems that there is no end in sight for the level of viciousness that we as human beings will take against another. To snuff out the life on an innocent child in exchange for phone card credits? My God! It’s beyond deplorable and sad. It’s incidents such as these that should make government stand up and not only take attention but corporal action. What has to happen before serious changes are made?
Stunner could barely get his mind around the horrific circumstances surrounding the child's death when he got wind of another sad piece of news:
The nation would not get a chance to breathe again before another shock…a NINE (9) MONTH OLD child…was molested and slain. Just the though of an infant that young suffering such a horrible act send shivers down my spine, and makes me blaze with anger! Such acts aught not to happen! How could this happen in our society? How could people allow such an act to be carried out under their roof?
The death toll now stands at 57 children and the year has not ended…based on this trend we can brace ourselves for more of these heartless acts. It seems nothing is being done to stop this carnage. Or is it that nothing can be done to stop it?
Parents need to more vigilant where their children are concerned, they need to be protective and to teach their children to be wary of strangers from an early age. But parents can't be with their children all the time and all the preparation and teaching a parent does is not a guarantee that the child will be safe. The police have to play a part, the school has to play a part, the government has to make the necessary legislative changes and enforce the law, and society has to also look out for our children. It may not stop these incidents, but maybe it can reduce the frequency of the carnage on our youths.