Halse Hall vow not to tolerate criminality
Hundreds of residents from the New Bowens and Halse Hall communities in Clarendon braved the overcast skies and wet underfoot conditions to attend a candlelight vigil in memory of Dominique Parnell who was murdered more than a week ago.
The young woman's mutilated body was found in bushes in Halse Hall, some distance from New Bowens, where she was a patron at a party the night before.
Organised by members of both communities, the residents descended on the spot where the 21-year-old woman's body was discovered and lit candles, belted prayer choruses, and cried out to God.
"New Bowens and Halse Hall is in a state of grief and shock," Member of Parliament for South East Clarendon, Ruddy Spencer, said.
"Dominique does not, in any way, deserve this death. She was a very diligent and studious girl, but some misguided youth from the community encouraged and spirited her away to this spot where the remains of her body was found. Both communities are saddened by this behaviour and we promise the world that this will never happen again," he added.
The MP prayed that Dominique's soul finds eternal rest and those who are responsible for her murder would not find any hiding place.
"Mothers bring up your children right because this week it's Dominique, next week we don't know who may be next," Spencer said.
Odaysia Baker, who helped to mobilise the communities, said she is terrified and is badly shaken by the incident.
"We are very sorry for what happened, and that is why hundreds of community members from both communities came out to the vigil to show our support, and to send a strong message that we will not tolerate this kind of behaviour," she said.
"Moving forward, we need to start with the person in the mirror because Halse Hall will not be remembered by this tragic incident. We did the walk to show we are deeply sorry and we mourn with the family as we cry for peace," Baker said.
Evangelist John Martin of the Central Jamaica Seventh-day Adventist Conference said the vigil was equally strident.
"We are saying to the gunmen, "We tiad a unno". We a tek back wi community from unno. This type of behaviour is unacceptable," Martin said.