Arson victim having sleepless nights
A woman whose family was displaced from their home due to a gang war in her community is appealing to the authorities to use whatever measures are at their disposal to curb the spiralling crime rate.
Last year, Jamaica recorded 1,463 murders, with another 132 killed as of January 30 this year. Jane*, who works in Kingston as a customer care assistant, told THE STAR that she has always sympathised with persons whose lives have been disrupted by violence but never thought that one day she or anyone close to her would become victims.
"I am literally afraid to even go to work nowadays. The authorities need to do whatever to make these criminals understand that the consequences are grave for doing bad," said Jane. Last November Jane and 11 other relatives have been nomads as their multi-bedroom home was set ablaze by gunmen. The gunmen had earlier killed one of her relatives.
"My mother and I had an electronic business and the fire destroyed everything. So we have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment. Not to mention the furniture and other electronic items. I've lost all my childhood memories too, from basic school graduation pictures to my personal documents," she said. Jane said that the attack was to send a message to one of her relatives. She admitted that bouncing back has been extremely difficult.
"I find myself breaking down every minute. I can't sleep at nights because as I close my eyes, my mind races to the fire. Even though I wasn't there when it started, when I arrived at the house, I saw how our home was going up in flames. Then we are still grieving the loss of my aunty who is sadly a casualty in a stupid gang war," she said.
Jane also urged the Government to pay more attention to the psychological damage that crime is having on Jamaicans.
"I know it will be difficult for the Government to be focusing on mental health issues that is a direct result of gun violence, while also concentrating its efforts on solving the crime problem. But if nothing is done to the hundreds, if not thousands, of Jamaicans who have been a victim of crime and violence, we will have a society where everyone is scarred and out for revenge, and that is going to be a bigger problem for the country on a whole," she said.
*Name changed to protect identity