A Joint Statement from the Ambassador of the European Union to Jamaica and the United Nations Resident Coordinator to Jamaica

from Marianne Van Steen, Ambassador of the European Union to Jamaica

and Dr. Garry Conille, United Nations Resident Coordinator to Jamaica

on The violence perpetrated on November 16th against several participants of a Spotlight Initiative Workshop in Westmoreland

The past few days have been disturbing. On Sunday, November 14, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that States of Emergency were in place in no less than seven police divisions: three parishes in western Jamaica (St. James, Westmoreland, and Hanover), and four divisions in Kingston. This was in response to our soaring murder rate, largely perpetrated by criminal gangs; and to the extreme psychological impact of the ongoing crime and violence on Jamaicans in all walks of lifebut especially those in the most vulnerable communities, who are the victims. While the jury is still out on whether this is an effective anti-crime strategy, it has helped to ease the anxiety in some communities and has perhaps given private sector players some reassurance.

The Spotlight Initiative offers hope, and solutions, to gender-based violence. This is a tragic interruption to the programme, but the work must go on.

In Westmoreland, now under a State of Emergency, gang violence had become unbearable. Then, on Tuesday November 16 a gunman shot one man dead during the lunch break at a workshop for community members in the parish. He was a participant in the workshop. Not long after another man was shot dead not far away. Now, the heads of the European Union and the United Nations Office in Jamaica, sponsors of the workshop which forms part of its Spotlight Initiative on gender-based violence, have issued a joint statement condemning the incident and reasserting their support for the Government as it works towards a more peaceful society. We must find a solution, somehow, somewhere.

Please see the Statement below:

The United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) in Jamaica condemn in the strongest terms the deadly attack perpetrated against volunteers as they attended a gender-based violence-prevention workshop coordinated by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as part of the European Union (EU) and United Nations Spotlight Initiative.   

On behalf of the UN and the EU in Jamaica, we express heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims; young men who sought to contribute to community strategies for eliminating gender-based and family violence.

The UN and the EU take this opportunity to reaffirm that violence in all its forms constitutes one of the most serious threats to national peace and collective prosperity.  This brazen and horrific event points to the significance of continued inclusive approaches to reducing crime and violence – to which the UN and the EU remain fully committed. 

We reiterate our firm commitment to working with the Government, its partners, and the people towards the common goal of making Jamaica a safer home for all its citizens, allowing every individual, especially young people, equal opportunity to self-actualize and achieve their highest potentials – unfettered by the scourge of violence.

On behalf of the UN and the EU in Jamaica, we again extend our sympathies to those who mourn and express profound gratitude to implementing partners across Jamaica who, like Peace Management Initiative, continue to serve their communities, despite risks to their personal safety, and who remain committed to ending violence in all its forms.

The 8 million-Euro, three-year Spotlight Initiative Country Programme for Jamaica was launched by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in March 2020. (Photo: Michael Sloley/JIS)

2 thoughts on “A Joint Statement from the Ambassador of the European Union to Jamaica and the United Nations Resident Coordinator to Jamaica

  1. Statements are meaningless political , public relations gestures amounting to nothing. The question is now what ? What happens now? The horse has got away and now they are trying to get the horse back in the stable. Too late Jamaica. Blood is on the hands of the political leaders , those enablers that have caressed these gangs for years , doing nothing substantial and meaningful and yet act surprised when the very cat they tamed has turned into a raging animal.


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