Fri | Jan 27, 2023

Youths being fed ‘diet of murder’, says Westmoreland police chief

Published:Wednesday | December 7, 2022 | 12:08 AM
Senior Superintendent Wayne Josephs.
Senior Superintendent Wayne Josephs.


Parents have been blamed for the vulnerability of children to gang recruitment, with overexposure to violence linked to the numbing of sensitivity to murder.

The assessment was made recently by commander of the Westmoreland Police Division, Senior Superintendent Wayne Josephs, who has expressed concern about youth transition into criminal gangs as a rite of passage.

Josephs, who is also a member of the United States-based International Homicide Investigators Association, said that many of Jamaica’s children had grown cold and callous and were becoming increasingly involved in serious crimes, such as shootings and murders.

“They have been fed a constant diet of murder. As they grow up, they are seeing persons killing each other, killing their mother, their granny, or their father killing someone. They have seen so many deaths, that death means nothing to them anymore,” Josephs said at a Savanna-la-Mar Rotary Club meeting.

“… Therefore, for them to kill your mother is nothing, because they grow without love, and that sort of thing, so we have a serious, serious challenge out here,” Josephs exclaimed.

Josephs has been at the helm of the tough Westmoreland division for the last seven months. A state of emergency was imposed in the western Jamaica parish on Tuesday, the latest in a string of iterations of the security measure over the last three years.

Murders have climbed year-on-year by 14.3 per cent to 136 up to December 5, seventeen more than recorded during the corresponding period in 2021. Shootings have risen by 9.9 per cent from 121 to 133 over the period.

Josephs said that he has concluded from his interviews of children in murder investigations that the experience of seeing family and friends killed outweighed drug abuse as a gateway into crime.

“When I look into their eyes, I know that this person is beyond rehabilitation,” declared Josephs.

“It might sound strange for me saying that. I believe we have lost a generation.”