The small community of Cyprus Hall in the parish of St. Mary, Jamaica was the scene of untold anguish late Sunday morning, when what is believed to have been the body of little Ananda “Passion” Dean was recovered in a mutilated condition, from a ledge over a precipice miles from her home. The 11 year-old had been reported missing since September 17 when she did not return home from school.
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.
This horrific incident marks the second such murder of an eleven year-old over a six-week period, and points to the mind-numbing blood-letting that has stalked the island for years with a precipitous increase since the installation of a new government late last year. As the wave of violent crime shows no sign of abating, it appears that both government and citizenry have become settled in utter resignation to the dysfunctional aspects of Jamaican life and hardened by the constant bombardment of brutality.
More than fifty children have been murdered since the beginning of the year, and though 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.