KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday October 3, 2017 – The Jamaican teenager at the centre of a vicious beating that went viral on social media recently, is upset that her mother will face the law courts. And both government and opposition spokespeople say the incident points to deeper issues that must be addressed.
Doreen Dyer, 44, was arrested and charged with cruelty to a child and will appear in the St Thomas Parish Court next week over the incident in which she beat her 13-year-old daughter with a machete last year.
At the height of strong public outrage, the girl told a talk show on Hitz 92 FM, a local radio station, that her mother was one of the best in the world and she felt bad about the developments.
Another daughter also rushed to her mother’s defence. Sheryl Jones, 21, told the media that since the video went viral, many people were wrongfully accusing her mother whom she said “don’t normally beat”.
Spokesman on youth and culture for the Opposition People’s National Party, Damion Crawford, also said that Jamaicans were pointing fingers in the wrong direction.
Crawford, who visited the community where the family lives to investigate the circumstances surrounding the ordeal, contended that while the child was a victim of physical abuse, the parent was also a victim of the Jamaican culture of discipline and the inability to receive legitimate assistance with child rearing.
“Everyone has confirmed that this is not an often occurrence. They’ve confirmed that the lady is almost like the mother for the community; the person who seeks to bail the young people from jail or out of trouble. So, it’s unfortunate that without adequate information, the call has been for imprisonment, which benefits neither child nor parent. The main villain, in my opinion, was the adult who chose to capture [the video] rather than intervene,” Crawford told the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper.
He called for the State to re-socialize the mother, rather than criminalize her.
Meanwhile, State Minister with responsibility for youth in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Floyd Green, expressed concern about the video but said the case highlighted the need for greater parental intervention and guidance.
The Child Development Agency said the girl underwent counseling and is being cared for by relatives.