by Coreentje Phipps-Benjamin,
The discovery of 17 year old Leanna Napoleon’s partially decomposed body is a sad reality, given the authentic hope many citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis had for her safe return home.
We can only imagine the pain those near to her have to bear now, and in the future.
In all the dismay, the family is somehow able to bring closure by giving Leanna an honorable funeral and a final resting place.
When tragedy such as Leanna’s demise strikes, we ask countless questions.
What, if anything, could possibly have been done to save this teenager – who clearly had so much promise – from the tragic end that she met? (We cringe at the thought of what she must have endured).
Who are those among us with such depth of heartlessness and hate and how do we protect our innocent girls and boys from becoming victims to hate, disregard, disrespect and violence?
Many mothers and fathers will have long, hard and deep conversations with their children about Leanna this weekend!
Many counselors will be called upon to help ease the pain that has come to our schools and our nation as another school year draws to an end.
When the talking is over however, we have to become doers by defending the things we vow to guard against; the violence against our women, our girls, our young people and against each other.
Mentor a child; offer support to our NGO’s; call on our representatives on matters of concern in our respective communities; get involved in pounding the pavement to know who our neighbors are.
Taking our communities back and protecting our youth requires a collective effort from Government, our security forces, NGO’s, the Church, the private sector and every stakeholder that occupies a space in our beloved nation.
It cannot be business as usual for us!
May Leanna’s family find the strength to do the inevitable.
And may we never forget Leanna “Tiny” Napoleon; The young lady who broke our hearts, brought us to tears, and brought us together with hope for a better nation.