I wish to convey my condolences to the family, friends and pupils and teachers at Urswick School. I was involved in planning the official visit to Hackney of The Jamaican High Commissioner, Her Excellency Mrs. Aloun Ndombet-Assamba and the Hackney Speaker Cllr Michael Desmondto Urswick School, Hackney Museum and Hackney Caribbean Elderly Organisation where we meet a number of pupils and teachers. I had the privilege of meeting Shereka and learning about her goals and aspirations.
I spoke to Her Excellency Mrs Aloun Ndombet-Assamba today to share the news of the death of Shereka. She wants to give her personal condolences to the family. She has now issued a statement on the death of Shereka Marsh on behalf of the Jamaican government.
There are fundamental questions that we need to asked: such as why are teenager boys in possessions of armed weapons? Who supplied them? Is this linked to a wider issue of gang criminality? We need to be clear that Shereka Marsh has no connection with the whole issue of gangs. She was a hard working teenager with a bright future ahead. I was lucky to meet her and find out about her ambitions and goals.
Although initially I supported the Metropolitan Police approach in changing the remit of Operation Trident to encompass wider issues around gangs and knives. I am now of the opinion as a result of the death of Shereka Marsh I think the Met knows needs to rethink its strategy. In addition, more preventative work is required in Hackney and elsewhere working young people and families to break this cycle of violence and behaviour. This ultimately requires investment in time, resources and community/political leadership.
To read the High Commissioner for Jamaica Her Excellency Mrs Aloun Ndombet-Assamba’s letter of condolence click here