Jamaica: Security minister appeals church to impact communities in crime fighting strategy
Ever since his controversial utterance that Jamaica needs divine intervention in order to bring crime under control during a Thanksgiving service at Northern Caribbean University for the Security Force last year, Minister of National Security the Hon. Peter Bunting has been calling on the church to help the government in its efforts.
His latest call came as he addressed hundreds of members, and visitors including security personnel and the Mayor of Mandeville, Councillor Brenda Ramsay at the “Reclaiming God’s Agenda” (GA14) evangelistic series, being held on the grounds of the Mandeville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Manchester on Mar. 10, 2014.
In outlining his approach in the recent crime fighting strategy, “Unite for Change,” Bunting said “The Guinness Book of Records has Jamaica as leading the world in the number of churches per square mile and it is a paradox for us to have the greatest density of churches and at the same time to be one of the most violent countries in the world.”
Bunting went on to say that he believes it is quite legitimate to reach out to the church and request that the church plays a critical role in ‘changing group behavior’ because instilling morals and values in a sense, is a core function of the church.
“We are asking you not just to do that within the walls of the church, but also to take the church out into the community and impact the community,” appealed Bunting.
According to police reports many of the murders in Jamaica are connected to organized crime in the country’s urban centers; and most of this organized crime involves the illegal drug trade. Data from the Jamaica Constabulary Force shows that there were 119 reported murders between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15, 2014.
The problem of crime and violence and high numbers of murders has plagued Jamaica for decades with the use of numerous and various strategies, which have proven unsuccessful, stated Bunting.
Pastor Greg Baldeo prays for from left DSP Marlene Bailey, Sgt. Verona Johnson, Her Worship, the Mayor of Mandeville, Councilor Breda Ramsay and National Security Minister Peter Bunting, during the “Reclaiming God’s Agenda” evangelistic series at the Mandeville Seventh-day Adventist Church ground on Mar. 10, 2014. Image by Nigel Coke/IAD
During his presentation, Minister Bunting reemphasized his position that “the best efforts of the security forces by themselves will not solve the crime problem in Jamaica but it is going to take Divine intervention touching the hearts of a wide cross-section of the society.”
Minister Bunting and the security force were prayed for during the meeting and he was given a copy of The Great Controversy. Pastor Greg Baldeo, evangelist for the GA14 series in Mandeville said the series is going very well.“We are making a deliberate and decisive effort to take back the town of Mandeville and the parish of Manchester from criminals,” said Baldeo.
In her brief address, Mayor Ramsay highlighted the importance of the GA14 series and expressed the hope that at the end “we can see peace, harmony, love, brotherliness and God’s hand at work in our lives.” GA14 is a ‘lifestyle-changing’ series, which began on Mar. 2 and concludes on Mar. 30. It is part of the Adventist World Church’s Hope for the Cities initiative.
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