JIS News

Children’s Advocate, Mary Clarke, has urged the society to return to biblical principles and reinstate church attendance as a family tradition, in order to encourage more civility in the society.
She was speaking on (Jan. 16) at the launch of the Bible Society of the West Indies’ (BSWI) 8th annual National Bible Quiz at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
Highlighting public concerns over the state of crime and violence in the country, Mrs. Clarke noted that while “so much is going for us in Jamaica” this ugly side is “symptomatic of something not going right in the society.”
She expressed even greater concern over evidence that juvenile delinquency is on the rise. “I look in the papers and I see where we have to be building or refurbishing a new centre in Montpelier to cope with the increase of children in the criminal justice system, and an increase in the number of females, young girls in the criminal justice system, and it tells me that something isn’t going right in our society,” she lamented.
Suggesting that the solution could be found in the church, Mrs. Clarke cited recent research among 11-year-old, who cited church attendance as one of the main factors contributing to their good behaviour, and their ability to resist violence and aggression. “Some of us knew this long ago. Research is now confirming the importance of church attendance in little children. We can infer that at church, they learn the principles of the bible and I can guarantee that Christian principles, if adopted in Jamaica by most persons, could revolutionise this country,” Mrs. Clarke advocated.
She appealed to parents to “return to the days when you send your children to Sunday school”, noting that, “It is in Sunday school and through the study of the bible that they are provided with a moral compass that help to develop their conscience, that they are provided with teachings and examples to understand actions and related consequences of actions.”
The Children’s Advocate further encouraged young people to uphold wholesome values and principles even when the society might discourage or challenge these principles. “The society may want to make you feel that if you’re not going with the crowd, you’re out of it. I dare to contradict this and to beg you, let the evidence speak,” she appealed.
Ms. Clarke commended the BSWI on its work to build attitudes and values in the society, and encouraged young persons to get involved in the National Bible Quiz.
Students from 117 preparatory, primary and high schools will vie for prizes and trophies in this year’s competition, which will run from January to March. At this morning’s ceremony, 13 schools and seven sponsors were awarded certificates for participating in the quiz for five years and more.
The BSWI widely distributes bibles and other books to children in the island’s primary schools. They also publish a bible written in Jamaican creole for young adults, as well as the Good News Bible, which is a modern English translation widely used in primary schools, and is the required version for quiz participants.

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