JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, is advocating strong and united communities in the fight against the social ills affecting the country, including crime and violence.
  • The church is not just about spirituality… it is about impacting the life of every individual at whatever level...
  • Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that one of the lessons coming out of the NLPB is the need for Jamaicans to unite in a spirit of peace and love.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, is advocating strong and united communities in the fight against the social ills affecting the country, including crime and violence.

“Where you have strong communities, where (people) unite, where there is love and where they care for their children, and where the children in that community are treated as sons and daughters of every adult in that community, that community will always prosper,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

The Prime Minister was speaking in an interview with JIS News following the 34th annual National Leadership Prayer Breakfast (NLPB) held on Thursday (January 16), at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.

Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that one of the lessons coming out of the NLPB is the need for Jamaicans to unite in a spirit of peace and love.

She said that there are a few persons “who are out to destroy what is good in Jamaica, and disrupt the peace” and urged communities to work together to weed out these forces.

Speaking of the church’s role in the crime fighting effort, Member of the NLPB Committee and Pastor of the Portmore United Church, Rev. Christopher Mason, said it is important for the institution to become more proactive in communities by developing social programmes.

“The church is not just about spirituality… it is about impacting the life of every individual at whatever level, and so the church needs to work with the community and not be isolated from the community,” he stated.

He said that the church needs to work with the security forces and create programmes “that will help our youngsters in particular, who are a part of the crime situation, to have an alternative lifestyle, and to channel their energies into more productive endeavors.”

Rev. Mason also advocated that members of the church speak “one on one,” with those involved in crime in order to make a difference in their lives.

His views are supported by Chairman of the Committee for the Promotion of National Religious Services and Minister at the First Vision Apostolic Ministry in Spanish Town, Dr. Patricia Holness. She argued that church members should speak to the gunmen and try to show them that “there is a better way and that God is willing to use them for the purpose for which they were created and not what they are doing.”

Dr. Holness said that the church must also try to reach children at an early age, through activities such as bible school or Sunday school.  “If you get a child from age two, you will never lose them at age 16, because there are some things that they will never unlearn. The bible says ‘train up a child in the way he should grow’,” she stated.

She noted further that too often, church leaders “preach one thing at the pulpit, preach one thing in Sunday school, sing one thing in the choir and live another thing in the public or in the home. We should live what we preach.”

“If we could just be consistent and cause God to use us to make the difference, we will see a reduction in criminal activity,” Dr. Holness added.

Rev. Cassell Dunkley of the Lakes Pen Apostolic Church in Spanish Town said that the church can help in the fight against crime “by encouraging its members to speak up, speak out and to develop that level of courage, and not to be entrapped by fear.”

Rev. Dunkley pointed out that fear cripples people and if the church continues to “herald the sound of courage that gets people to rise up and speak out, this will assist in the crime fighting effort”.