Sat | Aug 18, 2018

Council of Churches calls for united effort to fight crime

Published:Tuesday | January 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Professor Anthony Clayton

The murderous start to the new year has sparked concern and condemnation among members of the Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC), which has extended an appeal to the religious community to initiate anti-crime initiatives throughout their respective neighbourhoods.

In a statement circulated to the media yesterday, the JCC called on all Christians to come together, regardless of denomination, to stop the bloodletting.

The JCC called on all churches to stir the communities in which they are located, to:

- Revitalise the Neighbourhood Watch Programme.

- Create meaningful develop-mental programmes for young people.

- Double efforts in the spiritual formation of children and youth.

- Seek to establish partnerships with both public- and private-sector bodies towards an end to crime and violence.

The statement also urged the churches to fast and pray about the worsening crime situation, and to facilitate conversations with the perpetrators of violence.

 

CLOSER TO FIVE MURDERS A DAY

 

Roughly 70 murders were recorded in the first 15 days of 2018.

The JCC is the latest to openly condemn the alarming murder rate.

A representative of the business community, John Mahfood, on Sunday bemoaned the startling reality, and stressed that the Government lacked the guts to tackle the problem.

Professor Anthony Clayton from the Institute of Sustainable Development at the University of the West Indies yesterday reiterated a point he has highlighted in the recent past, that political ties with criminality must be severed in order for Jamaica to move forward peacefully.

"Last year, we had an average of a little over four murders a day. So far we've had roughly 70 murders this year. Our average rate of killing has gone up from about 4.3 to about 4.6 murders a day. We are getting really close to five murders a day. This is one of the highest rates in the world. We need to start unravelling the network of crime.

"We have to be willing to follow wherever it leads. There are still politicians who are still linked to organised crime. We have to decontaminate our political system, and sever the links with organised crime. Otherwise, the criminals will continue to get protection," Clayton said.

"How can we get to the end of this if there are some criminals who are protected because of their links to politics and give kickbacks to corrupt public servants? The Government has to have the moral authority to implement an anti-crime programme."

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com