Thu | Nov 14, 2019

Church calls for collaboration to tackle crime

Published:Wednesday | July 17, 2019 | 12:27 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Archbishop Kenneth Richards
Archbishop Kenneth Richards

The Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) has chided the Government for seemingly formulating and implementing crime-fighting ideas on its own without including or consulting with the Church or civil-society groups.

A release yesterday from the JCC urged the Government to initiate a process that brings the Opposition, the private sector, Church and civil society to the table for meaningful, non-partisan dialogue and strategic action to tackle the country’s crime problem.

“The JCC, at its recently held Executive Committee meeting, expressed deep concern about the crime situation in the country and the level of brutality and brazenness to which it has descended. Governments over years have not been able to offer a successful and sustainable response to crime. As a result, the situation has become worse,” the statement read.

Weighing in on the topic, Archbishop of Kingston, Kenneth Richards, told The Gleaner yesterday that before everyone could be included in the discussion on crime, the political leaders must first acknowledge that without collaboration, there will be limited success in rooting out the problem.

He highlighted domestic violence as being a big contributor to the general state of crime on the island, and was in support of the reintroduction of strong family values in society

“A forum is being planned by the JCC for September to address the crime issue because what we need is a multi-stakeholder approach to the problem, for the solution cannot only come from the police,” he said. “Both Government and Opposition are persons who should be concerned with the advancement of the nation, and if they can’t come together to address this common problem, then it makes things more difficult.

“If we are going to overcome this problem, we have to do it together. There are even some low-hanging fruits that are there, with respect to corruption and persons who might be complicit – whether politicians or persons in the security forces. Those are low-hanging fruits because they are identifiable, but people, for one reason or another, are not able to address it,” Richards added.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com