Fix the family, fix Jamaica!
Clergymen and representatives of the various parenting boards in Jamaica believe that the answer to the country's crime problem lies in the restoration of the family structure.
Speaking at last Thursday's first in the series of Family and Religion Editor's Forum Pastor Dwight Fletcher, head of the Transformed Life Church, St Andrew, made reference to the high level of single-mother households, stating that the lack of male figures in the home increases the likelihood of children having unwholesome behaviours.
"The challenge is to help to solve the family issue which becomes a challenge for the church when it becomes a challenge for the society. I feel that the Church needs not only to continue preaching the message that they preach, but also to become a broker in the society because I don't think any one institution within our society will be able to tackle the problem," he said.
Fletcher pointed out that the Church is almost like the hub in the society which needs to be a negotiator carrying the various institutions together to work on one common problem which he said is the family.
Seconding his fellow brethren, Reverend Stevenson Samuels, senior pastor of the Escarpment Road New Testament Church of God said there is a serious sociological problem in the nation of which he places the family at the base.
"We have to fix the family component. We (the Church) are saying that the best way for a child to grow up is within a stable family where they have a mother and a father in a nurturing, loving household. When you look at the social systems and institutions that are pushing that model, you find that it is maybe only the church. It is the pastors who are encouraging marriage and pushing the agenda hard. We are big on family, the Church is the family, and the family is the Church," Samuels said, adding that the two factors that cause children to be resilient and perform well at the adolescent level are faith and family.