Leaders pray for Jamaica, GG says bold actions needed
It was the gathering of the usual faces this morning for the 38th Annual National Leadership Prayer Breakfast at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.
Pastors and politicians, police and presidents of peddlers among those praying amid the Jamaican reality of a nation “at war with itself”, as guest preacher the Reverend Astor Carlyle, put it.
Like it was for the inaugural breakfast back in 1979 at the height of a nation under siege, the central focus of this year’s breakfast was crime.
“These times, ladies and gentlemen, demand bold faith, bold actions and fervent faith,” said Governor General Sir Patrick Allen as he brought greetings.
Allen also said these times require leaders to “stand in the gap” to punish unlawful and unacceptable behaviours.
“We must have the strength of mind and will to persevere even when our minds and energies are waning,” Allen said.
Meanwhile Carlyle, the pastor of the Webster Memorial United Church, called for moral clarity.
“Moral chances depend on the moral choice we make,” he charged.
The St Andrew clergyman asserted that each Jamaican had a role to play in returning the country to righteousness.
“The cold, calculated and callous ways in which our Jamaican brothers and sisters are made to exit this world point to a daunting side of our Jamaican reality,” he said.
Last year, 1,616 people were murdered in Jamaica with St James the police division leading the homicide charts.
It ended 2017 with a record 332 murders, that's 67 more than reported in 2016.
A major security operation is now underway in St James.
“We cannot turn a blind for we know that when we turn a blind eye, we will turn more dead bodies in our streets,” Carlyle said.
At the same time, he said moral insensitivity and a seemingly normalisation of crassness and crudeness must be turned around.
“We can no longer allow anything to hinder the preferred future that is in store for us,” he insisted, noting that the church did not come from a position of self righteousness.