Montegonians urged to spread spirit of Christmas
Local Government and Community Development Minister Desmond McKenzie and sector leaders in St James are urging residents of the western parish to exhibit a spirit of unity while seeking to defy crime and violence going into 2020. Despite an ongoing state of emergency (SOE), security concerns remain in St James, which has recorded a more than 40 per cent jump in murders.
The sentiments were expressed during Sunday’s staging of the St James Municipal Corporation’s annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony and concert, which was held at Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay, under the theme ‘Jesus is Love’.
In his brief address, McKenzie urged the residents to use the Christmas period as an opportunity to oppose criminals and to be their brother’s keeper.
“Let’s use this Christmas to begin to fight against this cancer called crime and violence that’s destroying the lives of many Jamaicans,” said McKenzie.
The community development minister and Kingston Western member of parliament urged Jamaicans to be charitable during the holiday season, especially to those “who will not be able to fend for themselves”.
Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis commended the crime-fighting efforts of the security forces, which have maintained a crackdown in St James for 21 of the last 24 months.
“We’ve been having major antisocial challenges in our city. However, I’m confident that within short order, the security forces will put a solid lid on what we’re now facing, and our parish and city will return to a place of peace and safety and will regain the status of being the ‘Friendly City’,” said Davis.
St James Custos, Bishop Conrad Pitkin, called for residents to become strong advocates for peace in 2020. He said that the parish and nation had the resilience to overcome challenges on several fronts.