Sun | Jan 26, 2020

Hanover expatriate says church leaders not standing with communities

Published:Tuesday | February 7, 2017 | 12:00 AMClaudia Gardner

It would appear that the spate of murders over the past year in Hanover is causing many Hanoverians living overseas to shy away from visiting the parish as is customary during the holiday periods.

According to originator of the Steve 'Shorty' Malcolm-Denton 'Melwood' Samuels annual memorial football competition, Lloyd 'Bagga' Stewart, who resides in England, was among the few who braved the winds of violence to spend his time in hometown Lucea in December.

"Mi have people weh come from Hanover living in America, Canada, England. dem fraid fi come a Hanover - dem fraid fi come back home. The government, di politicians, di police the church - everybody need to come together fi something like this fi fight the crime," Stewart told Western Focus.

He was among the community members who turned out at the Hanover we Cry peace walk at Brissett in Lucea on Friday, which was initiated by Lucea-based artistes of Nuchie Records in Lucea. The group of 15 artistes had initially planned to stage a peace march but scaled it down to a peace walk as the Hanover Police Community Relations decided not to support the event, a move that had Stewart expressing outright condemnation.

"To see something like this, I feel gutted because mi did a look fi see some pastors; some big man inna di community fi help join force fi help fight da ting yah. Right now, mi no feel comfortable because di bigga heads dem naw help ... The most peaceful parish inna Jamaica a di worst parish right now," Stewart said.

Stewart said that religious leadership was lacking in the parish and that the church has done little or nothing to help in redeeming the youth of Hanover.

"The church is the first one weh mi a lick out pon - mi not even a lick out pon no politician and no police because dem a di one weh a preach bout God dis and God dat. You see di communities dem, dem naw go in deh. Dem supposed to be man a God. a dem supposed to God it up first fi wi. A dem fi come out first fi come stand with the community, and dem not doing it. After dem stand up, den we can walk in behind dem because dem paving a way fi we. Wi can't pave a way fi wiself," Stewart added.

"Dem say dem a man of God and dem fi put wi pon di righteous path," he added. "When the church and everybody come, the police wi stand up wid we. But the police not going stand wid we if the bigger heads dem not standing wid we. Mi a talk bout all justice a di peace and dem people deh. a dem fi stand up first. If the church no stand up, how it going work?"