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Senators split on 'divine intervention’ to solve crime

Published:Friday | June 29, 2018 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
KD Knight

A declaration by Government Senator Charles Sinclair that the Andrew Holness administration is not relying on divine intervention to solve the country's crime problem sparked a sharp debate in the Senate last Friday, as senators argued over whether Jamaicans should rely on help from the "Almighty" to tackle the problems confronting the nation.

The Senate was debating on a resolution to extend the state of emergency in the St Catherine North Police Division when Sinclair took what seemed a jab at the former People's National Party (PNP) administration.

According to Sinclair, this Holness administration did not "just get up and say that we are relying on divine intervention", in apparent reference to Peter Bunting who served as national security minister in the last PNP government.

"This administration recognises the power of prayer but it is not our intention to rely on divine intervention. This administration appreciates the saying that God help those who help themselves," added Sinclair.

Speaking at a ceremony at the Northern Caribbean University in 2013, in the middle of a crime wave, Bunting said: "I am convinced that the best efforts of the security forces by itself will not solve the crime problem in Jamaica, but it is going to take divine intervention, touching the hearts of a wide cross section of the society."

In an obvious response to Sinclair, Opposition Senator K.D. Knight opened his contribution to the debate with the prayer that is offered at the start of the proceedings of the Senate.

Said Knight: "Almighty God, by whom alone kings reign and princes decree justice, and from whom alone cometh all counsel wisdom and understanding, we thine unworthy servants here gathered together in thy name, do most humbly beseech thee to send down thine heavenly wisdom from above to direct and guide us in all our consultations."

During his presentation, Knight argued that the prayer "is divine intervention to direct us and guide us, not in some but in all our consultations".

Knight added: "So that if we believe as mortals we are capable of solving all these multitudinous problems on our own we are mistaken. I ask seriously, honestly for divine intervention, in helping us to solve this problem that has beset us for so long. Lord have mercy on us."

The resolution extending the state of emergency in the St Catherine North Police Division was passed after it received the two-thirds majority needed for its passage.