KINGSTON –– Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday made a strident call to citizens to desist from supporting criminal elements in their families and communities, noting that crime was having a serious impact on the country’s economic growth.
He surmised that an evil spirit had taken possession of some men in the society, causing them to do savage things.
Making his address at the 12th staging of the Heal the Family, Heal The Nation annual gathering, which was held at the National Arena in Kingston yesterday, the prime minister said that he was perturbed by the incidents of crime, which saw more than 1,300 persons being murdered in 2016.
There were several other politicians in attendance, including Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller, Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck, Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte, General Secretary of the People’s National Party Julian Robinson, in addition to several renowned members of the clergy.
Holness said that having wholesome and functional families will be critical in solving some of the gruesome acts of violence that continue to rock the nation.
“We can’t continue in a society where when we act, we have persons coming out defending the criminals. We can’t continue in a society where when we act, we hear that he was a good man and a protector of the community. The only protector of the community must be the Government of Jamaica, the police force, and Jesus Christ the Almighty Saviour,” he declared.
“We don’t need any dons and criminals to protect us. Now is not the time for any separation, politically, in terms of our unity in addressing the issues of crime and violence. Now is the time when the law-abiding and God-fearing Jamaicans must turn their backs on the criminals,” he continued.
He urged persons to ensure that there is a balance between their pursuit for material development and their moral conscience.
“I am sure that all Jamaicans want a progressive and prosperous society. When we talk about a prosperous nation, it’s not only the material things alone that form prosperity. We want to live in a country where we can have peace of mind,” he said.
“While the material side of things is turning in the right direction, by all accounts, the arrows are pointing in the right direction, and we want to give God thanks. However, there seems to be an evil spirit possessing some of our men, in particular, that leads them to do things that we can only describe as savage. I’m very perturbed. I ask for your prayers and support. There is some work that, obviously, the police have to do, but there is some praying that I need the Church to do.”
Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller, in her address, said that as a society, the basics of showing love and kindness should not be ignored.
“We need more parents who will send their children to Sunday school. Not many parents see the importance of that anymore. I am aware that the moral decay is deteriorating, but I don’t believe that the Church alone should bear that burden,” she said.
“Whether in government or opposition, we all know the role of the Church in supporting and developing spiritually healthy families and communities. I want to say to the Christians in here [that] we need to love others more. We need to give persons that bright smile. I am being criticised for hugging and kissing too much, but I will not stop because that came from my Master.”