Prime Minister, the Most. Hon. Andrew Holness has called on the support of the church as the Government works to put a dent in crime and violence this year.
“This is going to be a great year for Jamaica. We are going to break the back of the crime problem, and we are going to break the back of the violence problem.
“I know I have the support of the praying people of Jamaica and I encourage them to continue to pray for the peace of the country,” Mr. Holness said.
The Prime Minister, who was addressing the 15th annual ‘Heal the Family, Heal the Nation’ service at the National Arena in Kingston on Wednesday (January 8), said that the Government is taking a comprehensive approach to combating crime and violence involving greater use of technology and garnering the support of the public.
He said that a plan is in place that will be rolled out shortly.
“In the coming months, you will be seeing rolled-out elements of the plan, including the equipping of the police; [better] equipment to assist us with public law and traffic management and we will continue to use, as far as possible, the Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) and the States of Public Emergency (SOEs),” he said.
The Prime Minister noted that while there are calls for “tougher policing”, the Government intends to arrest the crime situation without abusing anyone’s rights.
“We are a society, we are a Government that believes in preserving, protecting and promoting the human rights of our citizens,” he noted.
“We have programmes that will deal with the security aspect; we have programmes that will deal, as well, with the community development aspect, and we will support forums that deal with the spiritual human development,” he pointed out.
The Prime Minister, during his address, invited Opposition Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips, to join him onstage in a symbolic handshake for peace for Jamaica.
Dr. Phillips, for his part, hailed the organisers for the annual ‘Heal the family, Heal the nation’ service, noting that the event emphasises the importance of a strong family structure in addressing the crime problem.
He said that Jamaicans need to be mindful of those who are at a disadvantage in the family and to embrace them instead of abandoning them.
“We won’t solve our problems, like the problem of crime and violence, simply by the gun and by the sentencing. We have to also reach out into the community for the unattached youths, those who are misguided and have the social interventions that have to go along with the hard policing that is necessary from time to time.
“Even those who are misguided are part of this family that we call Jamaica, and we need to save them, not just punish them,” he said.
The annual event was hosted by the Power of Faith Ministries International Inc. and the Jamaica Umbrella Group of Churches under the theme, ‘Abiding under the Shadow of the Almighty’.