Editorial

Joint call by leaders against crime falls flat

Thursday, March 06, 2014    

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WE have been digging furiously in our archives — but without success — to find out if there has been any precedent to the joint call for unity against crime by our governor general, prime minister and Opposition leader.

Incredibly, this historic development last week Friday apparently took place under the radar. While it was reported by the media, the news release which originated at King's House, failed to get any serious traction on the national agenda.

We, admittedly, have been among those consistently calling for crime to be taken out of the partisan political arena and for our leaders to unite the country around measures to reduce crime and promote crime prevention. So we were excited by this joint call by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, and Opposition Leader Andrew Holness.

Given the far-reaching importance of this call, we believe it makes much sense to re-run the full text of their message:

"Fellow Jamaicans, our homeland is passing through a moral crisis such as we have never seen before. Most of us are still reeling from the shock of the heinous crimes committed against our people, young and old alike, babies and young children, pregnant women, as well as fathers and mothers from all across this land. It is clear that hatred, heartless vengeance and evil have so taken control of a few of our people that they murder and abuse their fellow men and women without a second thought. No place is held sacred as they commit these dastardly acts even on church premises. To these criminals, even their own life lacks value and meaning.

Too much of our scarce resources go into crime-fighting, resources which could have been invested in social development so our people could become more productive. We simply cannot continue like this!

Today, the leadership of this nation calls on all Jamaicans to come together and make a concerted effort to take back our island from the grip of crime and the shroud of negativity. We ask that each and every Jamaican reflect on where we are as a people and how far we have fallen from the values and traditions which our forefathers held as sacred. Let us ponder during this Lenten period, what we as individuals and groups must do for our land to be healed, and let us energise a national movement for the restoration of peace, love, honesty, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Many church leaders and other groups have been increasingly petitioning the leadership of our nation to proclaim a solemn assembly to pray for our nation. We know that some churches have declared a fast for this Ash Wednesday and that some religious groups are calling for a national day of prayer and fasting. We commend them, and urge that our efforts move also beyond the precincts of our churches into every section of our island to break down every barrier created by thought, religious belief, political persuasion, economic standing, gender, or age. Let us unite for the good of this land and the well-being of all of our people.

We stand united in the struggle for Jamaica's peace, prosperity and safety and for the future of our children. May God grant us the wisdom beyond ourselves to accomplish this mission!"

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