Soul searching

Pastor laments killings, asks whether Jamaica has lost its way

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, May 01, 2017

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Kingston pastor Reverend Teddy Jones yesterday questioned whether Jamaica had lost her soul as he lamented the murder of a policeman on Friday as well as acts of deadly violence against children in recent weeks.

“Have we lost our way? Perhaps we have, but I give God thanks for today's service,” the pastor of Grace Missionary Church said, adding that the attendance at yesterday's service — which served as the official launch of Builders Club and K-Kids Week — suggests that there is hope.
Rev Jones was referring to the brutal slaying of Constable Leighton Hanson on Constant Spring Road last Friday afternoon.
Hanson and his patrol partner were responding to a report of suspicious men on premises on Constant Spring Road when he met his demise. It is reported that when the got to the location they saw one man with a knife and tried to apprehend him. However, the man is reported to have resisted, disarmed Hanson, and shot him several times.
Members of the Jamaica Defence Force and a private security company saw what was happening and intervened. The police report that the suspect pointed the gun at the soldiers and was shot. He later died at hospital.
Yesterday, Rev Jones said that Constable Hanson was planning to accompany a colleague to her father's nine-night in Clarendon.
“I think of the young man at whose hand he perished,” bewailed Jones. “I am trying to work out in my mind, what are the gaps in his journey; the journey of his life that would have led him to be where he was on that day, engaging in, the kind of activities that he was alleged to have been engaging in to which Constable Hanson and his colleague were responding.”
Rev Jones reasoned with the congregation inside the St Augustine Chapel at Kingston College's North Street campus: “Something must have gone terribly wrong when we find it easy to take someone's life. We were never meant to be this way,” he continued, adding that news emerging recently about criminals going into primary schools and recruiting boys for their gangs was not new to him.
Pointing to the importance that God places on life and human character, Rev Jones told the children in the congregation that they are priceless.
“You are the best, you are great, you are priceless, you are a ruby, and you are a jewel,” he said, adding that it is the responsibility of fathers to convey these messages to their children.
He said the absence of father figures makes it easier for gangsters to recruit children, as gang leaders often take the place of the father.
Rev Jones, who is also a Kiwanian, said he was emboldened and encouraged by the critical interventions made by the Builders Club and K-Kids.
This year's Builders Club and K-Kids week is being observed under the theme 'Energise the dream to build a better nation'. Students from primary and preparatory schools in the Corporate Area and eastern parishes participated in the church service.
Zahrah Green from Lannaman's Preparatory School in Kingston read the governor general's message, while Chenique Duncan from Constant Spring Primary and Junior High School in Kingston read the message from Education, Youth and Information Minister Ruel Reid.
“Many individuals who spent their formative years in Builders Clubs are now outstanding leaders in various organisations across Jamaica and are often called to serve our country,” the governor general's message said.
Minister Reid's message welcomed the new members of the club and encouraged students to do their best, pay attention in school, and read a new book every week.
Builders Club was established in Jamaica in 1976 at Shortwood Practising Primary School in Kingston by Ashley Beckford.

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