Church leader wants good working conditions for security forces

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer writer

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — President of the West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Pastor Glen Samuels has urged the Government to ensure that working conditions under which members of the security forces operate do not add to their already stressful lives.

“I would like to challenge all sides [that] the issue of violent crime knows no political colour. When it comes to supporting the police force and all the agencies that are responsible for protecting and preserving lives we must ensure that the conditions under which our police officers and soldiers work are conditions that will not add to the social stress of their already stressful life,” said Pastor Samuels.

The SDA pastor, whose denomination in western Jamaica has been supporting the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the security forces, also pointed to the importance of the church not only delivering the word of God, but to tackle projects that will impact lives.

“The Jamaica to which we come demands of us, who stand in the name of Christ, a ministry that is more than pulpit presence, a ministry that puts on overall and working clothes and gets its hands, and feet dirty in the rugged trenches of life where real life takes place,” he said.

Pastor Samuels was addressing the West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Second Annual Security Forces and Youth Mentorship prayer breakfast at the Seventh-day Adventist Conference Centre in St James on Sunday, where more than 200 members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, and Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) were recognised.

The Adventist leader, noting that crime is a resulting factor of a breakdown in family life, stressed the importance of parents playing a vital role in the lives of their children.

“If we are going to stop violence we must build better homes. We must be better men and women, better fathers and mothers. We must be our brothers' keeper in creating a culture of care in building better communities,” he argued.

Brigadier Radgh Mason, Jamaica Regiment Brigade commander, who represented the Chief of Defence Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force Lieutenant General Rocky Meade, disclosed that there are more than 140,000 unattached youths in Jamaica. He said the JDF is “trying to fill the gap” by engaging some 20,000 youths through the Jamaica National Service Corp.

Brigadier Mason argued that it requires Jamaicans to provide leadership and as such, each member of civil society needs to stand up and lead as talking alone is not enough.

Brigadier Mason, at the same time, said there is a need to break the back of the anti-informer culture, stressing that perpetrators of crime and violence must be reported so that “persons with blood on their hands can be brought to justice”.

Meanwhile, Pastor Samuels challenged members of the security forces to ensure that the example they set is worth emulating.

“No one can deny the stress of your job, but no one can excuse the fact that you are still required to maintain the regulations for which you took an oath. You are still required to ensure that processes and protocols are followed as you seek to provide for those who are coming behind you,” said the pastor.

“If what you do and if how you do it, is the only example of what the youngsters in this country can look at, it is my faith and conviction that they will walk away following the best role model that they could ever find.”


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