Prime Minister Andrew Holness is calling on churches across the island to help develop the “heartware” of Jamaicans as the next phase to tackle crime in Jamaica.
In a passionate speech at the National Day of Prayer held at the Power of Faith Ministries in St Catherine, yesterday, Holness argued that the ending of the states of emergency has contributed to the crimes across the country as he expressed concern about the savagery of some of the criminal acts that have been committed.
Holness noted that $40 billion has been spent to develop the software and hardware of the national security architecture over the last four years including new vehicles, software systems, communication systems, surveillance aircraft and equipment for security forces, but he argued that more effort is needed to develop the heartware.
“We have a massive army of heart surgeons, right here in the church, you have the medicine which is the Bible and the Gospel. I need you to reach beyond the walls of your church and the numbers of your congregation to those men, especially the young boys who believe that the only solution to conflict is violence,” said Holness.
“The heartware is not about the budget that we spend. Yes we can make policie,s but we need partners and why I have decided to use this platform is that the best partner in all of this is Jesus Christ and his institution on earth, the Church,” added Holness.
Up to yesterday the country had recorded 14 murders since the start of this year and Holness noted that this is slightly above last year.
“I reflected on some of the heinous crimes that have happened in the last few weeks, family member killing family member, silly arguments at parties that have terribly injured our young people, there is no amount of policemen who could stop that,” said Holness.
“We couldn’t stop the three persons murdered in a rural part of Clarendon, where crime does not happen. Men found their way there and wiped out [people]. No amount of police is going to stop that,” declared the prime minister.
Making reference to the Bible scripture Matthew 15:19, Holness said: “These are what defy a person. As a people what we can’t escape that personal responsibility. What is happening to people and their hearts? — that a family can’t find it within themselves to settle their disputes without dismembering a member of their family?
“That a man pull a prank and you buy it and you take up your gun and see it that people were dead as a result of that, what is in your heart, man? We have to see violence as a disease that is infecting out people’s hearts and we have to treat with it. There are some things that we will have to do.”
While declaring that his Administration would not support members of the security forces who breach the rights of Jamaicans, Holness lauded police and military for what he said is their fairly good job in fighting crime.
“The security force is our last defence against criminals. The value of our security forces is not just for fighting crime, it is very helpful, integral and essential in managing the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no action that we could have taken as a Government to manage the pandemic without the security forces in front and centre,” said Holness.
He added that while security forces operated last year with states of emergency, zones of special operation and public order operations, there was also an increase in their investigative capacity.
Never before in the history of Jamaica, has the police force brought so many cases before the court because that is what policing is supposed to do.
Our strategy has never been to empower any special squad or any special unit to go and fight crime in the conventional and traditional understanding of crime-fighting.
“We fight crime with intelligence and investigations before the courts which will give sentences that will act as deterrents,” declared Holness.