Mon | Apr 19, 2021

The Church can do more - QQ, bishop call for action, not cherry-picking in light of sanctuary murder

Published:Tuesday | February 2, 2021 | 12:10 AMShereita Grizzle/Staff Reporter
Andrea Lowe-Garwood was shot and killed during a church service in Falmouth, Trelawny, on Sunday.
Andrea Lowe-Garwood was shot and killed during a church service in Falmouth, Trelawny, on Sunday.
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It was February last year when dancehall artiste QQ urged his fellow Jamaicans to unite in the fight against crime. The entertainer was speaking out following the murder of Peace Management Initiative officer Kevin ‘Rumm Ramm’ Clarke.

Rumm Ramm was the subject of a dance popularised by QQ when he was just 10 years old. At the time, QQ was so saddened by Rumm Ramm’s death that he encouraged all well-thinking Jamaicans to not wait until crime was at “their doorsteps” before being called to action. Today, even as he renewed those calls for unity in the fight against crime, QQ had a special message for the Church, which, he says, may now be forced to become more involved in crime-fighting after Andrea Lowe-Garwood was gunned down while she worshipped at the Agape Christian Fellowship Church in Trelawny.

“Church people must speak out. People weh go to church, dem listen to dem pastor. He has great influence on them. This is why when the Church come out and say we a go fight against abortion, the whole congregation come out and say it; but how comes you don’t do these things where crime is concerned?” he questioned.

He said there has been much ado about abortion and dancehall, but little protest about crime.

“We hear so many things about blocking dancehall music, we hear so much about abortion and all of these things, but I have never seen the Church come out and make no noise about crime (on a large scale). Now maybe they’re gonna want to do [something] because it has reached their doorsteps, and these are things I have been saying for years now. Don’t wait until it reach your doorstep, because people are being affected by it, people are genuinely feeling the effects of these crimes, so don’t wait until it reach you before we speak out as a collective. By then, it might be too late,” said QQ.

NEEDS UNITED APPROACH

Stressing that he is in no way singling out the Church, QQ, whose given name is Kareem Dawkins, said no one organisation is to be blamed for crime in Jamaica spiralling out of control, but solving the issue will need a united approach.

“We have an issue in our country where we like to point blame. So the first thing we do as a people is blame the politicians, the politicians blame the artiste, the artiste blames the Church, the Church blames everybody else, but nobody takes collective responsibility,” he said. “Everybody turns a blind eye and then we wonder why the society has become this way. Each of us has to take some of the blame, and the sooner we realise that and unite, the sooner we can come up with solutions.”

Corporal Cyril Francis, more popularly known as the ‘Preaching Policeman’, agreed with QQ. Like the Betta Must Come singer, the law enforcer, who is also an avid Christian and a bishop, told The Gleaner that he believes there is so much more that the Church could be doing as it relates to crime. Pointing out the need to strike a balance among the issues they condemn, Francis said the church must put the same amount of energy behind crime-fighting as they would do any other issue.

“Criminals have no fear again for God when they can walk inside the church, the tabernacle and do that. I condemn this murder. It was really, really sad, and I thought we would have more persons in the Church arena coming out and condemning the whole act quickly, especially since it happened in church, right in the faces of people who are worshipping,” he said.

Francis said the Church runs the risk of appearing one-sided and does, in fact, have the ability to bring about the change needed in society.

“As leaders, I think we need to come out more and be more effective in this regard. It’s not that the Church isn’t doing anything, but we don’t want to be one-sided. The Church is very much able to bring change. I have seen where persons who used to fire gun get saved and have powerful testimonies and can help in this regard. The Church is the answer. I think we need to be having more united fasting and prayer, but differently from that, faith without works is dead, so I believe the Church can go into the communities, even via the Zoom platform and Facebook; we can send messages out as a Church. We can reach a lot of people through these mediums,” Francis shared.

shereita.grizzle@gleanerjm.com