Church officially joins St James’ anti-crime campaign
The St James Ministers’ Fraternal (StJMF) has officially joined the anti-crime campaign in the western parish, creating another front in the war against lawlessness, which got a major boost with Monday’s unveiling of the Operation Restore Paradise, a multi-agency initiative aimed at restoring calm to the crime-plagued Second City.
In a bold statement of intent, the StJMF issued a call to all God-fearing citizens to rise up and take personal responsibility for making the city of Montego Bay and the parish of St James a friendly place again.
According to the Reverend Peter Burnett, the chairman of the StJMF, the organisation’s goal is to encourage citizens to become personally engaged in transforming the atmosphere of their communities based on four specific pillars, which support the initiative’s theme, Transformation 2019.
“The four pillars are: being more loving and caring for one another, nurturing a culture of forgiveness, breaking the code of silence around crime and criminal activities, and building up marriages and families,” explained Burnett.
“The public-awareness campaign will employ a variety of methods, including media spots, social media platforms, billboards, digital boards, flyers and banners to carry the message across the island. The effort will also seek the support of business entities, civic agencies, and community organisations,” added Burnett.
According to the StJMF chairman, pastors aligned to the organisation would be asked to highlight the pillars of transformation in their churches as well as communities across the parish.
Burnett is confident that a massive public display of various Bible verses, poignant quotations and life stories in public spaces, along with the four pillars for community transformation, could encourage and embolden Christians and law-abiding citizens in Montego Bay and the wider St James to get engaged in making the city and the parish God-fearing.
Last week, in a similar appeal, Burnett urged Christians not to turn a blind eye to crime in their communities but to be brave and bold in telling the security forces what they know about criminal activities.
“There are so many Christians in our country, and we sing how we want to go to Heaven and rest, but we won’t make any phone call and expose crime on our streets, or do anything that will incriminate us. If you love our policemen, our soldiers, and our nation, you can’t keep quiet anymore,” Burnett said.
Operation Restore Paradise is designed to bring all state agencies together to look at lawlessness across the parish and take steps to bring offenders into compliance.
“While the operation is designed to be a zero-tolerance approach, we’ll also be focusing on what we call an information operation, so we’re going to tell persons what is right, and educate them on laws, rules, and regulations,” explained Superintendent Vernon Ellis, the head of the St James Police Division, who announced the initiative.
“We’re going to get the citizens to be part of the solution to the problem that we have out here in St James,” he added.