#Jamaica, January 5, 2018 – Kingston – Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has called on church leaders to preach against crime and violence, as it is undermining the family structure.
“Bring it to your pulpit. We cannot allow much of what is happening, particularly the abuse that is happening within families,” he said.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the 13th annual National Gathering of Heal the Family, Heal the Nation, held at the National Arena in Kingston on January 3. Mr. Holness also challenged the church to speak out against family members committing sexual abuse against minors. He argued that much of these kinds of abuse result in the perpetuation of greater physical abuse such as beatings from parents, who are supposed to protect their children.
“If you see something like that, it is not right. It cannot be accepted practice in our culture. We must expose it and preach against it. If you see someone suffering quietly, reach out to them,” he encouraged.
The Prime Minister said the church’s capacity for counselling and outreach must be used to aid those affected by abuse, as this represents a “practical way we can start to address the issue of violence… which has become a part of our social transaction”. Meanwhile, Mr. Holness hailed the chief organizers of the event, Bishop
Dr. Delford Davis, and his wife, Minister Dr. Petrova Davis, of the Power of Faith Ministries International, for staging it over the last 13 years. For her part, Custos of St. Andrew, Dr. Patricia Dunwell, also commended Dr. Davis “for his steadfastness of purpose” in conceptualising the event and his commitment to healing the families of the nation.
Dr. Dunwell, who delivered an address on behalf of the Governor-General, indicated that strong families represent the foundation of a nation worthy of respect from its neighbours and people of the world.
The event was held in partnership with the Jamaica Umbrella Group of Churches under the theme, ‘Jamaica is God’s Place, So is my House’. It brought together members of a number of denominations to pray for the nation, families and Jamaica’s leadership.
Also in attendance were Cabinet Ministers and Head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Commissioner George Quallo.