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Churches unite in reponse to crime situation in SVG

Churches unite in reponse to crime situation in SVG

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With the recent upsurge in violent crimes in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), leaders of the Christian community have announced their decision to collaborate to bring change to a situation they describe as troubling.

Speaking at a press conference at the Methodist Church Hall on Wednesday, representatives from the Anglican Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies SVG district (PAWI), the Methodist Church, Harvest Bible Chapel and the Baptist Church have declared their commitment to respond to the crime situation.{{more}}

These representatives further indicated their intention to consult with the Government and other agencies in efforts to partner to address the issue of crime.

According to a press release issued earlier this week, the Church recognizes the need to meet with the Minister of Education and his Permanent Secretary to explore interventions; they also suggest that the Church provide a cadre of counsellors who will volunteer to strengthen existing counselling programmes in schools.

During the press conference, Cecil Richards, representative of the Kingstown Baptist Church, noted that although persons feel like the Church has been silent recently, Vincentians must be reassured that the churches are on a single page in addressing the matter.

“The Church has been concerned, is concerned, has been working, is working and will continue to work and we would certainly increase our efforts,” he added.

Additionally, Richards explained that the Church is not being simplistic in their response; however, they are looking at the comprehensive nature of the crimes and plan to approach it from an informed point of view.

He said, as a body, the churches have looked at 12 different issues, but have decided to target critical areas and orchestrate a collective response. Some areas mentioned were gangs, juvenile crime and factors that lead to it, parenting and the loss of spiritual access.

Moreover, the Church refuted rumours that they have been silent while society disintegrates.

The representatives said that social issues have been addressed constantly; however, the voice of the Christian Council and other organizations are not heard unless there are grievances.

They said their preliminary investigation shows that the criminals have no church influence and the young people in the church are far less likely to be involved in crime.

Therefore, the church community is also looking to reach out more to persons in the community to bring more young people into the fold.

The church body is calling on the nation to get back to corporate worship. According to the press release, they acknowledge that the problem of crime and violence is also a spiritual problem.

The release further stated that the Church is confident that while the problem of crime and violence is multifaceted and complex, involving and including issues such as the accessibility to guns, lack of confidence in the law enforcement agencies, drug use and abuse, the economy and economic challenges, much can be accomplished with deliberate interventions in the home, school and church. (AS)

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