'Wicked heart' people causing crime - Pastors beg for more stringent measures to tackle lawlessness
With the country grappling with a sharp spike in violent crimes, some members of the clergy believe that the hearts of mankind are becoming increasingly wicked.
While they point to other social ills stifling the country, such as lottery scamming, extortion, gang violence and domestic abuse, they believe that these problems all stem from the hearts of some citizens in the island.
Head of the Lighthouse Assembly Ministries, Bishop Rohan Edwards, says, "The heart of man has become desperately wicked, and the wickedness of mankind is crippling our country."
He is urging every law abiding citizens to step in to help fight crime, as crime fighting should not be solely left up to police. He is also imploring politicians not to politicise the problem.
"Crime fighting should not be left to PNP (People's National Party) or JLP (Jamaica Labour Party). When Jamaicans see both parties join together without scoring political points, then that will send a signal that this is something that both parties want to deal with," he told THE STAR.
Edwards also believes that some stringent actions are needed to curb the crime problem. He said hanging is an option, but other things need to be done.
"We need to copy America in getting some of these criminals to help fight crime. That is, if you know a top man in your community which is the bad man and you can't keep him in jail, bring him on-board to help you because he knows all the bad men," he said.
Meanwhile, Reverend Dr Lenworth Anglin, current pastor at the Rock Hall and the Cavaliers Church of God, believes that hanging could be a deterrent to crime.
"The law is still on the books, so we just need to make some decisive move one way or the other. I think the indecision is causing some of the issues, so we just need to deal with it once and for all in Parliament or through a referendum," he said.
Although violence is alarmingly prevalent in Jamaica, a country that is deeply rooted in Christianity, Anglin is not of the belief that the church failing.
"We have been there at the forefront, and it would have been worst were it not for the presence of the church," he said. "Jesus Christ is the answer because I believe that it is a matter of the heart, and we need to change people's lifestyle and how people see things."
Meanwhile, Heroy Clarke, Member of Parliament for Central St James, said it is sad that some members of the society continue to create mayhem and to drive fear into other citizens.
He said the state has to do whatever is necessary in the most humane way to solve the crime problem affecting St James because it is creating a negative impact on the parish which depends heavily on the tourism sector.