Members of the church community in Clarendon in bemoaning the crime situation plaguing the mid-island parish have said that the problem has been festering due to a lack of job opportunities and not enough positive role models and demonic possession.
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Pastor James Pinnock of the Bible Way Church of Jesus Christ said it was a troubling time for the parish, with it now gaining an unenviable reputation for blood and gore as gun-toting gangsters drive fear into residents.
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“A few years ago, you would hear about Tivoli [Gardens in Kingston] when it come to crime, but in recent times, Clarendon has become the headline,” Pinnock said as he joined The Gleaner for a chat inside the Chapelton Market, where he makes a living as a butcher when not behind the pulpit.
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“They need machines to detect where these guns are because the guns are in the hands of some careless men,” he suggested.
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Pinnock is convinced that criminals in Clarendon – and Jamaica, in general – are possessed by demons, which, he said, explains some of the heartless acts of violence in the country.
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“To look at a person and just shoot them like that and step off, it must be a demon,” the pastor said.
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Pinnock said that with the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) pressuring cops, many police officers were afraid of relentlessly pursuing gunmen
“INDECOM pressure the police. Police nowadays are scared. They prefer to come for a man when he is dead than to protect him,” he said
Not doing enough First elder of the New Longville Seventh-day Adventist Church Devon Simpson chided some Clarendon parents for not doing enough to set their children on the right path
“The fundamental problem is with parenting. They are not bringing up the children in the proper way,” Simpson said. “Furthermore, we have people who know things but are not speaking out at all. People know people who have illegal things, but a lot of them don’t business with anything until it reaches their doorstep
“Another problem is the lack of employment opportunities. In Clarendon, what I see mostly are financial institutions and schools. I don’t see anything else of opportunity for the youths.”
Simpson advised the authorities to pay more attention to official and unofficial points of entry along the coastline to reduce the number of guns on the streets
“I have been asking where the youths get all these guns. When they catch these gunmen, they must question them properly to find out where these guns come from. I believe the police need to be able to monitor the seaports, [and] places like Rocky Point need to monitored,” Simpson told The Gleaner
An elder from the New Longville Seventh-day Adventist Church called on church leaders to increase their impact among criminals to show them the right way
“We need more men as role models with guts to go into the inner city and talk to the youths,” he said. “You may not drink alcohol, but go and have a drink with them and anything they want. Buy it and give it to them. Let them know that God loves them with an everlasting love. No political party can change crime. Only God Almighty can intervene.”