Nov 09, 2016
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Kingston, Jamaica
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In Jamaica, Adventists and police officers march for peace in violence-ridden communities

Members of the East Jamaica Conference drum corp march ahead of senior police officers and church members during the march. [Photo: Phillip Castell/EJC]

Seventh-day Adventists from East Jamaica, along with senior police officers, recently marched for peace in sections riddled by violence in Western Kingston, Jamaica.

Over the past few weeks, sporadic gunfire has claimed the lives of several people, including a two-year old girl, and injured more than a dozen. The police said the violence, which has been plaguing west region of the capital city in recent months, is gang-related.

Church leaders from East Jamaica, along with church members, led a march through Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town, two of the most troubled communities. Marchers distributed food, toiletries and magazines in an effort to bring support to members of the communities that were affected by the recent spate of violence.

The march was organized as part of the church’s Week of Generosity and Day of Kindness celebrated from Oct. 8-15, 2016. Churches across the region also carried out acts of kindness and generosity in the various communities. Prayer was also offered for those affected at each stop.

During one of the many stops during the march, East Jamaica Conference President Dr. Eric Nathan expressed sympathy towards those who were still reeling from the pain caused by the loss of their loved ones.

“We are here today because we understand that there are lots of hurts and pains because of the crime and violence in your community and in our society,” Nathan said. Dr. Nathan also expressed his delight about the partnership that was formed with the Police Department in order to carry out the activity.

Among the police officers present were the Deputy Commissioner of Police, George Quallo; Assistant Commissioner of Police, Assan Thompson; Commanding officer of the Division, Superintendent Howard Chambers along with other senior Police Officers and rank and file members of the force.

Assan Thompson, assistant commissioner of police, said the police were happy the Adventist church approached them to organize the march as they feel comfortable working with the church.

“This is a call we could not refuse, they asked us to partner with them, and we are giving ourselves to you and to the church today and we feel happy to be a part of this Day of Kindness,” said Thompson. “When they leave, let it be a reference point going forward so persons can say from the day the church came, our place is in good stead (standing)” he said.

Thompson stated that the police take community intervention seriously, noting that it is part of the approach that is used to deal with the problems, not just in Western Kingston, but all across Jamaica. “If we work with the citizens, it is important for them to understand what we are doing and that they work with us,” he said.

Children’s and Adolescent Ministries Director Elder Claudette Genas encouraged residents to take care of the children. Apart from the two-year-old who was murdered in the area, a five-year-old was also shot and injured. “Make sure you are giving them all the love and care in a crime torn world, in the midst of the storm there can be peace,” Genas said.



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