Bethel does not need a new crime plan to change the community, but a spiritual intervention involving “a few good men who understand the power they have to transform lives.”
Rev Nevin Lewis made the comment as he delivered the sermon at Thursday's funeral service for Ryan Thornhill, Tobago's first murder victim for 2021, at the Montgomery Moravian Church, Bethel.
Thornhill, 61, was killed on February 15 after a gunman opened fire on a group of people near Egypt Junction, Bethel.
Three other men were also seriously injured.
Investigations are continuing.
Saying “a hand of mercy and love” is what is needed to eliminate crime and violence in the community, Lewis challenged parents to lead by example by being the change they want to see in Bethel.
He observed too many young people were growing up without the fear of God.
“We have a generation that knows less about God than the previous generation,” he told mourners.
Lewis said while some young people believe they have no need for God, others have not been socialised to revere Him.
As a result, he contends some parents have been complicit in nurturing a culture of crime and violence in their children.
“We have participated in creating some of these people.”
Lewis also observed that far too often adults are quick to “write off” young people for their ill deeds.
“Stop blaming young people. They did not raise themselves. We have to look at ourselves.”
He said people have the power to change communities with praise, power and prayer.
“God has given us the power to be change-agents in this society, but we cannot do it if we don’t embrace it.”
He added: “Bethel needs people of character to say, ‘I am going to make a difference in my space so someone could be transformed in their lives.’”
In his tribute, Bethel/Mt Irvine representative Pastor Terance Baynes urged mourners to prepare for death.
“Please, I urge you, we have no control over tomorrow,” he said.
“No matter how vibrant you are, death don’t business. Death is a foolish thing. It has no regard for your security. It has no regard for your plans.
“You could be minding your own business, you could lock yourself up in a steel cage, death will find you.”
After Thornhill's death, Baynes launched an anti-crime initiative titled Intervention, at Egypt Junction, on February 21.
Jamila Benjamin, who delivered the eulogy, described Thornhill as kind, friendly, hardworking and ambitious.
She said he will be dearly missed.