Family planning policy and expansion of rehabilitation projects for inmates are among suggestions being offered by the Presbyterian Church (PCTT) to deal with the crime scourge.
Pointing to political, social, moral and economic issues plaguing the country and affecting the very fabric of the major institutions, the PCTT said silence and indifference are not options for a community of faith in the midst of pain.
The church said it intends to uphold its mandate to be the conscience of the State and moral compass to society.
At therecent 63rd AGM of its synod, the PCTT expressed dismay at the continuing high levels of crime and criminality.
In a statement on Thursday, Moderator Rt Rev Daniel Chance said in the aftermath of loss suffered by families during the pandemic, people are now living in fear as the crime level has reverted to the pre-pandemic stage.
“The church's role in speaking out and telling the truth is meant to empower, enlighten, and propose solutions to social issues,” he said.
Chance pointed to some of the critical elements contributing to these frightening statistics such as the systemic deficiencies in the secular justice system, loopholes in the law and the process of law which lead to manipulation by creative minds.
“The easy access and availability of guns has created an environment of fear and anxiety in our nation and has led to the upsurge in gang warfare and increasing numbers of our youths turning to a life of violent crime.
“The social issues of domestic abuse, child neglect and abuse and fragmented families are evidence that the society is hurting, and contribute to the nation’s children feeling disillusioned and becoming violent perpetrators of crime. “
The church believes an efficient family planning policy, together with the strengthening and expanding of the State’s resources for counselling and rescue support, must be part of a long-term solution.
“The PCTT is also committed to working with the various national stakeholders, parents and teachers to give professional counselling support to these families through its newly created Beth-Rapha Mission, women’s and men’s groups, Sunday school and youth group initiatives.”
Commenting on the bursting prison population, the PCTT is making an urgent call to the government for expanded rehabilitation projects to "assist and influence change amongst convicts which can positively impact the lives of inmates upon their re-entry into society.”
The PCTT said it is committed to continuing its work through its prison chaplaincy programmes to be part of the solution.
It is also continuing to minister to the holistic needs of people, in encouraging safe and nurturing environments, as well as creating a culture of care, compassion and concern, based on the principles of fairness and justice.
“The PCTT prays that the will of God is done and that our beloved country can work together to allow everyone to feel safe, cared for, loved and understood in our nation.
“We pray for all our leaders who govern our beloved nation and its citizenry for a better TT.”