PRIME Minister Andrew Holness is assuring the country that the State will act decisively within the law to ensure the protection of its citizens against crime and violence.
Addressing the 125th-anniversary fund-raising banquet of the North Street Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church, at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, on Tuesday, Holness described as an “emergency” the crime situation and asserted that a person’s right to life “supersedes any other right” and must be upheld.
The prime minister called on the church “in times like these,” to “pray for the nation and petition for wisdom, so that reason and right-thinking can find its way into the hearts and minds of the people who hold power in this country”.
“Pray for wisdom of our leaders to put aside political self-interest and look about the interest of the people,” he emphasized.
Holness also called for prayers to cleanse hearts from the evil that predisposes one to violence, so “that as Jamaicans, we can learn to live with each other in peace and in love”.
Meanwhile, the prime minister lauded the Seventh-day Adventist church in Jamaica for its steadfast ministering of the gospel and for its emphasis on developing the whole person.
He also commended the church for its role in education, as reflected in Northern Caribbean University (NCU) and other secondary and early childhood institutions, as well as in the health sector, which is reflected in Andrews Memorial Hospital, in Kingston.
The prime minister noted that the North Street church has a community clinic, skills training, and educational institution, homework center, soup kitchen and various other philanthropic programmes impacting the nearby community.
Holness, who was baptized in the faith, hailed the Church for its doctrine of the healthy lifestyle, for its “excellent” music ministry and for its youth programme, which he described as very effective in creating the next generation of leaders.
For his part, president of the Jamaica Union of Seventh Day Adventists Pastor Everett Brown lauded the North Street church, “which is the mother of all SDA churches in the country”, for its role in the development of the nation.
He called on the church to continue to remain the focus, faithful and steadfast in impacting lives.
Proceeds of the anniversary banquet will go toward bolstering the North Street SDA Church’s community activities in the field of education, health, and welfare.