Good Morning to you all!

It is good it is for us to be here this morning at the Northern Caribbean University to collectively offer up prayers of thanksgiving and supplication to God for the Security Forces of our country!  Located as we are this morning within the JCF’s Area 3, we especially seek God’s favour on the approximately one thousand police persons who serve in the parishes of Manchester, Clarendon and St. Elizabeth.

Lady Allen and I travelled h ere today to show our solidarity with and express our appreciation to the members of the security forces for the service we receive personally and at King’s House.  And what better time to do so than on the Sabbath and in the context of our worship service.

Permit me, first of all, to commend NCU.   For thirteen years you have created an annual opportunity for the NCU family as well as the residents and well-wishers of Mandeville and surrounding communities, to focus their prayers of thanksgiving and supplication on the members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and, in particular, those assigned to Area 3.  This accords with the core values of this University which are summed up in the statement “NCU C.A.R.E.S.”

Ladies and gentlemen, these are indeed perilous times in our beloved country Jamaica.

(1) We are all concerned about the state of the economy, the pending IMF agreement and other national issues.

(2) And we are deeply preoccupied by the high level of crime which is rampant in our society.

(3) Every day we are bombarded by reports in the media about murders, shootings, rapes and other crimes which undermine our national security.

(4) All of us have been affected by criminal activities, either directly as victims, or indirectly, because of vicious, heartless attacks on family members, friends or colleagues.

We cannot hide our heads in the sand and pretend this is not happening and ignore the serious levels of lawlessness which result in the murder of members of our security forces, some in the very precincts of their homes!  I grieve with their families and friends and with the nation as a whole.

When the frontline defenders of our national security are being targeted for murder, we are in a precarious situation. Should not a people look to their God? But that is not the time to cower and shrink back behind higher walls and barbed-wire fences! We must be resolute and unyielding in our commitment to this country and understand what the times require of us: that we watch, pray and work together with the law enforcement authorities and other agencies to subdue that monster of crime and facilitate restitution, rehabilitation and reformation!

Members of the security forces, I urge you to remain true to your commitment to “serve, protect and reassure” the people of Jamaica. I know that the large majority of you do this every day often time endangering your personal safety and I appreciate you profoundly for that.  Our hearts go out for your fallen colleagues, and I pray that their families will find some comfort in the fact that they gave their lives in service to their country.

Police and civilian must respect each other and work together so we can live in a country where peace, justice, law and order are the everyday norm in each and every community. This must be the profile which defines Jamaica.

My brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, many of your have heard me state my conviction that “there is nothing wrong with Jamaica that cannot be fixed by what is right with Jamaica.”  I believe that we who love this, our homeland, are what is right about Jamaica and that together we can transform this country into a hub of peace and prosperity.  I believe that once we solve this problem of crime, including every form of corruption, there will be no stopping our progress.  We are a strong, resilient, creative people.  Let us unite our best efforts to rescue Jamaica from crime and put our country firmly on the path to development.

Our prayer for you is that God will continue to strengthen you daily as He gives you a spirit of boldness, courage, justice and fair play.  May He guide and protect you and your families as you work to protect Jamaica, land we love.

May God bless you all!

Thank you.