Opposition Leader Godwin Friday has criticised Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves for comments he made last week at the CARICOM symposium on crime, held in Trinidad.
Gonsalves told the gathering of CARICOM heads of government, academics, and judicial officers that some young males murder to support the lifestyle of beautiful, “high maintenance” women.
He further said that some preachers “want me to go to heaven by frightening me not to go to hell”.
Friday, speaking on his weekly appearance on his New Democratic Party’s News Times on NICE Radio, expressed disbelief at Gonsalves’s statement, saying he had embarrassed the country.
“All over the region that comment has been condemned,” he said, referring to the prime minister’s comments about men committing crime to support high maintenance women.
“… it has brought shame on us here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. People look at us and wonder if this is real; this is what passes for leadership in this country,” the opposition leader said.
“And then goes on to blame judges who allow lawyers, he says, to run the court system under the guise of protecting the rights of the accused, blaming magistrates,” the opposition leader further said, referring to another of Gonsalves’ statements at the symposium.
“And of all things, blaming preachers and churches to say that they’re trying to frighten people rather than preaching in a way that can reach him and if they can’t reach him, they can’t reach the criminals” Friday said.
“But who’s to say how he could know that? Anybody knows — he knows the heart of every person? If your head hard to take telling when it comes from the Scriptures and from the persons who preach in our churches and teach in our churches, then that is for you. You can’t make no judgment about other people,” the opposition leader said.
Friday said he was surprised that the churches “have not responded more vigorously to this, what is essentially a diminishing of their role and criticising them in an unjustified way”.
In a sermon Sunday night, the Reverend Paul Duncan, a guest preacher at the Rillan Hill Church of the Nazarene, said some people would only make it to heaven if they are scared out of hell.
“… one method may not work for everybody. … Some will make it into heaven by preaching John 3:16. … Some will only make it into heaven only if you preach hell; no other words. You have to scare them out of hell,” Duncan said.
He said Gonsalves’ comments were as if he was blaming the churches “for part of the problem of young people committing crime, including violent crime.
“The churches must stand up and say, because they have a stake in this as well and if their legitimacy is undermined, then how do they then go and preach to the young people?
“… the young people when they go and talk to them, the pastor or the priest, are they going to quote Ralph to them and say why are you telling me about hell and damnation you should be talking about something else?”
Friday said crime is multifaceted, adding that the prime minister appeared to be blaming everyone else except the government for the crime situation.
“… everybody else — the young men themselves, … they’re selfish, they’re greedy, it is as though they are a product of themselves. … nothing helped to shape them or form them. They just decided to be that way,” Friday said.
“If that is the case, where are we?” he said, adding that if this is the case, the government is holding up a white flag in surrender and saying, “… we can’t do nothing about it; just protect yourself.’
“That can’t be the message,” the opposition leader said. “It’s can’t be the message that we send to this nation. The government must provide leadership and they’re not doing so,” he said, adding that the opposition continued to speak on crime because it is important.
Friday said the opposition’s motion in crime tabled in Parliament last month “did not see the light of day because the government did not allow it.
“They had already put one of their own sham motions on it (the Order Paper) in any event to try and block the time to say if they ever come to a time when a private member’s motion will be debated, they will deal with theirs instead of ours.”
Private members’ motions must be debated before 5 p.m. The post-luncheon resumption of Parliament did not allow for debate on any of the motions.
Ashelle Morgan, a government senator, had tabled a motion on education.
Friday said the opposition’s motion was a good opportunity for the Parliament to discuss the topical issue of crime in the country.
“I don’t see how anybody could have opposed the motion because we were calling for a broad-based approach where all the stakeholders, including the opposition, the police, the churches, individual, social scientists, the schools, the families, community leaders, everybody to come together and let’s form a broad-based approach to dealing with this problem,” he said.
You know what? I don’t believe that a lot of the people who are calling themselves Christians have been reading and studying the Bible very well. Believe it or not a lot of Christians are mindless sheep who follow Christianity with blind ignorance. Let us just calm down, let us just start looking at Christians and Christianity critically. First thing first Christianity is not in indigenous to St. Vincent and Grenadines, it is a foreign entity to this country. Secondly for over 75 years Christians have been promising the world, that they can heal the sick, raise the dead and mend the brokenhearted and up to this day, they have not accomplished any of those promises. Those of us who alive and well today, saw in the height of the COVID 19 pandemic Christian bishops, pastors and their followers were dying like flies they couldn’t heal anyone or themselves. Christianity is a fake or false religion which main concern is about making money, collecting tithes and offerings. Seriously, Christians need to answer some hard questions like how come they have promised the world, that they can heal the sick, raise the dead and mend the brokenhearted and up to this day, they have not accomplished any of these promises. And how come the Bible is filled with so much Biblical nonsense, there are too many to mention in this conversation. But, you know what? I will mention just two. The first one comes from the book of Joshua, Joshua 10 – 13 said Joshua commanded the Sun and the Moon to stand still, anyone with a brain in their head would know according to science that the Sun has not moved a day in its existence. Mind you though, the Earth and the Moon revolve around the Sun. Furthermore, the Moon takes 29 earth days to go around or orbit the Sun. Next the second Biblical nonsense written in the Bible is about the so-called saver of the world Jesus Christ. Moreover, do you know how many times so-called Jesus Christ was crucified in the Bible? According to the Bible Jesus was crucified four times. Let us go to Revelation 11:8-9 and see that Jesus Christ was crucified in both Sodom and Egypt on same day. That is Biblical nonsense 101. Well, we all know this so-called Jesus Christ was crucified on Calvary Mountain and Golgotha Hill on the same day. You see, the Bible is an allegory, it was never meant to be taking literally. The stories in Bible make little or no sense at all. The problem came when Christians tried to turn a Bible of allegories into reality. Christians or the Catholic Church Fathers made, Bible characters into human beings and created a Trinity God, Father , Son and Holy Spirit or Ghost. The Bible is a book of Biblical nonsense.
De man is very shameless so will do and say anything to make him more shameful and appears to be happy being shameless in my opinion. does wonder how dem does feel around others knowing dat dem was accused of rape ? the shameless bunch.
I support the PM on this one. He is correct about the churches and also about young men, crime and high maintenance women. If he was not right in the Vincentian context the outcry would be more profound. As TnT kaisonian Suhar Aloes sang “we get the government we deserve”/selah
Yea like in ugee and meshell andues situation.
Something really wrong with us vincentians.
If he don’t know what to do wid d crime situation keep his mouth close and stop d blame game. He knows his reign is coming to an end next time around so he just desperate to see how he can get around it. But there is no escape this time.
The riting on d wall.
I can’t condemn Gonsalves for speaking against preachers who use Hell to frighten people into trying to get saved. People should serve Jah out ah love- nah out ah fear. Serving Jah out ah fear mean a person nah love Jah. They only serving him out ah fear ah getting bu’n. Jah won’t accept dat! Jah want people to serve him out ah love.
As is stated in a few of the comments, there is certainly some truth in what the PM has said, along with that, he is only expressing his opinion. We all have an opinion. Someone mentioned the politician that was having an affair with a young model. Luckily he had enough money to wine and dine her. Otherwise, maybe…?…?
The Prime Minister spoke the truth. Why do some people believe that certain subjects like the judiciary are off limits? You should be held accountable once you are paid by tax payers. The problem is Hon Friday doesn’t have the courage to say what PM Gonsalves said.
It is quite funny that when the defense ask for an adjournment in a case it is usually granted but when the prosecution do so the case is thrown out. I have personally dealt with a double (serial) murder case that was adjourn over a period of three years. Luckily, the evidence was good and case was properly investigated. Took the jury One and a Half hours to come to a guilty verdict. There was no way this case should have taken so long.
Many people are to blind to see that their is an intrinsic link between criminality, prisons, the courts, policing, social services and education.
The problem is, all of these institutions are not working together. We have a very disjointed approach to security in the Caribbean that’s one of the reasons we have so many crimes.
You must have youth diversion programs, the police evidence handling procedures must be followed correctly in order to secure a conviction, the courts must examine every case on its own merit and its wider implication on the country, especially relating to bail and sentencing, the prison must be segregated with focus offender rehabilitation, the education system must be able to identify and address violent and antisocial behaviors early, and offer distance or institutionalized programs for prisoner rehabilitation. The social services must have a structured program to address deviants among youth.
I thought Prime Minister Gonsalves spoke very intelligently at summit. Kodoos to him.
A nation of hypocrites, “pot telling kettle e batty black”, it is time to stop paying so much attention to the personalities and pay more attention to the issues, otherwise the NDP will forever be batting but not scoring. I could be wrong, I’ve been wrong before.
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