Be a better person
PORT MARIA, St Mary: AS A serving pastor and the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Community Safety and Security, Bishop Dr Gary Welsh firmly believes that his enduring faith in Christ makes him a better policeman.
Speaking recently at a Safe School Conference in Port Maria, St Mary, Welsh noted how religion often works in tandem with law and order, and insisted that many of Jamaica’s problems could be traced back to its citizens’ unwavering passion for consumer goods and services.
He told Family and Religion: “I’ve never had any problems serving in the Jamaica Constabulary Force as a Christian. If you think about it, a police officer upholds law and order, and that is exactly what religion is about, not just Christianity. [Religion] has certain guidelines that say: ‘Subscribe to these basic principals’.
“Because of my training as a police officer, it makes it much easier for me to be a Christian, so I make half the effort to succeed in either vocation. I do not find any challenges, particularly because I use my faith to inform the way I do law enforcement.
“My concept is: this is a tough terrain, and I need help. What better place to get help than from spiritual powers? And so it happens that I am a Christian who subscribes to the Christian religion, and my help comes from God, so my job is half as easy as everybody else’s.”
SHIFTING FROM CORE PRINCIPLES
Welsh, who has been a bishop in the New Testament Church of God since 2004, believes the biggest issue presently affecting the nation is the gradual move away from religion and other traditional Jamaican values.
He explained: “I really think we’ve been shifting from our basic core principles. Our national anthem is built on a prayer, ‘Eternal Father, bless our land,’ but we are shifting from that and becoming too secular and materialistic.
“When you think about ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Luke 6:31),’ that’s not just a Biblical principle, it’s a life principle; I should treat you in the same way I want to be treated. When we revisit those basic tenets, we’re gonna be a better country.”
Looking ahead, Welsh hopes that people will begin to search inside themselves for the solutions that will help transform Jamaica. He explained: “It all comes down to the individual. This is not something where we can call people in to sign a memorandum of understanding; you have to make a conscious decision that you want to be a better person.
“What is happening now, even in our policing, is that we are putting too much effort on solving crime, I think we should put more effort on prevention. All I’m saying is, let’s have a level playing field and create safe spaces for everybody.
“China is not having the problem we’re having with crime because it has a culture of lawfulness, and a respect for rights and property. This is happening over there, and we can do it too.”