Bishop crit­i­cises crime re­sponse

The Church of England - - NEWS -

THE BISHOP of Ja­maica has de­nounced his government’s slow re­sponse to a lot­tery scam that has de­frauded thou­sands of el­derly Amer­i­cans, say­ing it was symp­to­matic of the break­down of law and or­der in the West Indies.

In his pres­i­den­tial ad­dress to the Dio­cese of Ja­maica and the Cay­man Is­lands at the 143rd an­nual meet­ing of Synod held at St Ann’s Bay par­ish church, Bishop Howard Gre­gory said the “sys­tem of jus­tice needs to be­come a pri­mary fo­cus of at­ten­tion.”

“As a na­tion we are be­ing called to re­pen­tance with a con­se­quent change of ac­tion in re­la­tion to the blood of our young men and our women and chil­dren which is be­ing shed daily in our coun­try by crim­i­nal el­e­ments, but just as sig­nif­i­cant in the res­o­lu­tion of domestic dis­putes.”

The Bishop con­demned the government for per­mit­ting the sale of lot­tery tick­ets on Sun­day. He noted that the leg­is­la­tion passed dur­ing holy week led him to ask “whether this is an ex­pres­sion of gross in­sen­si­tiv­ity or a state­ment con­cern­ing the way for­ward for the re­la­tion­ship be­tween church and so­ci­ety”.

He also took the government to task for not mov­ing to stop the “Ja­maican lot­tery scam” un­til the US Se­nate be­gan hear­ings on the crimes.

A report by CBS re­ported that in 2012 over 29,000 lot­tery scam com­plaints were filed with Amer­i­can po­lice agen­cies. Pos­ing as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Pub­lish­ers Clear­ing­house and other lot­tery and sweep­stakes firms, the scam­mers would tell el­derly Amer­i­cans that they had won a cash prize but first needed to make a tax pay­ment be­fore the money would be re­leased. The Ja­maican-based fraud had taken in tens of mil­lions of dol­lars, pros­e­cu­tors have al­leged.

“Af­ter seven years of pub­lic aware­ness of the lot­tery scam, our Government has only man­aged to ta­ble an­ti­s­cam­ming leg­is­la­tion and talk tough at the very moment when the United States Se­nate was hold­ing a [Se­nate] hear­ing on the scam in Ja­maica,” Bishop Gre­gory said.

The government’s fail­ure to act did noth­ing to com­bat Ja­maica’s rep­u­ta­tion as a den of crime and corr up­tion. “The way we are pre­sent­ing our­selves to the world in terms of our mo­ral val­ues as a na­tion calls for se­ri­ous re­pen­tance on the part of ci­ti­zens.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.