NASSAU, The Bahamas – “As we move towards this new school year we wish to highlight to the public that if you are under stress, if you feel that you have to react in a manner that may not be in accordance with the laws, if you feel at your wits’ end, there are resources available to you. There are many, many churches in this country; their doors are open,” said the Hon. Wayne Munroe, Minister of National Security.
Minister Munroe made this appeal to the public at a press conference, August 19, 2022 at the Ministry of National Security, with stakeholders including the Bahamas Christian Council, civil society and the Ministry of Social Services to highlight the availability of help for individuals desirous of counselling. “We are here to bring to the attention of the public the partnership of the Christian Council with the Ministry of National Security in this fight to arrest the scourge of crime in this country,” he said.
“What we are hoping to do in this initiative is not to tell you that the church is doing anything new or different but to let you know what is available what has always been available but to urge you if you are in need of it to take advantage of it.
“We have found in examining the crime statistics particularly of homicide that they fall into the classes of gang related violence and homicides with retaliation being the driving factor and domestic homicides with persons unable to sensibly settle conflicts.
“It is recognized worldwide that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused great stress in relationships, in economic realities and great stress in educational outcomes and expectations,” he said.
Minister Munroe urged the public to seek help, “as the law does not recognize as a justification for violence that you were upset, that you were provoked, that you were at your wits’ end.”
The press conference was held at the Ministry of National Security, University Drive. Among those present: Cheryl Darville, Permanent Secretary; Brenda Dorsett, Undersecretary; Delgardo Forbes, Deputy Permanent Secretary; Dr. Anthony Hamilton, President, Civil Society; Kaylesa Simmons, Ministry of Social Services; Bishop Delton Fernander, President, Bahamas Christian Council; Dr. Carlos Reid, consultant at Ministry of National Security and Director of the Hope Centre; Rev ’d Dr. William Thompson, Chaplain, Bahamas Department of Correctional Services; Rev ’d Fr. Stephen Davies, Chaplain, Royal Bahamas Police Force and Apostle Raymond Wells, Chaplain, Royal Bahamas Defence Force.
Minister Munroe said the presence of the chaplaincy of the armed forces indicates that everyone may need help.
“To the young men, we don’t want you to get the attitude that you are too big and bad to ask for help. Asking for help demonstrates strength that you understand that you need help, that you understand where you need to look for it and you are brave enough to seek it.
“If we are going to end this tide of violence in this country we will all have to take responsibility and do our part. I am grateful to the Christian Council, not to say they are stepping up to do something but they will continue to do what they have always done.”
Bishop Fernander said the Christian Council has asked all churches to make their facilities available for persons to call, stop by to receive counselling. Beginning Monday, August 22, 2022 counselling services led by Apostle Brenda Pratt of Global Worship Centre, will be available for the public from 10 am to 3pm at (242) 326-3152.
“It’s been my task to prepare chaplains clinical Christian counsellors. We have some 40 Christian, trained clinical counsellors that will be available at 17 Garnett Munroe Centre, Rosetta Street. The first place people come to is the church. We see it day in and day out. We want to formalize it today. Gone are the days when preachers just come on Sunday and preach. We’re asked to do so much and the Bahamian clergy are up to the task. We’re stepping it up so we can make a difference in our society.”