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Prayer March Calls for End to Violence in Vieux Fort South

A prayer march dubbed ‘Christ for the Crisis’ took place in Vieux Fort last Sunday, spearheaded by churches and government ministers, all to curb violent crime which has terrorized certain communities in the island’s southern community.

This spiritual warfare against violence, particularly gun violence which has plagued the community over the past several months, was filled with messages of peace and love.

According to Vice Moderator of the Evangelical Church of the West Indies Jn. Claude Didier, the objective of the march was “to really pray for Vieux Fort; pray for the young men, release the word of God and trust that the Holy Spirit will draw them (to God).”

“Crime is (multifaceted and) the church has its part to play,” he added.

Social Justice Minister Joachim Henry echoed a similar message. Asserting that there is “no Saint Lucia” if violent trends continue, Henry urged residents to set aside their differences, hoping that his pleas would effect some kind of change.

The minister’s cries were passionate.

“We are diminishing with time,” he stated.

“I know that they (youngsters) do not love war. Somehow or the other they may not be able to resolve their differences (like how) we used to before and they find themselves taking the lives of each other. There is no Saint Lucia if we do not have people and with just a few of us in this island, there will be no Saint Lucia if we continue to take the lives of each other. If you find that it is difficult to resolve (issues) put down the guns and let us have a conversation. The church leaders are there to resolve it,” Henry added.

He also indicated that the event shouldn’t be a one-time affair, noting the churches’ responsibility. Henry also pointed out that churches should not take prayer marches lightly either.

“You must not let this afternoon be just the occasion of sounding the noise against crime and violence, but this must be sustained with your presence in the communities that are affected with crime,” Henry said, adding that those who are advocating for peace “must organize with the same sincerity and passion (as) those who organize war.”

“Therefore, your participation today, you must not take it lightly, because those who organize for war are not taking it lightly,” he said.

The minister urged residents to restore peace in the communities by taking “back what is ours.”

“There was a time when persons felt ashamed of doing the wrong things. We need to promote and campaign against these things so that we can have a safe society. We need to take back our communities and let those persons who believe that they can take away our peace understand that God is in control. God’s children will stand firm with Him and we’ll take back our communities for our people.  Let us be faithful to the cause. You might hear another gunshot but do not let that disturb you, your work will be counted, and it will make a contribution for the better.”

Parliamentary representative for Vieux Fort South Dr. Kenny Anthony also called on residents to cease the warfare. According to him, violence is consuming the community and the effects are far-reaching.

Parents are also affected by the loss of lives, he added.

“I see that we forget the parents who have lost their children to this senseless warfare. We don’t go out to them, we don’t tell them that we are thinking of them; we treat life as (if) it were almost normal,” Dr. Anthony said.

And whilst he recognized their pain, the minister also urged parents to play their part in the fight against crime stating that “parents need to speak to their children (constantly and) say to their children ‘lay down your arms, violence is not the way to solve (your) problems.’ You too (must) be a messenger of peace.”

Further, he noted, more must be done to solve the perennial issue.

“We must be careful that we do not only offer words of solace and words of comfort when we preach to those in our community. We too must give them the opportunities that they need so that they can reject what has happened in the past,” he stated.

The prayer march was held on Sunday July 31.

Dr. Anthony also spoke at another anti-crime event the day before where he offered words of encouragement to residents.

“I want to thank the Seventh Day Adventist community for bringing to the people of Bruceville and the constituency of Vieux Fort South a message of peace as well a message of redemption. I thank you too for bringing a message that violence in whatever form is destructive,” he said adding that “this is a concerted effort by our social partners of faith who share a common concern for the safety of citizens of our country and our community.”

“There’s a lot of anguish in the community and a lot of pain. Some of you may not know (this), but as you walk along the New Dock Road the young men and women of Bruceville are not allowed to cross that road to meet the young men and women of the Mang. It’s a zone that cannot be crossed and it is unimaginable that in a small community like this, where some of these same young people went to school with each other… now because of this consuming violence can no longer have the friendship they once enjoyed as children,” Dr. Anthony said.

“We are beginning to learn that this violence is so consuming that it’s beginning to affect the lives of everyone,” he added.

1 Comment

  1. I wonder why it took you so long to come up with the one solution which I think could start a reversal of this nonsense going on in Vieux Fort. We’ve tried policing, I never thought that would work for reasons I cannot say here; while I respect policing, be mindful that this is a small and tight knit community of people where most seem to know what’s going on, and we do have in the mix, a few bad apples. We might have tried almost everything which leaves us with the one answer – The Devine Sovereign and Impartial Judge, our ‘Lord God in Heaven’ who have asked us to call on His Name in times of trouble. My advice to you and all, get the Preachers down from the pulpit, gather the believers by Bus, this and other weekends to V/Fort, next to Gros Islet, Castries and other hot spots – I think you understand; may God Bless us all.

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