Last week, Jamaica’s Prime Minister proclaimed a state of emergency due to extreme violence related to the lottery in the northwest corner of the island nation. According to reports published in the Jamaica Gleaner on January 19 and January 21, there were over 330 murders in St. James Parish last year, and this year has been bloody so far, as well. Parish residents welcomed the state of emergency and military and police presence. One elderly resident observed, “This is the best thing that could happen to Montego Bay at this time. It is like a belated Christmas gift.” Authorities confiscated weapons and arrested some wanted criminals. The last state of emergency for St. James Parish was declared in 2010. Governments in the U.K., Canada and the U.S. have issued travel advisories to their citizens traveling to St. James Parish (Deutsche Welle, January 20, 2018).
Jamaica is a beautiful island nation in the Caribbean, filled with kind and welcoming people. It has had a history of Bible-based morality, and many areas of the island are still peaceful and safe. However, in recent decades divided families and other societal failures have left younger generations of Jamaicans feeling hopeless and desperate. The current state of emergency in St. James Parish will no doubt quell the unrest for a time, but it will not fix the problem for good.
The real solution to the problem will come when Jesus Christ returns and begins to change hearts and minds—not only in Jamaica, but around the globe. Peaceful societies require swift justice based on righteousness and mercy (Isaiah 16:5; 55:6-7; Proverbs 21:7). They require that people live by every one of the Ten Commandments, and they require a biblical family structure, where children are taught right and wrong throughout their lives (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). The time is coming when violence will no longer exist in the land (Isaiah 60:18)—and peace will begin in God-fearing families. To learn how to bring peace to your own life, read or listen to Successful Parenting: God’s Way.