September 27, 2020

Celestial help needed to stop murders

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West Bay residents gather for the prayer meeting

Calling civil authorities largely incompetent to arrest those responsible for Cayman’s recent murder spree, pastors from across the island have called on celestial assistance to stem the violence that has taken five lives in two weeks.

Speaking at a Sunday-evening prayer rally in West Bay’s Ed Bush stadium before an audience of at least 500, both Premier Mckeeva Bush and a roster of 10 pastors from West Bay and George Town, called the crime wave “a spiritual crisis” and asked heavenly succor to regain traditional values of “brotherly love”.

“This is a spiritual battle, not won by politicians or the police, but with God’s help we are going to win,” said Pastor Stanwyck Myles of West Bay’s Church of God Chapel.

Pastor Myles said he had just come from the funeral of Andrew Baptist, shot to death on 15 September, two days after the initial Robert Bush murder.

“I used to take him home from Sunday school,” he said, asking for God’s “love, power and grace”.

Mr Bush likened the 13-20 September killings to Joshua’s weeklong biblical battle of Jericho.

“Joshua had a long hard week, and we faced our own Jericho last week,” he said. “I call for an end to suffering and for unity. There is 500 years of good on this rock and we will triumph, regardless of who criticises and [any] demonstrations.

“I can give the Commissioner of Police and social programmes millions of dollars, but we must hold on to God,” he said.

Garret “Gary” Haylock, Church of God on West Bay’s Captain Reginald Parsons Drive, delivered a fiery sermon calling down the wrath of a “great and dreadful God”.

“We are a failure and need our hearts to be healed. This is too big for the governor, the premier or the police. Forgive the bitterness and the hurt. We pray we never see this again. Send this back to the pits of hell,” he said.

Pastor Alson Ebanks addresses the crowd

Pastor Caple Thompson from West Bay’s Seventh Day Adventist Church suggested the people of Cayman were “apostates”, caught in “the problem of sin”.

“No man has the solution,” he said. “Our political leaders and those responsible for law and order,” he said, were “not fully capable. They need your help, divine wisdom and guidance, from the governor to McKeeva Bush to the Cabinet, the Legislative Assembly and the police.”

Alson Ebanks, of George Town’s Church of God Chapel, directly opposite the Elgin Avenue police station, asked the dozens of ministers dotted throughout the Ed Bush bleachers, to form circles of up-to-six people and pray on them aloud.

As clutches of worshippers gathered, the slowly growing din rose into the darkening sky, followed by hymns led by nine ministers on stage with Mr Bush, accompanied by another 10 pastors seated directly before the stage.

The eight red-gingham-clad members of the John A Cumber choir sang, unaccompanied, “Let There be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin with Me,” while Pastor Myles thanked Mr Bush personally for providing the tent, sound system and staging, and for paying personally for printing the four-page programme.

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce issued a statement at the weekend saying the group was “shocked and sickened” by the murders”, offering its “deepest sympathies” to families and friends.

Members of John A Cumber school choir

“The squandered lives of these young men is both saddening and horrifying,” the statement said, vowing “not to tolerate” gang activities.

“We must protect both our reputation and community by doing everything we can to see that those responsible are removed from society and are prosecuted for these terrible crimes,” the statement said.

“We do not tolerate any form of crime in the Cayman Islands. We urge the public to work with the RCIPS and to report any suspicious activity that might assist the police in their investigations.”

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