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May 27, 2010

Church leads the charge for gun amnesty

eugene crawford

Operation Jaguar is a week and a half in effect and the presence of the security forces is bringing some relief to the streets of the old capital. But every initiative to curb crime matters so we caught up today with one faith-based organization as it launched a program that is providing an opportunity to redeem unlicensed and illegal firearms for clothing and footwear.  The gun amnesty program is being held at three different locations across the city and is the brainchild of several lay ministers.  President of the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches Pastor Eugene Crawford says the idea came about because of the recent spike in gun violence.

Eugene Crawford, Organizer Gun Amnesty Program

“We felt in January after a time of prayer and with their visit that we need to begin to take a more hands on approach in curbing this gun problem; violence problem we’re having in Belize and besides that addressing other social issues.  And so after prayers, we felt confident that a gun amnesty spearheaded by the church would be a good approach to take.”

Isani Cayetano

“What has the reception been like in terms of people bringing in weapons off the streets?”

Eugene Crawford

“It’s early to say that because yes we have already received some guns but remembering that we have up until tomorrow, you know. We can say that the response from what we’re getting from the outside is that yes it is good and yes I know those who have guns and yes they’ll be bringing in their guns.  So we’ve tried to create a very good atmosphere, even our choice of places and the personnel collecting the guns that can be conducive, that could be encouraging, that could be friendly.”

Isani Cayetano

“What are the safeguards, if there are any, to ensure confidentiality and the fact that one’s identity remains completely out of this scenario?”

Eugene Crawford

“We have gone the extra mile in trying to protect, to do just what we say we would do in protecting the identity and to carry through with the confidentiality in not allowing any interviews in the room while collecting, no cameras.  Our system is that we ask no—we don’t ask any name, no questions where or how you got the gun.  It’s simply coming in with the gun, being greeted very warmly, receiving it, escorting you to an area where we do have some items that we give. Whoever brings a gun will be getting shoes, footwear, some clothes.  These are new things, some name brand things because we say that we want to do that which is part of what we do as a church in helping to meet the needs of those who need it most.”

Isani Cayetano

“It would seem a bit coincidental that the gun amnesty comes at a time where there is a crackdown on crime and violence by law enforcement authorities.  Can you speak to us if this is planned or it was just mere coincidence?”

Eugene Crawford

“As a matter of fact you know it’s a question that others have asked me.  I want to say as I sit here there had been no consultation in regards of its timing. We didn’t, we did not know the church association did not know that this would have taken place; this cracking down on guns and so forth. That’s why I am even more convinced now that this is a supernatural in regards to the timing and the execution of what we are doing. This is a God thing.”

Guns can be traded in at the Central Assembly of God Church on Freetown Road, Youth For the Future and the Conscious Youth Development Program.  According to Crawford the total number of weapons removed from the streets of Belize City will not be made public until Friday evening when the amnesty concludes.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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4 Responses for “Church leads the charge for gun amnesty”

  1. Belize It says:

    See here, Believe in our people. We will overcome! I love the Belizean spirit, this crime thing is only temporary and is already on its way out thanks to good groups like BGYEA and the church. Keep up the good works guys!

  2. toddys says:

    god works in misterious ways he is working through the church he does not give a man more than he could bear he saw that the nation was scar with violence and he is answering.

  3. Bulba Martinez says:

    Pastor Crawford, God is and always will be with you. Thanks for a job well done towards the security and safety of our people and country. I do believe that we will get back our streets to where our citizens will be able to walk freely without any fear for our lives. God’s promise will come to pass. He said it in the Scripture that, “He will never leave us or forsake us”. He also tell us to delight ourselves in HIM (Jesus) and that he will give us the desires of our heart. We in belize need to understand that, “Friends and Family together can give strength, Ref.(Ecclesiastes 3:9-12). My fellow Belizeans, let’s not submit to satan. Let’s work together for the GOOD and pray along with Pastor Crawford for deliverance from all this evil.

  4. CHRIST'S KID says:

    The power of prayer—-the greatest power on earth. I will continue to pray for you, Pastor Crawford, as well as the Christian community at large in my beloved homeland. Again I say, remember the words of 2 Chronicles 7:14. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

    Keep the faith, take heart, and do not give in to the Enemy—-whom we know is not flesh and blood, but powers, principalities, rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places. But we have the full armor of God and we need to completely clothe ourselves in it daily.

    Just a thought….but I remember that as a child and all through my formative years, each night at 11:00 p.m. I would hear the resonating voice of, I believe it was Father Hunter, echo the words of our national prayer. And at around 6:00 p.m. every evening, that same prayer would be played in Spanish. Beautiful, powerful words!! And not empty ones either. Does that still happen, or did it, like Radio Belize just die a natural death? If only we could re-visit that petition and pray those words from our hearts. Watch what would happen!!!! My family in the media at Love FM and Esterio Amor, my beloved departed aunt would be so proud of you to re-institute those prayers if they are not already being aired…. Here’s the English version:

    Almighty and eternal God, who through Jesus Christ has revealed Your Glory to all nations, please protect and preserve Belize our beloved country.
 God of might, wisdom, and justice, please assist our 
Belizean government and people with Your Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude.

Let the light of Your divine wisdom direct their plans and endeavours so that with Your help we may attain our just objectives. With Your guidance, may all our endeavours tend to peace, social justice, liberty, national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety and useful knowledge.

We pray, O God of Mercy, for all of us that we may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Your most holy law, that we may be preserved in union and in that peace which the world itself cannot give. And, after enjoying the blessings of this life, please admit us dear Lord, to that eternal reward that You have prepared for those who love You. Amen

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