President of the BVI Christian Council, Bishop John Cline said religious leaders are declining to speak out against crime because they are afraid of being victimized.
“A lot of them will straight up tell you: That’s not my fight – I will preach the gospel and that’s it,” Bishop Cline said.
“In the BVI, this spirit of fear has gripped the church and not so much the church but the leaders of the church,” added the clergyman during the Honestly Speaking radio programme this week.
But, Bishop Cline is urging local pastors to speak out despite fear of repercussions.
The bishop suffered repercussions of his own last year after speaking out on a number of national issues — he was pressured to resign as Chairman of the BVI Health Services Authority.
“You got to be willing to sacrifice so if they ship me off; they ship me off. But this cannot remain an issue that is a mute point with me. There can be no silence with this,” he said.
“We got to get involved as the church. I want to appeal to all churches, whether you are a member of the Christian Council or not, one voice can make a difference. Many voices can make a whole lot of difference,” Bishop Cline said while rallying support in the fight against gun crime.
Over the last several days, the territory has seen an upsurge in shootings.
These recent shootings have resulted in two murders and at least two non-fatal injuries.
Police continue to appeal to potential witnesses to come forward with information.
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