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Regional Prison Conference

Participants ponder the issues.

Prison Fellowship Cayman Islands this month hosted a regional drug-awareness conference for regional workers and volunteers who are engaged in the effort to rehabilitate inmates, by taking the message of spiritual enlightenment to them.

The two-day drug training seminar was for members of the Prison Ministry International's Northern Caribbean Caucus. It was led by the Tennessee-based National Council for the Prevention of Drug Abuse (NCPDA). The 23 participants represented the Bahamas, Bermuda and Belize, as well as delegates from Cayman.

At the opening, organizers and guests were greeted by the Hon Chief Secretary Mr. George McCarthy, OBE, JP, who expressed appreciation and encouragement. Also present were Cayman's National Drug Council's (NDC) Executive Director Joan West; Prison Fellowship Cayman Islands' President Pastor Alson Ebanks; and Cayman's Volunteer Prison Chaplain Cathy Gomez.

The Red Bay Church of God venue was provided by Cayman Ministers' Association Chairman Bob Thompson, who commented "We continue to try to reach the prisoners in our Islands and - of course - to try to deter others from following in their footsteps."

NCPDA President Larry Moore practices what he preaches. He was the main presenter, leading conference discussions in areas such as 'Understanding Youth today' and 'Enabling Loved Ones.' However, from his teen years until his marriage, he indulged heavily in alcohol, drugs, addiction, gambling, theft, drug smuggling and related crimes.

Eventually "after a ten-year narcotic binge, and with a police record two pages long," and related tolls on his life, his wife led the way to church, and he followed. For more than four decades now, the couple has been instrumental in hosting seminars and reaching out to others, including youths and inmates.

Pastor Moore is also an ordained Elder and Missionary of the Church of God in Christ and the Evangelism Training Consultant for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago's Outreach Ministry. He explained, "May my testimony be used to show what Christ can do in a person's life as they yield themselves to the Spirit of Christ."

Outlined staggering statistics in relation to drug abuse and crimes - especially against children and young people - he further noted that such issues are why the NCPDA exists.

A range of topics were addressed, focusing on areas such as awareness, and preventative and clinical topics. Issues covered included family networks, club drugs, suicide and other responses to emotional crises, and youths and gangs. The spiritual connection and influence was the common thread throughout the discussions.

Several participants in the regional conference also testified to their own assorted pasts, and to their unlikely escape from the grip of drug abuse and crime.

For further information contact: Lennon Christian