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Churches pray for successful IMF negotiations

BY NADINE WILSON Observer staff reporter wilsonn@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, November 01, 2012    

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THE Jamaica Association of Full Gospel Churches (JAFGC) yesterday staged a day of prayer and fasting islandwide for successful negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and is planning to go all white on November 11 to protest against the current crime situation facing the island.

JAFGC President Bishop Rohan Edwards said he was pleased with the level of support from members of the various churches who took part in yesterday's fasting service which lasted from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm in various churches islandwide.

The association, which comprises over 1000 churches, has urged the Government to move swiftly in reaching an agreement with the international lending agency, and has hinted that the fasting session was just one of several steps they plan to take in registering their concern with the pace of the negotiations.

"The decision must be quick to prevent further hardship on the Jamaican people, while ensuring the terms that are agreed to are also favourable and manageable," said Edwards.

"The fact that the National International Reserve is down to just 12 weeks of imports and our GDP is down to a ridiculous low level, while the Jamaican dollar is sliding at a rapid pace, and the fact that there is a lack in confidence in the economy by investors, all pose a serious threat for our country," said the churchman.

Edwards said that while some of the measures taken by the Government could be drastic, they may be necessary at this point.

"We understand that the world recession is impacting our country but at this time, our Government has to do all that lies in its power to avert national economic catastrophe," he said.

Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips has assured that significant progress was being made with the IMF, who had a team in the island between September 24 and October 5. However, a timeline has not been reached as to when an agreement would be signed.

At the same time, the JAFGC said it was also concerned about the current crime situation, and has called for all the churches in the island to galvanise their members to protest the heinous rape of women and children in the country, by wearing white on November 11.

"The church has recognised the importance of our spiritual authority and so, therefore, we will be stepping forth as we have been doing, but on more rigorous terms," said Bishop Edwards.

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