A Baptist pastor from St Ann used his sermon at yesterday’s National Independence Thanksgiving Service inside the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kingston to blast the nation’s leaders, and charged that Jamaica is pervaded by hustlers.
Standing before a congregation that included the governor general, the prime minister, the opposition leader and other State officials, Reverend Jonathan Hemmings declared that Jamaica is facing a crisis of leadership.
“The crisis is located at just about every sphere of our society today. We need a new kind of leadership in politics, in religion, in the public and private sectors, in the medical and legal fraternity. We need a new type of leadership in the media and academia. We need a new kind of leadership in sports and entertainment. We need a new kind of leadership from those who consider themselves civil society and those of us who may be relegated to uncivil society,” said Rev Hemmings, the pastor at Ocho Rios Baptist Church.
“We need women and men who will model what we want our children to become, and this must be a basic in any leadership; and any leadership that fails to provide this, I put it to you, tek weh yuself,” the pastor said.
He charged that the country was pervaded by hustlers at almost every strata of the society instead of people willing to make worthwhile investments.
These hustlers, he said, continue “to reap, to rape, and to ravage” the island’s resources.
“Hustling and hustlers have taken over our schools; hustling and hustlers have crept into the church parading as teachers and preachers,” he said. “We have them in the public and the private sectors parading as investors, but simply looking something for nothing.”
But even with these challenges facing the country in its 50th year of Independence, the pastor said he was confident that the challenges were not insurmountable. He believes the nation can achieve progress by experiencing a paradigm shift in its leadership.
He therefore called upon leaders to talk less and do more to create opportunities for the ordinary people within the country so that they can contribute to nation building.
“When the leadership being offered fails to be exemplary in its output, it is time for such leaders to step aside,” Rev Hemmings said.