Holness suggests police will prosecute pastor

Holness suggests police will prosecute pastor

Observer writer

Sunday, August 09, 2020

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LUCEA, Hanover — Prime Minister Andrew Holness has disclosed that the person responsible for the spread of COVID-19 virus in at least one church will be prosecuted.

Two churches were recently featured in the virus outbreak in Church Corner, St Thomas and Sandy Bay in Clarendon. These communities have been placed under lockdown.

Addressing a virtual press conference last week, Holness had disclosed that a Jamaican pastor had returned to the island from overseas and spread the COVID-19 virus to a number of his congregants.

On Saturday, Holness asserted at a church service here, “I am certain that the security forces are doing their investigations to bring this matter up for prosecution.”

In making a comparison to the business process outsourcing (BPO) and the business sector, Holness argued, “when the BPO outbreak took place we didn't have any (protocols). We had to put in for the BPO's and for other businesses. Now, we have protocols for the churches, it was not followed,” added Holness.

As a result, the prime minister said there will be no special favour for church people who break the rules as he made it clear that those who did so would be prosecuted.

“So, there will be no special favour or special preference because it was a church person who breached the rules,” stated Holness.

During the press conference last week, Holness had stated that church conferences and conventions would be banned. This was done under the Disaster Risk Management Act, where breaches of the order will attract a penalty.

Holness, during his speech in Hanover, made it clear that he is reluctant to place restrictions on the Church because he is of the opinion that churches had the ability and moral duty to regulate themselves.

“I believe the Church has been doing a very good job on this, especially the larger established churches that I have interacted with. They were proactive. They did not wait on the Government to take action,” stated Holness.

However, he argued that if other places of worship had followed quarantine measures and guidelines, this would not have happened.

The prime minister, who was addressing Sabbath church at the Lucea Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) church in Hanover Western with his standard-bearer Tamika Davis, and National Security Minister and General Secretary Dr Horace Chang of the governing Jamaica Labour Party, read from the book of Romans 13 verses one to seven.

“Let every person be subjected to the governing authorities. For there is no authority, except for God. And, those who exist, have been instituted by God.

“Therefore, whoever resists the authority, resisteth what God has appointed: and those who resist will incur judgement.

“For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to the bad…,” Holness read.

Holness, who described himself as a man of God, said he will leave the interpretation of the scriptures to the pastor of the Lucea SDA church.

He further noted that even the Church must follow the authorities and rules that are in place, because there's nothing wrong for the Government to enforce the rules, even on the churches.

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