Churches displeased about Sunday being a no-movement day; wants Gov't clarificationTuesday, September 21, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) has cited that it was not consulted before the Government declared Sunday a 'no-movement day' until October 28, as it attempts to bring the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic under control.
The Council is also questioning whether the Andrew Holness-led Administration is putting economic interests above the well-being of the populace.
In a statement on Tuesday, the JCC also rapped the Government for not encouraging what it calls “citizenry cooperation” in the fight against the novel coronavirus. The church group also sought to lecture the Administration on these principles, which it noted includes “transparency, consultation, equity, clear communications, and collaboration”.
According to the JCC, arising from the latest pronouncements by the government on steps to manage the pandemic, it finds it necessary, once again, to call for clarity concerning the revised regulations.
“We do so, on the basis that good governance – in policy and practice – is indispensable for the attainment of the goal of defeating the pandemic,” the JCC argued.
“We wonder, for example, if our leaders are espousing the view that economic and business interests are superior to all other considerations in Jamaica. While we affirm the importance of economics, we would urge the resistance of an approach that predicates national well-being solely on that criterion. Our Saviour's imperative is more applicable and relevant today than ever before –'man shall not live by bread alone…'”the JCC added.
The JCC said it was strongly urging the nation and the government to insist on the employment of the principle of equity as the guiding principle in all its deliberations, policy formulations and decision-making as this will enable appropriate levels of consideration to be given to all concerns which impact life and livelihood.
“These include the psychosocial, religious and public health factors which must be valued and incorporated in the promulgation of protocols. This, we believe, is the surest way to achieve balance and fairness,” the JCC stated.
The JCC said it bemoans the absence of communication and clarification on the rationale for the most recent decision for Sundays to be the only no-movement day of the week.
“We wonder whether this arrangement will bear the desired success in the mitigation of the pandemic. We call on the government therefore to provide the nation with clarification regarding the decision to make Sunday a no-movement day bearing the overarching understanding that where equity reigns supreme, balance and progress are more easily attained”.
The JCC said it agrees with the concern expressed by many leaders of the church that the majority of Christians worship on Sundays and since churches are allowed to accommodate limited numbers, their free movement ought not to be hampered.
“Furthermore, lack of access to public transportation makes travel during a no-movement day an unnecessary burden. Therefore, in the interest of good governance, probity and transparency, the Council is of the view this matter should be given urgent attention,” said the JCC.