Pastor is next GG - Hall retiring on Feb 26, cites ill health - Patrick Allen, Adventist cleric, to take over
Published: Wednesday | January 14, 2009
President of the West Indies Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Pastor Dr Patrick Allen to be sworn in as new governor general on February 26. - Contributed
The man selected to walk into the job as Jamaica's sixth governor general since Independence, Dr Patrick Linton Allen, has expressed confidence that he will have the support of both sides of the political divide.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding announced in Parliament yesterday that Allen, the president of West Indies Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, would replace Sir Kenneth Hall, who is to retire on February 26 because of health reasons.
"Sir Kenneth had advised me in July of last year of his desire, for health reasons, to demit office in October. He subsequently agreed to continue until February 2009," Golding said.
The prime minister further said Her Majesty the Queen had approved Sir Kenneth's request to retire.
He also thanked the outgoing governor general and Lady Hall for their contributions to Jamaica since Sir Kenneth's appointment as head of state on February 15, 2006.
"He has performed his duties with diligence, dignity, charm, impartiality and understanding and has been a credit to the highest office in our land," Golding said of Sir Kenneth.
While the prime minister was speaking in Parliament yesterday, Allen was in The Bahamas on business.
He told The Gleaner that he was looking forward to the job and there was no concern about support from the Government and the Opposition.
"You will appreciate that where I now work I have been able to maintain the unity of the Church by relating to both Government and Opposition without partiality, since our members support both parties,"Allen said.
An activist pastor, Allen has repeatedly called for the Church to address issues such as HIV/AIDS,child and spousal abuse, teenage pregnancy, crime and violence and unemployment.
He has expressed deep concern over the state of crime and violence in Jamaica while calling for church members and other persons of goodwill to use their influence to put an end to those "ungodly" acts.
The incoming head of state has also expressed confidence that his Adventist affiliation will not affect his ability to conduct the job as governor general.
"I know that everyone knows my religious persuasion. That will not hinder me from giving my best service. Fortunately for us, we live in a nation that respects religious liberty. No GG has ever been able to attend all social functions but the constitutional roles will be conducted to the satisfaction of the nation," Allen added.
Adventism is a conservative branch of Christianity known for its strict adherence to the Jewish Sabbath and rigid dietary stipulations.
Allen is just shy of his 58th birthday, which he will celebrate on February 7. He will be the second-youngest man to assume the governor generalship.
Patrick Linton Allen CD, PhD, JP
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