Published: Friday | June 5, 2009
My younger sister, Jean, and I attended the late Henry Fowler's Priory School for two years - 1967-69. Dad was with USAID. A classmate in the United Kingdom is making it possible for former students to network online. For me, Jamaica is utterly unique in the universe. A great high point for me was a school trip to Whitfield Hall and a walk to Blue Mountain Peak to see the sunrise. The walk down the mountain in the morning light has stayed with me ever since.
After getting a Bachelors of Arts degree at the University of California in 1976, I joined the US Peace Corps and served as head English teacher in rural Liberia. My duties included teaching modern African literature, including the work of Peter Abrahams, whose daughter, Naomi, was in my class at Priory. I discovered Camara Laye's Radiance of the King about a destitute white man who makes a pilgrimage to find a mysterious African king. The book is a metaphor for my own odyssey from Jamaica to West Africa.
I hope to return to Jamaica and to the Blue Mountains in the future. Long live Jamaica.
Norman Muir Wolff
PO BOX 750262
Commissioner Lewin's comment, which in substance is that those who are not prepared to work on their Sabbath should not be members of the force, is, in law, absolutely correct.
When the commissioner speaks, he does so as a professional armed with this knowledge and not as a professional pastor or layperson, who is not necessarily seized with knowledge of military and police laws or even the Constitution for that matter.
Freedom of worship is guaranteed under Chapter III of the Constitution of Jamaica, but a sharp distinction is drawn between freedom of worship and the duty of worshippers who are members of the army and the police force to comply with the rules and regulations of the army and the force, neither of which for obvious reasons, makes any provision for the right to be absent from duty on the ground of religion.
Owen S. Crosbie
Commissioner Lewin is right and persons affected must make themselves available, serve or step aside. We must not permit the religious 'buggy-person' to cloud our vision.
It is not a matter of discrimination but plain common sense, which need not be argued to the ends of the Earth. Religious observances must give way to the administrative and other operational requirements of complex societies such as Jamaica.