THE EDITOR, Sir:
For Christians, the basic moral test of any action is how it affects our fellow human beings. The striking depiction of the Last Judgement in Matthew 25:31-46 instructs the faithful to put the needs of the poor and the vulnerable first.
Scriptures and the example of Jesus call us to live our faith in the context of determining our ultimate end by the practice of charity, the pursuit of justice, and the search for peace for the least of our brothers and sisters.
The enlightenment and care that is our shared Christian duty applies to all aspects of our lives. This includes the Jamaican Government's negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). We recognise the duty that the Government has to conduct negotiations delicately; but for more than a year, successive administrations have provided little clarity on the issue.
Governance should not be shrouded in secrecy; the persons who are most impacted are the least involved and will be the most severely affected. Government must speak with the people clearly if the IMF negotiations are to result in justice.
And justice must be the aim. However the negotiations may progress, it must be realised that the economic system itself benefits from the wide-ranging practice of justice and the economic emancipation of all citizens. Our economic system must be directed towards the pursuit of the common good, for which the political community, in particular, must take responsibility.
Sadly, the economy in Jamaica today is marked by grave failures and deviations from the ideal of Christian charity and justice. We are now at another critical juncture in this regard.
Being aware that social programmes are the first to be affected, then in the structural decisions that are part of the negotiations, our Government must make the lives of the people central. We should ensure that greater access to quality education and economic opportunity must be manifested, and adequate care for the least fortunate must be ensured to determine the future. This strengthens, rather than drains, the economy and the State.
It is the Catholic moral position that we must take care of the most vulnerable; this is the primary consideration for our negotiators. We pray for our leaders and call on them, as Christians, to give justice to those who are most vulnerable in society.
JUSTICE AND PEACE
Roman Catholic Church