'IMF deal or no deal, we must feed ourselves'
Methodist District president criticises import policy
HEAD OF the Methodist denomination in Jamaica, the Reverend Everald Galbraith, has challenged Jamaica to revisit its current import policy.
Speaking on Sunday during the 197th meeting of the Jamaica District at its Official Conference Service at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston, Rev Galbraith said while he hoped and prayed that an agreement could be reached soon with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Jamaicans should not allow themselves to be paralysed if there was none.
"While we are waiting to exhale, as it were, my prayer is that there will be an IMF agreement. But what if none is there? Will we roll over and die? IMF deal or no deal, we need to feed ourselves," he said to applause from the packed conference floor.
He added that it was ridiculous that Jamaica was now importing so much bottled water and banana chips when there were acres of land available for productive use.
Speaking against the background of the many challenges facing the country - corruption, mismanagement, proliferation of gambling, crime and violence, and family dysfunction, Rev Galbraith also had a word for the public and private sectors.
"We must encourage the Government to stop wasting our taxes! Public-sector workers must stop pressing for wage increases when the money is not there, and we must challenge the private sector to stop exploiting workers, because times are hard and jobs are hard to come by," he said.
Using the story in the Bible from Mark chapter 5 of Jesus raising Jairus' daughter back to life, Rev Galbraith said the Church, too, must arise from its sleepiness, and in some cases apparent death, to carry out its mission of evangelism.
The message of the gospel, he said, was that of Jesus summoning his followers to action, not just to be bench warmers or critical spectators finding fault with everything.
Churches must continue "to rescue the perishing, and care for the dying," Rev Galbraith said, by helping those who are unable to help themselves and by providing the necessary physical and spiritual sustenance.
"No matter how bad things are or seem, we can have hope in God. We must never lose sight of the fact that God is with us - as a church, as a nation and as a people. We can rise and see a better day," he added.