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Speak up for a better society, pastor tells Jamaicans

Published:Monday | April 2, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Monsignor Michael Lewis greets Brian Pengelley (left), president of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA), on Palm Sunday during the JMA Manufacturers' Month church service at St Richards Church in St Andrew. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer

As the country continues to face economic challenges, Monsignor Michael Lewis is encouraging individuals to break their silence by speaking out about issues affecting their lives.

At the same time, the pastor of St Richard's Catholic Church, Red Hills Road, challenged the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA) to ensure that their decisions as business persons is geared at improving the lives of the Jamaican people and not only to make a profit.

He was speaking yesterday at the JMA Manufacturers' Month church service as the church celebrated Palm Sunday.

"Be very careful how you guide the rest of the business leaders in your sector for it must be what is best not only for your individual businesses, not only what is good for individual companies, but it must be what is good for the lives of the people we serve, for the lives of the employees and for those who buy from us," he said.

Do what is right

Lewis added that the nation is facing a very difficult time and everyone must take responsibility for what goes on in the country.

"As Christians you and I must not be afraid to do what is right, to seek what is true, to act with justice. Because the longer we pretend that everything is fine, the longer we pretend that it is all somebody else's issue, is the longer it is going to be for us to get out of this deep and dark hole that we are in," he said.

"We must not be afraid to speak, we must not be afraid to stand up, we must not be afraid to do what is right."

Engine of growth

In the meantime, JMA President Brian Pengelley said the manufacturing sector would have to be the engine of growth for the country.

Pengelley also encouraged the congregation to speak up for the betterment of the country.

"Jamaica can no longer afford to import everything we consume, we have got to take it upon ourselves and buy Jamaican. I say this with conviction because today you go in the supermarket and you will see people looking ... even though we have a choice, we still pick up the foreign one. It is not right and it has to stop," he said.

"The JMA has never taken any political side and that is the power of our association. We are not going to sit on one side and be afraid. My appeal to you is to just get behind us in any way you can."

Pengelley called for the removal of waivers in the manufacturing sector and their replacement with the implementation of other mechanisms that would contribute to the growth of industry.