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West Jamaica churches protest Bain sacking

Published:Tuesday | June 3, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

A wide cross section of western Jamaica churches sent a strong message to the University of the West Indies, Mona, yesterday, warning the institution that the dismissal of Professor Brendan Bain was likely to tarnish its name.

Wearing tape over their mouths, signalling their right to freedom of speech was under threat, the placard-bearing church members of more than 120 strong staged a three-hour protest outside the gates of the Western Jamaica Campus (WJC) in Montego Bay.

"Professor Bain has been dealt an injustice, and freedom of speech must be protected at all costs," stated chairman of the ministers' fraternal in western Jamaica, Pastor Glendon Powell.

He added: "This move by the university is likely to bring down its name."

Series of protests

UWI terminated the contract of Professor Brendan Bain as the director of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training (CHART) Network last month, saying it had become increasingly evident that he had lost the confidence and support of a significant sector of the community the CHART programme was expected to reach.

The west has now joined the east in protests.

Unconcerned about the power being wielded by the gay-rights community, Powell said there was no power that exceeded the power of God.

"Biblical records show where when we go against the principles of the scripture, it has had adverse effects," he quoted.

Powell was joined by his counterpart, Pastor Mary Wildish of Trumpet Call Ministries, who called for a righteous revolution. "Righteousness exalts a nation," she declared.

Strident in her conviction, Wildish warned that the social fabric of the society could be eroded by a minority group, "and even freedom of speech on the pulpit is at risk".

She described the Bain dismissal as a travesty and a direct attack on freedom of speech.

Wildish believes it is time for the Church to wake up and be militant in advocacy.

She reminded the nation that the Church was a sleeping giant.

The only response WJC director, Dr Luz Longsworth, would give The Gleaner when asked to comment was, "This is a university-wide issue which is being dealt with by the vice-chancellor at the main campus. I would, therefore, refer you to the press release issued by that office or to our director of marketing and communication, Dr Carroll Edwards."

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com