Pas­tor rips banks for abus­ing power

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Christo­pher Serju Gleaner Writer

PAS­TOR DAVID Henry on Sun­day used his ser­mon to call out ra­pa­cious com­mer­cial banks and cor­rupt pub­lic of­fi­cials, chal­leng­ing them to stop abus­ing their po­si­tions of power, and in­stead, start to truly serve the peo­ple.

Speak­ing at Swal­low­field Chapel in St Andrew dur­ing the ser­vice to launch National Jour­nal­ism Week, which runs from Novem­ber 20-26, Henry made clear his dis­sat­is­fac­tion with cer­tain as­pects of the coun­try’s gov­er­nance sys­tem.

“Our tax­a­tion poli­cies must have spe­cial re­gard for its impact on the poor and vul­ner­a­ble. You know we have a history in this coun­try of usury, you nuh, some wicked in­ter­est rates— I not even go­ing call them high— and they have dec­i­mated many busi­nesses and fam­i­lies. (Cur­rently) I per­son­ally be­lieve that in­ter­est charges on some credit cards are in­iq­ui­tous and ex­ploita­tive,” he de­clared to loud ap­plause.

“In­ter­est rates re­ally are meant to pro­tect re-in­fla­tion, not to ex­ces­sively fat­ten the cof­fers of lenders. Rea­son­able profit is fair, don’t mis­un­der­stand what I’m say­ing, rea­son­able prof­its is fair but we must not di­min­ish and dec­i­mate the bor­row­ers,” he ex­plained.

Henry, who is an at­tor­ney-at-law by train­ing, was speak­ing on the topic ‘Re­vival Love Well’.

Bas­ing his ser­mon on the story of Ne­hemiah, an Old Tes­ta­ment prophet, he also ad­dressed the is­sue of cor­rup­tion in Ja­maica.

“We have a history in this coun­try of abuse of state funds. That has happened whereby tax­pay­ers’ money is im­prop­erly used and spent, where es­tab­lished prin­ci­ples or pro­to­col for the award­ing of con­tracts may be vi­o­lated. This must cease. It must be­come a part of the history of Ja­maica and stay there. We need to be in the van­guard of en­sur­ing that cor­rup­tion is a thing of the past on the part of pub­lic of­fi­cials, and we need to hold our lead­ers re­spon­si­ble and ac­count­able.

DE­FEND AGAINST EX­PLOITA­TION

Henry charged his con­gre­ga­tion: “We are obliged, as a peo­ple of God, to de­fend from ex­ploita­tion of the weak and the poor and the vul­ner­a­ble, those who can’t de­fend them­selves. We must model in­tegrity and moral­ity in our own lives in the use of our own re­sources, in­clud­ing our fi­nances. We must love peo­ple and not money.”

He con­tin­ued: “One of the prob­lems in our na­tion is that we don’t call peo­ple out and give them an op­por­tu­nity to re­pent. It doesn’t mean that they must re­pent, but they must hear the word.”

Ac­knowl­edg­ing that truth is a dou­ble-edged sword that chal­lenges ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing the preacher, to live up to God’s high stan­dards, re­gard­less of political or other per­sua­sion, Henry chal­lenged Ja­maicans to em­brace truth as a cen­tral tenet of their daily ac­tiv­i­ties.

“I want to say to us, we need to speak truth to all as the peo­ple of God. Those of us who are in po­si­tions of au­thor­ity, you need to speak to the truth in the con­text of the as­so­ci­a­tions you have ... wher­ever God has placed you, whether it’s in pol­i­tics, the econ­omy, the law, the en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists, fam­ily, re­li­gion, en­ter­tain­ment, arts, sports, me­dia, ed­u­ca­tion. We have to be ad­vo­cates for truth.”

RUDOLPH BROWN/PHOTOGRAPHER

Pas­tor Dr David Henry (right) greets Ruel Reid, min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion, youth and in­for­ma­tion, at the church ser­vice to launch National Jour­nal­ism Week at Swal­low­field Chapel in St Andrew on Sun­day.

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