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urges Christians to vote 'for right person'
Morris, a police officer attached to the Protective Services
Division, receives his ballot paper from Presiding Officer,
Michele Orane, during Monday's voting proceedings at the Police
Officers' Club, Old Hope Road, St. Andrew. - Junior Dowie/Staff
Roy Sanford, Staff Reporter
THE eve of the Local Government elections, a leading Roman
Catholic cleric says that although the church encourages participation
in the political party of one's choice, at times it is necessary
to put aside party loyalty for the sake of electing the right
person for office.
suggestion was made by Jamaican-born Bishop Emeritus of the
Diocese of Bridgetown, Barbados, the Rev. Anthony Dickson,
who also said that since there is so much at stake, the electorate
must also vote for persons who see themselves as servants.
the face of the upcoming Local Government elections, the church
continues to impress upon each citizen the serious responsibility
of participating fully in the political process," he
said. "Our active participation in the political party
of our choice is legitimate and must be encouraged."
he added that since much is at stake, it was necessary to
cross political lines to elect the 'right person.'
is at stake is the well-being of our neighbour and his or
her quality of life," the Rev. Mr. Dickson said. "There
are times when it is necessary to put aside party loyalty
for the sake of choosing the right person who may not be from
your own political party. Christians cannot shirk this responsibility.
We cannot be laid back. We cannot say it is a waste of time."
pointed out that the 'right person' is someone who sees him,
or herself, as a servant of the people and who put the welfare
of the country first. "Persons must be selected for public
office who are not only competent to provide necessary services
for the community," he said. "But, who are also
servants prepared to spend themselves for the well being of
the people of their parish and not seek their own aggrandisement."
Rev. Father Dickson noted that in the face of a sliding dollar,
the accompanying rise in the cost of living, a frightening
high level of vicious crime and controversial law enforcement
situation, it is important to elect persons who put the welfare
of the country first. "Oh, how badly do we need people
who are prepared to forget their own self interests and put
the good of Jamaicans first," he said. "Oh, how
badly do we need genuine servants today, person who will emulate
Rev. Mr. Dickson was speaking at a ceremony celebrating the
40th anniversary of Monsignor. Herbert Panton in Montego Bay
on the weekend. The audience consisted of religious representatives
from across the island.
Panton was ordained a priest in 1963, in his homeland of Belize.
He has worked for 17 years in Jamaica. He settled permanently
on the island in 1991, when he was appointed Executive Director
of the Caribbean Council of Churches (CCC). He is currently
the pastor of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Reading, St.