Tuesday 22 September, 2020

No preferential treatment for the church, says Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (File photo)

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (File photo)

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has said there will not be any preferential treatment for members of the church who breach the Disaster Risk Management Act.

 Those who breach the rules will be actively prosecuted. There will be no special favour or special preference because it was a church person who breached the rules," Holness stated.

 The prime minister was reacting to 30 COVID-19 cases stemming from a church convention in Clarendon which has resulted in the quarantine of the Sandy Bay community in the parish.

"I am certain that the security forces are doing their investigations to bring this matter up for prosecution," Holness said.

The community of Church Corner in St Thomas is also on lockdown in relation to the coronavirus.

The Government has also placed a 14-day ban on public gatherings for conventions and crusades since Friday.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (seated right, foreground) and National Security Minister, Dr Horace Chang (seated second left, foreground) among persons at a church service in Hanover on Saturday.

Speaking at the Lucea Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Hanover on Saturday morning, the prime minister conceded that he grudgingly regulates the church.

"It's a very difficult thing for the Government to try and regulate, and I will tell you upfront that I am very reluctant to place regulations on the church, because I believe that the church has the ability and the moral duty to regulate themselves," Holness stated.

"I don't want the society to be blaming the church; we will continue to work with the churches, but we will be putting in regulations to ensure that there is no more spread.

"The scripture is clear, even the church must follow the rules and there is nothing wrong for the Government to enforce the rules even on the church," added Holness.

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