Priest calls for country over self – Veteran pilot laid to rest

Pall-bearers carry the coffin of Captain Russell Capleton from the Stella Maris Church after his funeral yesterday

Monsignor Michael Lewis used the funeral for veteran pilot Captain Russell Capleton yesterday to wade into the Manatt, Phelps & Phillips controversy that has embroiled the Bruce Golding administration.

Without pointing directly to the Government, Monsignor Lewis said, “We must learn to put our nation before party … put our nation before our own personal interest.

“Truth is truth, and it must be spoken clearly. Part of our problem is that truth is not being told and the people of this country are being treated as if we have no sense,” said Lewis.

“We must be careful we don’t exercise an elastic conscience. We can’t stretch things to fit and suit the conditions we want to fit,” he continued.

After months of denial, Golding admitted in Parliament on Tuesday that he had authorised members of the Jamaica Labour Party to contact the United States-based law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips to lobby the US government on extradition matters.

Hopes destroyed

Monsignor Lewis, who is also pastor of Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church, said many people were leaving Jamaica because their hopes were being destroyed.

He urged Jamaicans to stand up and fight for what was noble, honest and decent.

“If Jamaica is to become better, we have to stop talking, shut up. We must now get up and do some of the things we keep talking about,” Lewis said.

Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller was among hundreds of mourners who packed Stella Maris Church for Captain Capleton’s funeral.

Captain Capleton was the face of the Jamaican Airline Pilots’ Association’s failed bid to buy Air Jamaica.

The country’s national carrier was recently divested and is now owned by Caribbean Airlines out of Trinidad and Tobago.

Capleton, one of the pilots not to receive a contract from the new owners after Air Jamaica made him redundant, died of a heart attack, coincidentally just days after the airline changed hands.

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