PASTOR of Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church Father Michael Lewis yesterday called on Jamaica’s politicians to be honest and to put the country’s welfare before their own.
Father Lewis, who was delivering the sermon at the thanksgiving service for former Air Jamaica pilot and past-president of the Jamaican Airline Pilots’ Captain Russell Anthony Capleton, blasted the media and politicians for their roles in dishing out only “selective portions of the truth” to the nation.
“I say to us that every single one of us needs to be careful that we do not exercise, what my sister likes to call, an elastic conscience,” Father Lewis said.
“We cannot stretch things to fit and suit the conditions that we want it to suit. Truth is truth and must be spoken clearly. Part of our problem is that the truth is not being spoken, that selective truth is being spoken, some information is being given and the people of Jamaica are being treated as if we have no sense,” he added.
And he urged politicians to put the nation before their parties, saying “We must learn how to put people before own personal interest.”
While asserting that he was not throwing the blame at any person’s feet, Father Lewis said he was saddened at the state of the country and how its affairs are being handled.
“It grieves my heart as a Jamaican, and in many ways it grieves Russell’s heart and it was that heart that gave way, that heart that loved his people, that heart that loved you, his brothers and sisters, who he worked with and who he fought for and this nation that he believed in,” he said.
Father Lewis in his sermon, which was punctuated by several rounds of applause, also accused the media of practising selective reporting.
“The media has become part of the problem…,” he said.
In addition, he said many persons have forsaken their responsibilities as parents and have allowed the media to raise their children.
However, he challenged those in authority to start supporting their words with action and to get on with the business of improving the state of the country.
“God says to us, like Russell, we must fight for what is good, we must fight for what is the truth, we must fight for what is just, we must fight for what is honest, we must fight for what is decent and that fight should not be exercised by some, that fight should be exercised by all and the truth is to be spoken by all,” said Father Lewis.
“You have to stand up today and you have to stand now and if you don’t stand up now, I’m going to say this to you, you see the next time something happens, keep your mouth shut. If you say nothing and you do nothing, you have abdicated your right to say anything. Speak the truth and speak it clearly, cost you what it will, he added.
Captain Capleton died of a heart attack on the night of May 4, a mere four days after his position at Air Jamaica — where he served for 30 years — was made redundant. His body will be cremated.