|Candidates join in prayers for peace
|By Olivia Campbell Observer staff reporter
Monday, October 14, 2002
|Colin Campbell (left), the incumbent People's National Party candidate for Eastern St Andrew, chats with church members of the Church of the Ascension in Mona Heights, after yesterday's morning service.|
A number of candidates contesting the October 16 general elections yesterday attended church services islandwide to pray for peaceful polls.
However, president of the ruling People's National Party (PNP), P J Patterson and leader of the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Edward Seaga, were busy campaigning in western Jamaica and were unable to attend services.
With little fanfare, and with family members close by, candidates stopped campaigning for a few hours to join in the prayer for peace.
At the Church of the Ascension in Mona Heights, St Andrew, Colin Campbell, the minister of information and incumbent PNP candidate for Eastern St Andrew, worshipped at the 8:00 am service.
"This is my regular church; I don't get to come as often as I wish I could, but I think it's particularly important right now as we need the prayer to make it through these elections peacefully," said Campbell as he greeted church members, some of whom are also his constituents.
Campbell and his Jamaica Labour Party opponent, St Aubyn Bartlett, will run for the Eastern St Andrew seat. That constituency includes the communities of Mountain View Avenue, August Town, Backbush and Hermitage, all of which have had incidents of violence reported in the past few weeks.
|The Jamaica Labour Party's Karl Samuda, incumbent candidate for North Central St Andrew greets a member of the congregation at yesterday's service at St Richard's Catholic Church. (Photos: John Nicholson)|
Bartlett attended the 9:00 am mass at Sts Peter and Paul Church in Liguanea, and afterwards called on "all the people who are law-abiding citizens" to "stand up and be counted" and do their part in ensuring that the senseless violence comes to an end.
The JLP candidate also called on the security forces to establish a "buffer-zone" between warring factions in the Mountain View area, explaining that "if (the police) are between the two groups, then the peace can definitely be maintained, but there really does need to be a strong security presence here".
In Half-Way-Tree, Rev Al Miller, the New Jamaica Alliance candidate for Eastern St Andrew, led his regular congregation in the 7:30 am service at the Fellowship Tabernacle, where he preached for peace.
Candidates contesting the North Central Andrew seat, another constituency with communities prone to violence, also attended church yesterday morning.
Barbara Clarke of the PNP and Karl Samuda of the JLP both attended mass at St Richard's of Chichester Catholic Church on Red Hills Road. Clarke went to the 7:00 am mass and Samuda at 10:30 am.