Current Affairs

Current Affairs




I'm not here for any political party -- Farrakhan
Farrakhan tells press to probe leaders
Observer Reporter
Thursday, March 21, 2002



Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, speaking at a news conference at the Hilton Kingston Hotel shortly after his arrival in Jamaica yesterday for a five-day visit. (Photo: John Nicholson)

LOUIS Farrakhan, the leader of America's Nation of Islam, made clear yesterday that his visit to Jamaica was not to support any political party and told the press that it should keep a close inspection of those in leadership, exposing the things they would seek to hide.

"The more you put light on the things that light needs to be shed on, the more you increase the awareness of the population and the more that population will vote their self-interest," Farrakhan said at a press conference shortly after he arrived in Jamaica for a five-day visit.

"You must always be willing to search out not what is said from the exalted position but ... to see what is behind the thing and expose it," he added. "If we have nothing to hide we should not mind your close inspection."

Farrakhan is on his sixth visit to Jamaica, invited by a group of Jamaican Muslims. He will give two major speeches -- Friday night at a $5,000 a plate dinner at Le Meridien Jamaica Pegasus Hotel and Sunday at the National Arena where the entrance fee will be $500.

The proceeds of the events, the sponsors say, will go towards Boys' Town, the Kingston home and school for boys, and a health fund for Danielle Henry, a young girl who needs expensive medical treatment abroad.

But before his arrival there were suggestions from some quarters that Farrakhan's presence was to support the campaign of the ruling People's National Party ahead of general elections -- a claim that was dismissed by the PNP. They had no involvement whatsoever in the visit, the party's general-secretary, Maxine Henry-Wilson, said.

In fact, Farrakhan, whose message espouses black upliftment, will meet both Prime Minister P J Patterson and Opposition Leader Edward Seaga. He is likely to tell them about his concern about Jamaica's divisive politics.

"... If it were made to appear that I came here to aid one party against another, that would discredit my presence and it would severely limit me from the spiritual underpinning of the theme -- out of many, one," he told reporters.

The Black Muslim minister said that he was affected by the reports of "a spate of blood-letting on this island" at elections and stressed that Jamaicans should understand that "politics is the art and science of the government to support the principles upon which life is based".

"... Anytime we get so embroiled politically that another human being's life means nothing to us, then there is something wrong with our understanding of the art and science of government, when we will allow death and destruction to accompany our desire for political power," Farrakhan said.

He added: "I may be wrong, but I do not think that politics should be the means of splitting up families or sentencing one another to disapproval and disrespect simply because we have a different viewpoint."