Ruel Reid debacle disappoints church leaders, Christians

Ruel Reid debacle disappoints church leaders, Christians

Observer staff reporter

Monday, March 25, 2019

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MEMBERS of the church community have expressed shock and disappointment at the events surrounding the resignation of former education minister Ruel Reid, who is also a key figure in the church.

The former government senator, a member of the Mona Chapel of the Christian Brethren Assemblies, and well-known voice on their Sunday morning radio programme, was forced to tender his resignation as minister of education, youth and information last Wednesday, following allegations of corruption involving several institutions tied to the ministry.

The scandal was most unexpected by many, especially members of the Christian community.

“There is one word that I’d use to describe what is happening — very disappointing, extremely disappointing and unfortunate for a man of such calibre, of whom the country had such great expectations,” Bishop Alvin Bailey, vice-president of the Jamaica Evangelical Alliance, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

“We never saw it coming at all. Of all the people who could possibly be involved, and the ministry that is involved, we never expected that ministry to be involved. It’s a disappointment, total disappointment, and we are shocked and appalled.”

Dr Henley Morgan, who described himself as Reid’s mentor and professor, said the allegations also came as a surprise to him.

“Every man is innocent, and just based on his character and what I know of him from the past associations, I’d be very surprised [if the allegations are true] ,” he said.

Dr Morgan said other members of the Christian community are similarly surprised.

“You know, the phones are ringing… and [the tone is] one of great surprise. And obviously it comes at a time when the church and church leadership are under some amount of pressure based on so many publicised issues.

But, he said, “There is first of all surprise and shock, but there’s also prayer, because we believe everybody is redeemable, but accountability must be exercised.”

For his part, Reverend Al Miller, senior pastor of Fellowship Tabernacle, said many Christians have found it very concerning that Reid’s name is being called in allegations of impropriety.

“We believe that the man that we have known; we would not have expected anything like this, and if it is so it would be a little disappointing,” he said.

Miller said before passing any judgement he would first like to understand the facts behind the situation as Reid is a very good man who has worked and served the church and the nation.

The Caribbean Maritime University, HEART Trust/NTA, a consultant contracted to raise grant funds for Jamaica from overseas entities, a former Member of Parliament, a close protection officer, and a domestic worker were all the subject of speculation last week as Jamaicans tried to come to grips with the firing of Reid as minister of education, youth and information.

Reid also resigned from the Senate.

In a terse mid-morning release, the Office of the Prime Minister made it clear that Reid’s resignation was requested by his boss, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, but gave no indication of the allegations which had been levelled against him.

Holness provided no further clarity on the allegations during a brief address in the House of Representatives.

But the prime minister told the House that it is important for the country to be assured that the Government sets a standard of accountability that cannot be questioned.

He said after a conversation with Reid on Tuesday, it became clear that he should resign while the State agencies conduct their investigations.

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