Banks can do more amid COVID-19, says pastor

MONTEGO BAY, St James — President of West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (SDA) Pastor Glen Samuels is calling on the banking sector to do more for its customers who are now facing challenges due to the economic fallout brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The clergyman argued that since the banks have earned profits from their customers, now is the time for the sector to bear some of their burden.

“I would, even in this venture, charge the banking industry — I don’t believe they are doing enough to ease the suffering of persons whose money they used to make money,” Pastor Samuels told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.

“I think that the banking industry can do more to reduce their interest rate, to bear some type of the burden themselves, by easing the pressure on the struggling people of this country,” he continued.

Pastor Samuels argued that the pandemic has intensified the suffering of the people.

He said that a number of the members of his church, who work in the tourism industry, have lost their jobs due to the closure of hotels, which have also resulted in a domino effect on industries such as agriculture.

The clergyman, in commending others in the private sector for their efforts, noted that while the church is currently collecting significantly less, it is doing its part.

“We are mindful of the suffering of our people, even while the church is significantly collecting less,” he stressed.

“There are some people who feel that it is all about money-making… Now they understand that the Church, real Church, is about ministering to broken people. It is about sharing with the hungry; it is about hearing the cry of the suffering. And, the Church, for them, is the one who is the good Samaritan that is feeding the hungry,” he insisted.

Samuels noted that over the past month, the SDA church has distributed over $6 million worth of goods to the needy, adding that an additional $5 million worth is to be distributed this weekend.

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