Lay preachers warned to stay off public buses
KINGSTON — A senior police officer has warned lay preachers who use the Jamaica Urban Transit Company buses for their ministry that they will be prosecuted for breaching the law.
Senior Superintendent Radcliffe Lewis yesterday said preaching on public-passenger vehicles is an offence and persons in breach can be charged with disorderly conduct on a public-passenger vehicle.
“It doesn’t matter who it is, even if you were the pope. With the amount of complaints coming in, Mr. (Hardley) Lewin had no other choice but to take the action him take. He has done the best thing,” Lewis told The Gleaner.
The island’s top traffic cop’s comments come amid a directive from the managing director of the JUTC that preaching would not be allowed on the buses.
“There need not be any debate on the issue,” Lewis said yesterday.
“The law is the law, and you can be charged. I am totally for the ban. You cannot go about disturbing people and annoying them and forcing people to listen to you,” he added.
“Any noise, singing or preaching or playing of any instrument, once you start to disturb the passengers, you can be charged for disorderly conduct on a PPV. I expect that persons who preach should respect the law and respect the rights of other citizens,” Lewis continued.
The senior cop said in the past they had turned a blind eye to the practice, but based on the number of complaints, they would now have to take action against anyone breaching the law.
However, one bus preacher believes that unrighteousness will overtake Jamaica if bus preaching is banned.
“They are trying to shut up the gospel and if they do, the devil will take over Jamaica. What kind of message are we sending to young people?” declared 48-year-old Atchrine Taffe. (Gleaner)