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High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Her Excellency Aloun N’dombet-Assamba, has urged the church to support the lobby by Jamaica and other Caribbean countries for the region to be re-banded under the British Government’s Airline Passenger Duty (APD) tax regime.

Speaking recently at the convention for the Church of God of Prophecy in London, the High Commissioner said the church can be an important lobby for change in society.

“The church can be a powerful lobby for change; and your support is important on issues, like the lobby currently underway to have Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean re-banded under the Airline Passenger Duty (APD) tax regime,” she argued.

Mrs. N’dombet-Assamba said implementation of the APD has contributed to increased air travel costs to the Caribbean. The lobby, which has moved into a second phase, is seeking to have the region placed in the same band as the United States, thus reducing the tax rate and making the implementation of this tax more equitable.

“The issue of the APD will be one of the topics that the UK delegation will discuss at the upcoming Jamaica Diaspora Conference, to be held in Montego Bay from June 16 to 19,” the High Commissioner noted.

She said, historically, the church has played a very central role in the social development of Jamaica, adding that in the United Kingdom the church provided ‘safe havens’ to many early settlers from the Caribbean.

“In the United Kingdom, churches like the Church of God of Prophecy have been an appreciated safe haven to many of the early Jamaican and other Caribbean settlers who were made to feel unwelcome in some of the established churches,” she added.

The High Commissioner also urged the Church to become more involved in the political system.

“If you are not at the table, then decisions that can impact your life, and your community, will be taken without your input,” she said.

Contact: Vivienne Siva