Employees of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) along with family members of missing co-worker Michael Roberts, yesterday (Jan. 4) came together in worship and prayer at a vigil held at the agency’s head office on Half-Way Tree Road in Kingston.
They were in a sombre mood as they sang choruses, prayed and lit candles for the printer/pressman, whose image was prominently displayed on a screen during the two-hour long vigil.
Held in the agency’s main car park, the event sought to attract the attention of the public in providing any information about Mr. Roberts, who has been missing since Wednesday, December 16, 2009 and to place focus on the problem of missing persons in Jamaica.
Chief Executive Officer at the JIS, Mrs. Donna-Marie Rowe, urged members of the public with any information regarding the disappearance of Mr. Roberts to come forward.
Mother of missing Jamaica Information Service (JIS) employee Michael Roberts, Barbara Samuels (right) joins Chief Executive Officer of JIS, Donna Marie Rowe; Chief State Liaison, Ian Boyne; and Acting Special Projects Manager, Latoya Crossman, in lighting candles during a prayer vigil held yesterday (Jan. 4) at the JIS’ head office on Half-Way Tree Road in Kingston.
“We also want to mobilise anyone watching that any help that you can give, any information that you can give that will help us to find our friend, our colleague Michael Roberts, we need you to give that help now,” Mrs. Rowe said.
“We want you to know that Michael is very special to us. His press is not running now because he is not here and we can hardly find someone to work his press and that goes to show how valuable he was to us. Michael touched everybody’s life here at JIS. He is very kind and jovial and always put a smile on our faces,” she added.
Mrs. Rowe further added that the agency will play its part in “turning around the country from this horror that has come so close to home to us.”
In the meantime, Paul Roberts described his brother as a humble and quiet person, who “does not give any trouble”. He said that the family is hurting. “Up until now, nobody can come to terms with it (his disappearance),” Mr. Roberts said.
“He hasn’t troubled anybody as Michael is a quiet person. If he is at home he always finds something to do. What surprise me the most is when I call and get voice mail, I said no something is not right, because his phone definitely not on. When JIS called and asked what happen to Michael, I knew something wasn’t right as Michael wouldn’t miss his job for nothing,” he stated.
Paul Roberts appeals for information about his missing brother, Michael Roberts, during a prayer vigil held at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) head office on Half -Way Tree Road in Kingston on Monday (Jan. 4).
He thanked the JIS for keeping his brother’s disappearance in the public domain and made an appeal for persons with information to call and speak to the police.
“We thank the staff and everybody else at JIS. We really, really thank you for the effort and the only thing we are asking for is that the people that is responsible and know where Michael is to just give us the information. You do not have to call any name, just give up the information and we will do the rest from there,” Mr. Roberts stated.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Sonia James Thompson, in the meantime, said that once someone is missing a report should be made immediately to the police. “It is important to note that we do not allow a 24-hour waiting period which, I realise, is still the commonly held view, but it is incorrect. It must be reported immediately and the police will begin their investigations”.
Parish Overseer for the Church of God of Prophecy in St. Catherine, Bishop Junior Headlam, in offering words of encouragement, said that good will triumph over evil.
“We live in a society where we have become a people who see no evil, hear no evil or speak no evil and we are beginning to realise that evil that seemed so far from us is beginning now to come into each and every one of our homes,” he said.
Mother of missing Jamaica Information Service (JIS) employee Michael Roberts, Barbara Samuels (centre), and sister Wynette Brown (left) join staff of the JIS at a prayer vigil held at the JIS’ head office on Half -Way Tree Road in Kingston on Monday (Jan. 4).
He added that family members and friends are hurting as they do not know where their loved ones are.
“Perhaps, it’s even worse than death, seeing that when someone dies and you know you can be able to begin to bring closure, but in these kinds of situations, people are tortured because there is no answer to the myriad of questions that fill their minds,” Bishop Headlam said.
“(However), we must not allow situations to push us back; we must not allow the negative situations in our society to define for us the kind of response that we must have, but rather, we must believe with our heart and we must be totally convinced that good must triumph over evil,” he added.
When last seen on December 16, Mr. Roberts was wearing a blue shirt, camouflage pants and a Santa Claus hat. Persons with information are being asked to contact the Spanish Town Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) at 984-9757 or telephone 119.
Mr. Roberts, also known as ‘Lucky’, resides at 17 Kavita Crescent in Duncan’s Pen, Spanish Town, St. Catherine.