The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding, announced that Dr. Patrick Linton Allen, the president of West Indies Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, will become the new governor general of Jamaica.
Elizabeth Lechleitner at the Adventist News Network explains:
Appointed by Elizabeth II, Allen will serve as the queen’s direct representative in Jamaica on ceremonial occasions, such as the opening of parliament and the presentation of state honors, according to the Jamaica Information Service. While the role is non-political, Jamaica’s constitution does allow the governor-general to appoint and oversee officers of civil service.
Allen said his Adventist faith would “undergird” his new role. “Any decisions I make will be cast in justice, equity and compassion,” he said.
Restorative justice is one area Allen said he expects to devote considerable attention to, working within Jamaica’s justice system to mediate between perpetrators and victims. Allen said he shared Adventist world church president Jan Paulsen’s commitment to social justice and would commit his “leadership and influence” to emphasizing human rights and community involvement in his new role.
The office of the world church president released a statement this afternoon congratulating Allen on his appointment. “We pray for God’s continued blessing as he carries out his new civic responsibilities,” the statement said.
Calling the appointment “historic,” president of the church for Inter-America, Israel Leito, said the queen’s choice of Allen reflected the Adventist Church’s respected presence in Jamaica. Nearly one in every 12 people in the country is Adventist, and the church is noted for its involvement in the community and collaboration with government efforts to quell crime.
On the issue of separating church and state and bias, according to the Jamaica Gleaner, Allen says, “You will appreciate that where I now work I have been able to maintain the unity of the Church by relating to both Government and Opposition without partiality, since our members support both parties.”
An activist pastor, Allen has repeatedly called for the Church to address issues such as HIV/AIDS,child and spousal abuse, teenage pregnancy, crime and violence and unemployment.
He has expressed deep concern over the state of crime and violence in Jamaica while calling for church members and other persons of goodwill to use their influence to put an end to those “ungodly” acts.
The incoming head of state has also expressed confidence that his Adventist affiliation will not affect his ability to conduct the job as governor general.
“I know that everyone knows my religious persuasion. That will not hinder me from giving my best service. Fortunately for us, we live in a nation that respects religious liberty. No GG has ever been able to attend all social functions but the constitutional roles will be conducted to the satisfaction of the nation,” Allen added.
Patrick Linton Allen CD, PhD, JP
Born Feb 7, 1951 in Fruitful Vale, Portland, to Ferdinand and Christiana Allen, farmer and housewife, respectively.
Married to Denise Patricia Beckford, July 20, 1975; has three children – Kurt, Candice, David.
Pastored 20 churches; board member of several companies, organisations, public bodies.
Fruitful Vale All-Age School, Portland
Moneague College, St Ann
1998: Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA – PhD – educational administration and supervision
1986: Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA – MA, systematic theology
1985: Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA BA – history and religion
Water Valley All-Age School, St Mary, 1972-76
1976 to 1983: principal, Robins Bay All-Age, Hillside Primary and Port Maria High School, St Mary
1986-91: Central Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
1990-93: Director of education and family life – West Indies Union of Seventh-day Adventists.
1991-93: Adjunct professor, West Indies College, now Northern Caribbean University (NCU)
1993-94: Substitute teacher (Benton Harbour, Michigan, USA).
1996-98: Assistant registrar, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA
2000-present: President, West Indies Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists