Reverend supports PM’s Dominica call

Interim Rector of the Cathedral Church of Holy Trinity, Reverend Carl Williams, is calling on T&T citizens to reject xenophobia and to open their homes to nationals of Dominica who have been badly affected by Hurricane Maria.

He made the comment in the wake of the negative response from some sectors of society to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s call to citizens to house Dominicans affected by the hurricane for six months as that country seeks to rebuild.

“We should not practise xenophobia but we should practise the caring of strangers,” Williams told the T&T Guardian yesterday, following a Holy Eucharist and Republic Day Service at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Port-of-Spain.

“I am not taking the position of the church, as it is the Bishop that has to do that. This is my personal position. I have also told the congregation that I do not see a reason why they cannot open their homes to Dominicans or people from Barbuda who have been affected.”

Williams said T&T has always been a land of immigrants.

“We all came from some place, whether it is India, Asia, Africa, Europe, we are all immigrants.”

He said he has not spoken to any other religious leaders on the topic but hopes they also share his position.

“The major religions such as the Christian, Jews, Muslims are all followers of the Abrahamic traditions. So it is important that we treat strangers in the same way God expects us to treat those who are suffering.” (See Page A8)

He added: “I implore you to welcome those who come here. Do not worry about resources. God will take care of that.”

Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis also expressed “disappointment” with T&T’s citizens against the idea as she gave the feature address during the service.

“I join with the Prime Minister in expressing our deep disappointment at the many negative comments that have surfaced since his invitation to citizens of T&T to have friends, family or acquaintances in hurricane-ravaged Dominica, to open their hearts and homes to welcome them for an initial period of six months.”

She urged citizens to rise above the “pettiness” of race and religion and open their arms to their regional brothers and sisters.

“We are offering Dominicans an opportunity to enter into the vineyard of T&T to find work, to return to school, to be productive again.”

Despite the economic challenges the country faces, she said some of the economic fundamentals are still strong. She quoted from the Central Statistical Office (CSO) figures which indicates that unemployment stands at four per cent.

Robinson-Regis also noted that next week the Government will turn the sod to begin construction of the Cumuto to Manzanilla Highway, adding many will be waiting to get jobs on that project.

“There are many men and women who diligently go and wait outside construction sites and even in the oil and gas sector, waiting to be hired as casual labour for the next day.”

Article by: Raphael John-Lall

Article extracted from T&T Guardian Published: Monday, September 25, 2017: http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2017-09-24/reject-xenophobia

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