President: We must not lose hope as a nation

Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 12:00

The power and inspirational advocacy of the Spiritual Shouter Baptist Faith to change the world, to make it a better place and to make us better people, must not be lost upon us. In celebrating Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day 2017, we recognise the rights of citizens big and small to practise their religious beliefs in keeping with international fundamental benchmark human rights standards.

It is to our credit as a Nation, that we are far removed from those unjust philosophies of 1917, when Shouter Baptists were prohibited from engaging freely in their religious customs, practices and rituals by way of the Shouters Prohibition Ordinance Legislation. They proudly persevered beyond the ridicule and persecution they suffered. We are eternally grateful to the Spiritual Baptist community for their message of relentless hope.

In our daily lives, we must continue to be inspired by the legacy of the Shouter Baptist Movement. We must make a stand where it is required of us, individually or collectively and in making that stand, we must not be swayed or influenced by the fact that we are not part of the proverbial herd, for very often, a just cause is not a popular one. Much has been wrought in this life by the stance adopted by one person or a group of persons in the face of injustice by the powerful and the elite.

The Shouter Baptist Faith impacted positively in rural districts and in the suburbia of Trinidad and Tobago. I do recall as every young man would, growing up in rural Trinidad and Tobago, the Shouter Baptists preaching the word of God and His beneficence and Hell’s damnation. Those admonitions, as the bells they rang, resonate today, relevant and timely.

We are becoming a Nation drowning in our inhumanity to each other and we must stem that tide of ignominy. It is therefore timely and relevant that we celebrate today, the perseverance and the human resilience of the Spiritual Baptist Community. We must therefore, not lose hope as a Nation in our capacity to get things right and put things right. The Spiritual Baptist Movement has demonstrated, that hope lives eternal.

We often laud the transformational work and struggles of labour icon and national hero Tubal Uriah Buzz Butler. We however, have neither recognized nor fully appreciated, what gave him that inner strength and vision to persevere and hope in the face of his personal persecution by the colonial masters. Tubal Uriah Buzz Bulter’s resolute Spiritual Baptist faith was the impetus in his struggle for social justice and did not make him a reed in the wind.

The revolutionary transformational spirit of the Chief Servant and the labour movement in the 1930s was rooted in great measure, in his profound Spiritual Baptist faith.

Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day celebrates a defining victory in our burgeoning democracy. The Spiritual Shouter Baptist Faith has further demonstrated that a belief in the supremacy of God can progressively propel any Nation.

We must therefore stand proud as a Nation, that we had the strength of character and foresight to correct a wrong of the past. My family and I wish the Shouter Baptist Community  and by extension the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago a happy and blessed Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day 2017 and all God’s blessings."