As the Spiritual Baptist community prepares to celebrate their holiday on Tuesday, in commemoration of 70 years of the repealing of the 1917 Shouter Prohibition Ordinance that banned the activities of their faith, they can now acknowledge the day knowing that they are one step closer to getting a major place of worship to call their own.
“As you know, the Government has granted lands to the Spiritual Baptists in Couva for the construction of a grand cathedral and those plans are well afoot,” People’s National Movement La Horquetta/Talparo MP Foster Cummings said during a Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation celebration outside his office at the HDC Village Plaza Carpark, Phase 2, La Horquetta, on Thursday.
“The first time in history that the Baptists will have lands dedicated to the burial of the dead.”
In 2019, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley granted state lands in Couva for the Spiritual Baptist community to build a cathedral and memorial. One year later, he announced that Cabinet had approved ten million dollars to the faith to assist with construction.
On Thursday, Cummings announced that a consultant has been hired by the faith’s national congress and that plans have been submitted to Town and Country for approval. He said a fund has also been established.
“As soon as those plans are approved the construction will commence,” he said.
Cummings said the project which Spiritual Shouter Baptists have been rallying for over the years will give them a headquarters to operate and will improve the structure of the faith.
Archbishop Barbara Gray-Burke agreed with Cummings’ view about the new home for Baptists. The long-standing UNC supporter said she would put politics aside to ensure her brothers and sisters get what they deserve.
“I didn’t say I not going here, I went with Mr Basdeo Panday because I tell myself anybody giving me my holiday, I am going for it …he, in turn, give us a national holiday that whether you are Jew, Syrian, Greek or what we all can celebrate, so anyway they tell me to come I am coming,” Gray-Burke said.
“Together again praising the lord, we are together again in one accord,” she sang.
Gray-Burke pleaded with fellow Baptists to ensure that they do not lose their holiday or obstruct their worship. She said initially, she wanted a secondary school but if Baptists want a cathedral, then she supported that.
“My heart was for education …So hurry up, build the people cathedral, so long I hearing about cathedral. I want to jump up in it, I want to go there before I dead,” she said.
Cummings said it was the first time he had heard about Gray-Burke’s call for a school but said he remained open for discussions.