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Kamla Persad Bissessar

The Spiritual Baptist Community has shown us how hope, courage, determination and unity can triumph over any challenge; let us unite to overcome the challenges ahead

As we join in celebrating Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day, this vibrant and thriving community is an example of resilience, triumph, and hope in the face of overwhelming odds.

The strength and faithfulness of the Baptist community continue to provide me with motivation and the drive to keep going even when I feel disheartened, and we should all be inspired by their commitment and dedication.

Their survival in the face of unjust Government oppression during the prohibition years by the Colonial Authorities is a true testament to their determination. From 1917 to 1951, for 34 years the Spiritual Baptist faith was banned in Trinidad. But, they endured, and after many hardships and persistent efforts, they gained the freedom to practice their faith.

I am proud to be part of a political party that took a central role in righting this wrong by granting the Baptist community an official holiday in 1996 on the anniversary of the repeal of the “Shouters Prohibition Ordinance.”

Then again under my Government, the completion of their very own school in 2012. Thank you to the Baptist community for inspiring us all with your continued strength and resilience.

This year, as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are again unable to celebrate as we have done in past years.

I know this is difficult, and even though we may grow weary of the measures we have followed since the start of the pandemic, remember why we are doing this and why it is important – to protect your health and that of your families. I urge everyone to continue to be responsible and do your part to prevent the spread of the virus.

Today, as we face trying times and challenges in our nation, let us take inspiration from the struggle of the Spiritual Baptist community, and work together to overcome the hardship, suffering, and challenges posed by the pandemic.

But even as we continue to do our part in this health crisis, we must also tackle the other pressing issues that hamper our progress – inequality, high unemployment, crime, and limited opportunities for our young people.

These challenges can be overcome, and with the strength, determination, and indomitable spirit of our people, we will prevail over this crisis and emerge stronger and more united.

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:

The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Numbers 6:24-26