Justice Frank Seepersad and Rev Keron Khellawan walk through aisles of the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Princes Town after the service yesterday.

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Justice Frank Seepersad has called on the relevant authority to consider an act that would adjust the laws in T&T on hate crimes.

Seepersad made the remarks to a small congregation during his pre-Christmas sermon at the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at Princes Town yesterday.

He said that many times the conversation starts within our homes.

He added that the first arm of defense is to ask for forgiveness; forgiveness to self and from others.

Parishioners nodded their heads in approval during Seepersad’s declaration.

He said: “It may also be advisable for us to consider the enactment of hate regulation laws so as to declare, with certainty that there is no room in this Republic for speech or conduct which, inter alia, belittles, offends or discriminates against a fellow citizen on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political persuasion or disability. We have the power to effect change but we must harness the commitment to engage the required course of action.”

Seepersad continued, “Within our homes, the stress of the pandemic has taken its toll and many have become so unnerved and unravelled that they may be acting out against their loved ones.”

Speaking on the Christmas holiday and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Seepersad urged citizens to take the vaccine as the best way to defeat the virus.

Seepersad said, “This Christmas, as it was last year, is going to be different. We continue to be at war with COVID-19. Let us remember that a brighter, healthier, and safer season and new year requires us to act responsibly and we must get vaccinated. There are many unknowns but the international statistics positively demonstrate that vaccination offers strong protection against serious illness and hospitalisation. We all need to survive this pandemic…”

He noted that next year as we celebrate the 60th Independence and the 45th anniversary as a Republic T&T has not forged a national identity.

Seepersad said we do not know what it is to be a “Trinbagonian.”

“Instead we hold on to classifications of race, class and, political affiliation and we view each other with distrust. Consequently, we have not utilised our talents or our resources in a constructive manner to build a strong, unified and united nation,” Seepersad said.

He said the Christmas story; the birth of baby Jesus to Joseph and Mary was the perfect example to embrace change and forgiveness. He said we need to set aside hurtful comments and discard the positions of partisanship and replace the attitudes of distrust and forgive each other for all past failures.