Bishop John Carrington

Members of the Baptist Church said they spent a “sad” and “oppressed” Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day, “very upset” with how the Tobago House of Assembly’s (THA) immediate past and current Chief Secretaries treat the organisation.

They want financial and other help to finish constructing their faith educational centre at Signal Hill, having already spent more than $2 million.

The organisation heaped praises on former Chief Secretary Orville London for granting the lands in 2006.

In delivering the Liberation Day sermon in Scarborough on Tuesday, Bishop John Carrington of the Mt Bethel Spiritual Baptist Church said: “Tobago’s Baptist is at the brink of the Red Sea and doesn’t know which way to turn.”

His entire sermon focused on the struggles of the organisation in Tobago.

The bishop told the congregation: “We (Baptist) feel like beggars by the rich man’s table waiting for the crumbs to fall. Except no crumbs are falling.

“We are still not accepted in this day and age, but that will change,” he added.

Speaking with Guardian Media after the sermon, the bishop said the church feels “very upset” with Kelvin Charles (immediate past Chief Secretary) and “concerned about” Ancil Dennis.

He said although Charles attended every Liberation Day celebration and publicly pledged financial help, he never met with the organisation privately nor kept his word.

He said when the organisation met Dennis virtually, it felt “hopeful things will change.”

However, since October 2020, Dennis has not responded to further calls, the Bishop alleged.

“We spoke with Mr Dennis, and he promised us he would get in touch with us to deal with the Town and Planning Department approval. All we need from them is a written commitment that the THA would build the road to the centre and give financial assistance.

“I called more times than I could remember, up to last week Thursday we called. The secretary keeps telling us, our messages would be delivered to the Chief Secretary. I feel he is not getting them. Otherwise, he would have called me back,” Carrington told Guardian Media.

The bishop claimed that other religious organisations in Tobago “are getting help as soon as they raise their hands.”

He added: “We continue struggling because of who we are…During the day, we are an outcast, but in the night, we are accepted.”

The bishop explained, “Only when people are in trouble, they seek spiritual help, but they don’t want people to see them coming to us, so they come in the night.”

Guardian Media sought responses from Charles and Dennis on the organisation’s statements, but up to news time, neither replied.