SASHA WILSON AND KEVON FELMINE
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Kamla: I am a woman of my word
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has offered to build a secondary school for the Spiritual Shouter Baptist community but in the same breath she said this cannot not be achieved without their “help” in securing her a second term in office.
Persad-Bissessar, who was dressed in an elaborate red and gold outfit with matching headwrap, made the comments at Spiritual Baptist celebrations held at the Empowerment Hall in Maloney yesterday. She told the large gathering that the People’s Partnership Government was willing to build the secondary school but at the same time “one hand could not clap.”
“There is nothing in this world that can lift you and your children in a way that education can. We didn’t just give you a primary school but also an early childhood centre as well. So you got two schools in one go.
“God’s willing we will partner together to do what next you want which is your secondary school. Will you help me to build that school? Do you want a secondary school for your children? Because everybody else has it. Are we children then of a lesser God that the children of our faith must not have a school? And that is why today I commit to you with your help...that today I commit to you but one had cannot clap. We need the both hands so let us put the two hands together as partners.”
Persad-Bissessar said she was also willing to work with the Spiritual Baptist elders to present drawing plans and scope of work to the education ministry so that the secondary school could be a reality. “It is coming, for I am a woman of my word, and all my promises to serve the great people of our nation, I make sure to deliver,” Persad-Bissessar said. But while making the pledge Persad-Bissessar said she was not talking politics but rather of faith and of brethren and sistren.
“We can work together to build a better nation and were every creed found an equal place so we cannot be children of a lesser God because we are Spiritual Baptist.” Persad-Bissessar, who likened herself to “one” of the Spiritual Baptist community, said it was the first time the faith had “a person of you and from you in the highest office of this land as prime minister.”
“You may say I don’t look like you but I tell you the blood that flows from my veins is the red blood and I am a child of God as you as all children of God,” Persad-Bissessar said. Describing the Spiritual Baptist holiday as one is one of the most significant holidays in this country the Prime Minister said it was not only a day of religious dedication, but also a day to celebrate T&T unique capacity to demonstrate tolerance, respect, equality and love for everyone.
“I note too that this year’s celebrations takes place in the Holy week of the Christians, the week of Easter, when our Lord Jesus Christ was preparing for the ultimate sacrifice for humankind, to give his life on the Cross for our salvation, and I remember the crosses we all had to bear as individuals and a people, and how our deep faith in our God’s goodness and glory have never failed to see us through.”
She said T&T would be the only country in the world to celebrate a public holiday for the Spiritual Baptist faith but next year would also be the only country globally to have three State schools for this faith.
Spiritual Shouter Baptist Archbishop Barbara Gray-Burke, who echoed Persad-Bissessar’s sentiments, called on members of her faith not to be ungrateful to the People’s Partnership. She said followers had endured a long, difficult struggle adding that even in the days of former prime minister Eric Williams the Shouter Baptist community was not recognised.
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When approached by members of the media for further comments on the secondary school, Persad-Bissessar simply waved and entered her waiting car. She also did not respond to questions whether she would be firing Minister of State in the Ministry of the People and Social Development Vernella Alleyne-Toppin who claimed in the Parliament that Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley was a child of rape.
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