PM calls on Spiritual Baptists to help in fight against crime

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Spiritual Baptists rejoice during celebrations hosted by People’s National Movement, at Balisier House,
Tranquility Street, Port of Spain on March 23. – Photo by Roger Jacob

The Prime Minister is calling on the Spiritual Shouter Baptist community to help end the threat of crime and violence in Trinidad and Tobago.

“I want to say to you, the Spiritual Baptists, as I call out to parents across the nation, to try and break the cycle of what is happening now by paying attention to raising your children. If there is anything you can teach the people of Trinidad and Tobago, you the Spiritual Baptist, you can teach the people how to raise their children with moral and spiritual values.”

Speaking at the PNM Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day Celebrations at Balisier House, Port of Spain, he said as one of the best examples of overcoming challenges, they could call on citizens to take some personal responsibility to make a change and to encourage youths to appreciate opportunities available to them.

PM Rowley said the Spiritual Baptists were oppressed by the State until a ban on the religion was repealed in 1951. So it was right that the State paid that debt to them in the form of government assistance to help them lift themselves up, which was promised in 2020.

He said that assistance was supposed to be a $20 million grant and land in Balmain, Couva. He said the reason they got only half of the money was because they were more divided than together so it seemed unlikely they could have an institutional structure.

“The Cabinet said we will give you assistance of $10 million and some land in Balmain and see what you will do with it. I’m pleased to receive the invitation today to come down and officiate in opening a structure because you have built the headquarters in Balmain.”

Wasafoli Cultural Dance group during their performance at the Spiritual Baptist Day celebrations hosted by People’s National Movement, at Balisier House, Port of Spain on March 23. – Photo by Roger Jacob

He said the Spiritual Baptists built a headquarters and car park in Balmain and had plans drawn up for a cathedral, and they received ten acres of land in Rivulet Road, Couva, for a memorial ground. As a result, the government was prepared to do more for them.

“It is the first time I have heard from a patriarch that the Spiritual Baptists are not scattered all over the place because they want to be leaders in every community but because they want to be evangelists in every community…I intend to ask the Cabinet, at the next session, having got confirmation that you have made full use of the first half, to get you the second half.”

He also mentioned that Caricom had another meeting on the situation in Haiti on Saturday to try to find a way to improve the existence of its people.

He said Haitians were oppressed as the Spiritual Baptists were oppressed except the Haitians were enslaved and fought with blood and iron for their freedom.

But instead of getting help, they had to pay reparations to their oppressors.”