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No funding, no answer from PM for Baptist holiday

News day / Speaking to Sunday Newsday, Gray-Burke said: “They have not given us any money to celebrate.” Last year, Gray-Burke said the Council of Elders of the Spiritual Shouter Baptists had received some $40,000 from Government towards the occasion.

However, she could not say if any money would be forthcoming.

“I am not complaining. I am going ahead and doing meh business.” The former UNC senator said she had invited Spiritual Shouter Baptist contingents from throughout the Caribbean and North-America to participate in the observances on Thursday.

“I have people coming from Barbados and as far as Maryland and Pakistan,” she said.

Gray-Burke said she had already contracted nine buses to shuttle her guests to and from the Spiritual Shouter Baptist Empowerment Hall in Maloney at a projected cost of some $29,000.

The Baptist leader said her group also has invited Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to the celebration for which he is yet to reply. “We sent him two letters to him. But we not bothering,” she said.

Held annually on March 30, this year’s Liberation Day observances will commemorate the centenary of the 1917 Shouter Baptist Prohibition Ordinance, which had prohibited the activities of members of the faith. The Ordinance was repealed in 1951.

The Spiritual Baptist Shouter Prohibition Ordinance Centenary Commemoration Committee, meanwhile, will also host a celebration at Baptist Boulevard, Maloney, on Thursday. It includes a tribute to the leaders of the faith.

Committee member Reverend Hazel-Ann Gibbs-De Peza said centenary celebrations began last November with a media launch and Sankey Service at City Hall, Port-of-Spain and a Eucharistic service at Holy Mount Zion Spiritual Baptist Cathedral, Longdenville.

She said later this year, on November 18, the committee will host a Freedom March through the streets of Port-of-Spain, and this will be followed by the opening of a spiritual park on November 28 at Baptist Lands, Maloney.

Gibbs-De Peza said prior to the lifting of the Prohibition Ordinance, Baptists had faced untold hardship. “The faith suffered persecution and prosecution on a scale never before or since perpetrated on other citizens of this nation,” said Gibbs-De Peza, a lecturer at the University of Trinidad and Tobago.

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