Monday 18, November-2002
Speaking at a special multi-faith service at Sherbourne Conference Centre yesterday evening that brought together almost every single faith in the island, Reverend Dr Monrelle Williams told the congregation, which included Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands and Prime Minister Owen Arthur, that if “we are to confront the ills that face us in this community and truly have something to celebrate, we must do so as religious people united and together”.
Chief Justice Sir David Simmons and Cabinet ministers Reginald Farley, Liz Thompson, Rawle Eastmond, Rommell Marshall and Ronald Toppin were on hand to hear Williams say there was a need for some system in which young school-leavers with no qualifications be placed in a programme to improve themselves.
“This might not be a politically attractive idea but it is indeed a practical way of seeking to respond to what is fast becoming a crisis in this nation. The idea of a compulsory national youth service has been mooted many times before and perhaps it is time to revisit it as we witness the decline in terms of our young people in this nation.
“By all means, let us celebrate, but let us realise where we are weak and seek to become strong. Let us recognise that there are areas in which we are still in the dark and seek to come into the light,” he said.
The afternoon featured a sterling rendition of the Lord’s Prayer from songbird Paula Hinds and a recitation of the National Pledge from members of the Pathfinders and Church Lads Brigade. There was also a welcome from the Moravian Church, along with prayers and readings from the Hindu and the Jewish communities, the Barbados Muslim Association, Salvation Army, Seventh-Day Adventists, the Barbados Inter-Religious Organisation, the Bahai of Barbados, Quantum Agape Sanctum and the Raja Yoga Centre.
There was also a benediction from Anglican Bishop Dr John Holder, an opening prayer by Roman Catholic priest Harcourt Blackett, and presentation of the national flag by the Girl Guides.
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