Peace and security: Government has collaborated and cooperated with the Church

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, December 10, 2018 (PLP PR Media Inc.) — The Federal Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has in the last three years made a pointed effort to collaborate and cooperate with the church for the country to have a restoration of the peace and the security among its people.

Immaculate Conception Co-Cathedral Joint Choir singing a Christmas Carol at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

Senior Minister and Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs, the Hon Vance Amory, made the remarks on Sunday evening December 9, at East Independence Square in Basseterre, at a ceremony held to mark the 4th annual Christmas tree lighting organised by the Immaculate Conception Co-Cathedral.

In his remarks, Senior Minister Amory noted that citizens of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis which became a Nation under God, as enshrined in its Constitution in 1983, have placed God at the centre of our Nationhood.

“This context enables us to freely collaborate and cooperate with the church which has the role of custodian and the role to proclaim the Word of God – to proclaim the light of the world, to make our communities much more meaningful for us, and much more peaceful,” observed Hon Amory. “We therefore want our people, as they see this Christmas tree once it has been lighted, to not just see it as a decoration but see it in all of its deeper spiritual meaning.”

The towering Christmas tree was blessed by Father Lawrence Malama before Governor General His Excellency Sir Tapley Seaton flipped the switch to turn on its lights. The ceremony was also attended by Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris. Others present included Minister of Public Infrastructure et al, the Hon Ian Patches Liburd, AG the Hon Vincent Byron and Mrs Byron, Minister of State for Health Senator the Hon Wendy Phipps, and Cabinet Secretary Mrs Josephine Huggins.

As the country prepares to usher in the Christmas season, Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs the Hon Vance Amory advised: “At this Christmas time, as we commemorate the coming of Jesus Christ and the Light of the World, as we make merry and as we enjoy family and friends and all of the entertainment which occurs at this time, let us not lose sight of the deeper meaning of Christmas.”

Master of ceremonies, Mr Leon Bullen, said in his remarks: “Welcome to the 4th Christmas tree lighting ceremony. It is indeed a pleasure to have you here with us to celebrate the Yuletide season and to celebrate most importantly the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and to bring in the Christmas season properly.”

According to Mr Bullen, the Christmas tree lighting ceremony was put on by the Catholic Church and had representation from the Christian Council with one of its members Pastor Ronald Taylor offering the invocation. He noted and welcomed the representation by Governor General, Prime Minister and other members of the Government.

“The official lighting of the Christmas tree in Independence Square is symbolic of the beginning of Christmas,” noted Mr Bullen. “We do this every year at this time of the year, but what the government did differently this year is that they are lighting up the other trees (in the Square). Normally it is just the Christmas tree at Independence Square that is lighted but all the other trees are brightly lighted. So this was different this year in that there is a lot more colour in the Square.”

Giving brief remarks, Minister of Public Infrastructure the Hon Ian Patches Liburd told the gathering that on instructions from Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris his Ministry had gone all around the country lighting it up. When it came to the turn of Basseterre they focused on Independence Square where the Catholic Church has a programme every year, and that they decided to work with the church.

“I really must commend the Catholic Church and the other churches and also the Christian Council for continuing to perform this good deed, and I understand from the chairman, it is the fourth year,” said Minister Liburd. “As a ministry we decided to augment this programme by providing some lights and as I said, the lights are up.”

In his conclusion the Hon Liburd stated: “Tonight I submit though that in the context of the Bible, light is a symbol of God, and His children. It is a symbol of faith and it is a symbol of truth and righteousness. In this yuletide season we can add: it is a symbol of love. So in my view it is also a symbol of protection because somewhere in the Bible it says ‘the Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear’.”

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