Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 30th 2015 Contents A24
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, June 30, 2015
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ve been Catholic all my life but for
the first time I m on the edge of a
change. My mother, while Catholic
on paper, never went to church with me
while I was growing up. Her own moth-
er had insisted we children be baptised
and raised Catholic, but mummy
dressed us and sent us to church with-
out crossing the church doorstep herself.
It is through my grandmother s influ-
ence that I got most of my churching;
she lived mere blocks from St Therese s
RC, Malick, where I was baptised, made
my First Communion and was con-
firmed. I was first wed and baptised my
own first child there too.
But it was also through my grand-
mother s influence that I was exposed to
the Spiritual Baptist church, which I
hope to join soon.
Despite the fact that she insisted on
all her grandchildren being raised
Catholic, my grandmother was a Mother
in the Baptist church. By the time I was
a teenager she had converted a room in
her house to a chapel and every
Wednesday I had to go there for prayer
While growing up, the smell of
incense and Kananga water defined holi-
ness---not merely religion---for me.
The clanging of the big brass hand-
bell in a Baptist service meant as much
as the tinkling altar bell rung at the
consecration in the Catholic mass.
I have venerated Baptists in my writ-
ing all my life; they appear in my poetry
and my plays as well as my journalism.
I certainly am not surprised that I am
making this change now.
Why now? After many, many years of
service to the Catholic Church in
Trinidad, and while still feeling a deep
sense of belonging there, I feel a pro-
found call to become a Baptist.
Interestingly, my decision has little to
do with my conflicted feelings about
Yes, as a feminist I am pro-choice and
reject the church s stance on the impos-
sibility of ordaining woman priests.
Yes, as a Caribbean person I decry the
church s historical role in the decimation
of the indigenous people of the region
and in propping up slavery.
Yes, as a mother and a thinking
human I am appalled at the church s
most recent history of complicity with
A little part of me also finds offensive
the ostentation of the church, its rituals
and regalia. Yet, another part of me also
finds those same things very beautiful
Last year when I went to Scotland the
beauty of the restored St Andrew s
Cathedral awed me with its magnificent
gold interior, as much as the clay bas-
relief Stations of the Cross designed by
Sybil Atteck for St Therese s awed me as
Catholic church music holds a special
place in my heart.
Since I was 12 and madly in love with
Scott O Garo, a handsome baritone in
the St Therese s folk choir, I ve been in
church choirs singing How I have
Longed and Here I am, Lord.
I can still remember Scott s velvety
sweet voice belting out the Mawasi
Experience s triumphant Call to Praise:
"O Creator! Loving and tender! Praise
Him! Love Him! Thank Him forever!"
I have given much service to the
church---though probably not as much
as I could have.
follow my grandmother s footsteps into
the Baptist church.
I have many questions. I don t know
much about Baptist dogma beyond what
I picked up as a child. I know only a
few Baptist songs.
And I m very, very shy about
attempting to perform "Baptist doption"
in public. These are small barriers but
What will happen when I go to
mourning ground, the ritual of prayer
and fasting every Baptist must under-
take on joining the church? I am both
excited and frightened to find out.
When I was little a Baptist leader gave
me a white rose that had been used in a
ceremony to bless our house. It wasn t a
casual gesture, or at least it didn t feel
like that to me.
I remember him looking me dead in
the eye as he handed it to me. It felt
I asked a Baptist lady many years later
what it could have meant. "Maybe," she
said, "you have a work to do."
Maybe I do. Maybe I don t. Either
way I have to find out.
It is really strange that 'holier than thou' Dr
Keith Rowley is very silent on Jack Warner
and the damning issues surrounding him both
locally and internationally.
Jack Warner, who dined with kings, queens,
princes and princesses and other world leaders,
who was the most travelled human being, with
a damaged image, now is suddenly close to
Warner, whose overflowing financial issues
are now under intense scrutiny by all financial
and legal departments globally, yet Rowley
finds the time to strut around and parade with
him without a care in the world.
Jack Warner's madman's rantings and blab-
berings of wrongdoings of the Prime Minister
and others seems to be of no interest to holier
than thou Rowley.
The image of the country is being tested yet
Rowley meets and greets Warner with love
oblivious to what is happening.
Why is Rowley so silent?
Is it that Jack Warner seems to have taped
all conversations he has had with all in leader-
ship positions over the last 20 years or so?
What conversation may be taped by Warner
that Rowley does not want exposed?
Was a deal made recently that Rowley
wants kept secret or is there something from
Warner for sure, and time will tell.
As the saying goes, rumours of the death of
the trade union movement are greatly exag-
gerated. The contrived fracas at Fyzabad is an-
other instance of the movement reinventing
itself, as any living organism must, in order to sur-
vive in today's dog-eat-dog world.
The large contingent of police officers present
at that venue on Labour Day is evidence of pro-
active thinking by the police. Even though Wat-
son Duke and NATUC were given police
permission to march along a different route, the
police clearly anticipated that grandstanding
Duke would have disobeyed police directives and
created a confrontation which he was sure to
The movement has outgrown such childish dis-
plays but Duke will do anything to keep himself in
the limelight. Trade unions are about serious busi-
ness and not just the rights of its members as
many people would like to believe.
Fyzabad is a public place and anyone can go
there, but the OWTU stage was set up with offi-
cial police sanction and only authorised persons
had the right to mount it. Anyone doing so with-
out permission is trespassing and can be forcibly
Had Duke gone there and conducted himself
peaceably, his presence could have been tolerated.
However, once he created a disturbance he be-
came a threat to public order and had to be re-
moved for maintenance of the peace.
In such circumstances, he would be wasting his
members' money by exploring options for legal
action in the matter.
LISA ALLEN AGOSTINI
CALLED BY THE BAPTISTS' BELL
Rowley's silence deafening
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