AS I write this letter Sir, I pray that you are in good health and is very focus on the job and task which is ahead of you. I wish to let you know that you and your Government are in my prayers and the prayers of the congregation I give leadership to. Sir, I pen this letter in light of what is currently happening in our island nation with the rise of the positive cases of the COVID-19 pandemic on a daily basis and the Ministry of Health and the government response to the same. I acknowledge Mister Prime Minister that you have a tremendous task on your hand in trying to bring the pandemic under control, while at the same time ensuring that the economic life of the country continues. I acknowledge there are many mouths to be fed and the government has the responsibility to ensure that they are fed. However, sir, as a Minister of Religion who is part of a larger Christian Religious Organization in the island, the Caribbean and the world and give leadership to a reasonably size assembly there are a few matters which brings concern to my mind.
First of all, as a Man of the Bible, I have come to realize that every great leader or every leader whom the Bible said did well in the eyes of the Lord, surrounded themselves with men and women of God (Priest, Prophet). They seek and receive counsel from them on important and difficult matters pertaining to the state. Whenever they received it, God always gave them a way out of their situation.
Secondly, listening to the news of Friday 13th November, 2020, and upon hearing some statements by you Mister Prime Minister, I became a little confused as to whether any credible religious or spiritual leader had any input in the decisions which you took and was aired in the media. Sir, I heard you said no weddings. My question is, “is it that anyone should not get married within that space of time or are you talking about the reception that people hold after the wedding ceremony?” The two are not the same. If a man engaged his fiancé and travelled back to the country to get married and stayed in government quarantine for fourteen days and if he gets out five days before the wedding date can he not get married?
Sir, I also have an issue with the 25 people allowed for a church service. In the field of veterinary medicine, animals are given the dosage based on their weight. However, with man, we seem to be treated based on our age. God created the man and he gave us wisdom. Sir, we are trying to fight a virus. Now we are aware that the virus can be fought by physically distancing ourselves, wearing a proper face mask, washing and sanitizing of our hands regularly. Sir, when you give a limit of 25 church members per church and a particular assembly have a sitting capacity of 25 people without physically distancing themselves and another building have the capacity of sitting 600 people without physically distancing themselves, do you allow one cap to fit all? I am suggesting therefore, that the number of people allowed in a church service should be according to their capacity of the building, 6 to 8 feet distancing, enough toilets and face basins, adequate windows and doors for proper air ventilation and good quality leadership in the church to ensure those protocols are adhered to. After all, the majority of church leaders are appointed by God himself. The majority of the people in church leadership are people of wisdom with great understanding. They are people of character and integrity. Therefore, I pray Mr. Prime Minister that you revisit that aspect of religious gatherings when it comes to dealing with Faith Based Organisation.
Saint Lucia is a tiny country with a very small population. I believe we can police this thing and make those who are disregarding the protocols to be the ones who are deprived of their regular church service. The one cap fit all policy is not attractive. I don’t believe that every believer should pay for one or two delinquent leaders.
My prayers continue to go out to you and your family, the Cabinet of Ministers, and especially the lady in the hot seat, the CMO. I pray that when we are obedient to the protocol unto the word of God that he will remove this virus from amongst our people. God said in Exodus 15:26, “If you listen carefully to your Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you”.
Reverend Lazarus Eugene