On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, I extend greetings to the Christian community as they celebrate Easter 2015 – a most important religious event in the Christian Calendar.
It is a time when Christians all over the world celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead – an event which brings hope and reconciliation to humankind.
We are truly blessed in this country of ours as we all appreciate and celebrate our various religious festivals and events in peace and harmony. Indeed, I can think of nowhere else on earth that has such religious and ethnic diversity such as ours and where religion unites rather than separate peoples.
All too often we read about countries where followers of a particular religion – be it Christianity, Hinduism or Islam – are targeted and brutally killed just because they profess a faith that is different. Men, women, and children maimed and killed just because they worship the one God called by a different name.
Last Thursday, the world was rocked by the senseless killings in Kenya, where I am told, about 150 persons were killed. In February, there was the beheading of 22 Egyptian Catholics by Islamic State militants (IS) in Libya.
In his Good Friday message on Friday, Pope Francis spoke out against the persecution of Christians. I too, condemn the unwarranted killings and to remind our people that we are truly blessed in Trinidad and Tobago.
We are so fortunate here in our beloved country of Trinidad and Tobago where citizens truly look forward to the celebration of various religious festivals. In this country you can see peoples of different ethnicities and creeds actively participating in and celebrating Divali, Phagwa, Eid-ul-Fitr, Christmas, and Easter…just to name a few.
The atmosphere around these festivals and events is highly charged with excitement and happiness where participants rejoice with friends and family at the wonder not only of these celebrations but I dare say also of the camaraderie that these inspire.
As Prime Minister, I am proud to lead a nation that ensures that every creed and race find an equal place…a nation whose supreme law, the Constitution, which guarantees all citizens, “freedom of conscience and religious belief and observance”. This is the very Constitution that I, as Prime Minister, swore a sacred oath to uphold and defend.
The contribution that the Christian community has made to national development can never be overstated. In areas such as education, medicine, law, business, the arts, and social work, they continue to provide yeoman service to their fellow citizens regardless of ethnicity, creed, or gender. This nation thanks the Christian community for their unwavering and tireless efforts in making Trinidad and Tobago a better place for all citizens.
For Christians, Easter is a time where, in Jesus, love has triumphed over hatred, mercy over sinfulness, goodness over evil, truth over falsehood, hope over despair, and life over death.
The Easter message of rebirth and forgiveness also gives us hope that no matter what has happened in the past each new day carries with it the promise of a new beginning, a chance to do better, and the opportunity to make a positive difference.
My government continues to partner with the Christian community through their various organizations to bring relief to many of our citizens who require special care and attention. Through our collaboration and combined efforts citizens of our country will continue to benefit from such partnerships as we move forward as a nation.
Once again, on behalf of my government I extend greetings to the Christian community on the occasion of Easter and I wish a very Happy and Holy Easter to all.
THE HONOURABLE KAMLA PERSAD-BISSESSAR SC.
PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO