Bishop Ollivierre, Pastor Baptiste respond to postscript in letter from PM
St. Vincent and The Grenadines
The Prime Minister
St. Vincent and The Grenadines W.I.
Dear Prime Minister,
Re: – Response to Postscript in your Letter Addressed to Bishop Stephen Ollivierre
We acknowledge your response to the statement made by the coalition of churches; however, we consider the postscript to your letter addressed to Bishop Ollivierre as not being a balanced representation of our visit to your office and will therefore like to point out the following:
1) You indicated that the letter was not addressed to anyone in particular and had no signatures. However, it was a statement made to the general public of which a copy was sent to you.
2) You stated that in the letter there was no support for the COVID-19 vaccine to which we pointed out that there was acknowledgement of the good that vaccination has done globally in eliminating diseases and though not stated specifically, it was inferred.
3) You indicated that the letter was judgmental and offensive to you in particular in that reference was made to you as being “un-Christ-like” to which we contend that the use of the term was descriptive of the actions of the Government in its real or perceived mandatory vaccination policy. There was no mention that the term “Un-Christ like” was a loose, unhelpful and incorrect formulation. We expressed regrets that you took the statement personally for which we had absolutely no intention of sitting in judgement on anyone; a prerogative that only belongs to God.
4) You pointed us to the colossal, devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on life and the economy the world over and in St Vincent and the Grenadines and the need for the Government to put regulations in place to curb its spread so that the country can return back to normalcy as soon as possible. We agreed that Government has a sacred, God given responsibility in regulating society for the good of all.
5) In the current situation with the vaccination mandate, we pointed out to you the division it is having in the country and the hurts, fears, anxieties, concerns and other mental health problems experiencing by large sections of the population. We urged of you the following:
That the Government allows for more time to further educate, inform, dialogue and discuss with the people the rational for the vaccination campaign and helping them to see the value of making decisions in the best interest of their own health and that of their family and neighbour.
We pointed out that on the vaccination curve we all find ourselves at different points and that we have to be patient and tolerant with people in making critical and important decisions that affect their personal well-being. We encouraged more efforts to reach people’s hearts.
The purpose of the meeting was to further represent the concerns of the coalition and not to appear in any way to dilute the contents of the statement. We ended the meeting with prayer for the Government and for the people of our blessed country.
While we acknowledge the seriousness of the National Health Emergency precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and that the vaccine is the safest tool in the tool-box to mitigate against contracting the virus, we also believe that persuasive conversation is the way to lead people from where they are, to where we want them to be. This will accomplish greater results in the long run.
We also believe that Government must look for the delicate ‘balancing act’ between the good of the majority and that of the individual person. It will never be easy to find that balance, but by God’s grace, prayer, love and compassion we can find it. It is not too late to look for common ground as we bear one another’s burden going forward. Together we can accomplish this.