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Disappointing turnout at National Day of Prayer

Disappointing turnout at National Day of Prayer

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The small attendance at the annual National Day of Prayer rally did not go unnoticed this year.

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace spoke about the low turnout at the rally and while he stressed that he was not blaming the organizers, he said that proposals must be made about how to attract more persons {{more}} to what he considers as a very important public event.

The National Day of Prayer rally was organized by the National Day of Prayer Committee (made up of various Christian organizations in the country) and was held on Monday at Heritage Square.

While there was seating available for a large number of persons, the usually busy square saw only about 70 persons paying attention to the activities, which included the singing of hymns and various pastors praying for troubled sectors of the country.

Commenting on the low turnout, Eustace, who is the Leader of the Opposition and president of the New Democratic Party (NDP), said that he comes to the rally every year and every year he is disappointed at the turnout.

“I come here every year to attend this ceremony and every year that I come I am disappointed. Disappointed because I know that a number of persons in the public service and the private sector work very hard to prepare this programme, but when I look at attendance, it is always a disappointment,” said Eustace who added that some persons might say that he should not have voiced the observation.

He said that St Vincent and the Grenadines has over 100,000 persons and it would be nice for a National Day of Prayer to encompass our entire population, but that is not possible.

“I don’t expect 100,000 people to come here, but I believe it is not unthinkable to have 10,000 for a National Day of Prayer ceremony. The few hundred we have here today is not a reflection of what is in fact a Christian nation,” said the Opposition Leader, who added that Independence celebrations and Carnival activities attracts thousands of people.

He said that the low turnout, in his opinion, is a reflection of how our society is developing when it comes to the question of God.

“It is a reflection of the decline in our morals, in our spiritual values as a nation. It is a reflection of the crime and the sport like mentality we have in respect of almost everything”. Eustace said.

He added, “God is our maker; to God we have to give thanks; to God we have to intercede to help with the numerous problems we face as a nation.”

He said that in his opinion, the low turnout is not a reflection of the organizing, but it is our job as a nation to find a mechanism to attract persons to the event, which also has input from the Ministry of National Reconciliation, the Public Service, Labour, Information and Ecclesiastical Affairs.

He said that while the people from this Ministry are working hard to pull off the event, it is not reaching as many persons as it should.

“A small portion of persons are hearing about the National Day of Prayer. Organizers must go back and look at ideas for attracting a much bigger audience…whatever it takes,” stated Eustace, who said that maybe the event could be taken to the Victoria Park and made shorter. “Given the moral decline, we must have as many people come,” stressed Eustace.

The Opposition Leader appealed to persons to come up with proposals to attract more persons with numbers like that of a Carnival event.

“This is very hard; persons must be interested and they seem more interested in Carnival,” said Eustace, who added that while the organizing committee has added a number of innovations over the seven years that the event has been around, the event is usually held during working hours and that also creates a problem.

He also stated that while this year the programme is somewhat longer and is broadcast live on NBC Radio, the radio stops broadcasting at 3 p.m. and there are people who want to hear what is happening after 3 p.m.

The event also heard from Minister of National Reconciliation, the Public Service, Labour, Information and Ecclesiastical Affairs Maxwell Charles and Pastor Adolphus Isaacs.

Pastor Isaacs also alluded to the low turnout.

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