Representatives of Faith-Based Institutions in St. Kitts and Nevis are expected to have a greater voice on governance issues following a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Ecclesiastical and Faith-Based Affairs the Honourable Dr. Geoffrey Hanley.
Dr. Hanley met with more than 70 officials on Wednesday (January 25, 2023) at the People’s Evangelistic Centre at Needsmust. He told the gathering that the Government was committed to improving the partnership with religious organizations and as such was pleased to follow up on his previous discussions with smaller groups by bringing everyone together for a general meeting.
A new initiative mentioned involved sending proposed legislation to the religious bodies.
“It is our intention that we make you feel a part of what is happening. So, when we send information to you regarding a Bill like we have in the Integrity in Public Life Bill that is going to be laid in Parliament, we want to have your feedback on it as well,” he stated. “So, it is a form of you educating your congregation about what’s happening in government or under the umbrella of governance, and at the same time, you get an opportunity to shape laws that will benefit our people.”
The Deputy Prime Minister was supported by Brenda Boncamper, Permanent Secretary of Housing and Human Settlement. He used the opportunity to introduce Elrether Simpson-Browne, the new Permanent Secretary of Ecclesiastical and Faith-based Affairs.
“I am just the PS for Ecclesiastical and Faith-Based Affairs, which means that you have your own PS who will be taking care of your needs and I think that we should commend the Government for that because I believe faith must have a part to play in the functioning of any government,” Mrs. Simpson- Browne expressed.
Key outcomes from the dialogue include a commitment to proceed with the commissioning of a new cemetery in Sandy Point and comprehensive training of officials in the Schools Chaplain Programme. The faith-based leaders also fully endorsed the establishment of an Annual National Day of Prayer for the Nation and Families on February 28.