THE KINGSTOWN Magistrate’s Court started off the court day with a prayer for the nation yesterday, in keeping with the National Day of Prayer and Fasting that had been called.
The Constitution of St Vincent and the Grenadines( SVG), which is the highest law in the land, state in part in the preamble: “Whereas the Peoples of the Island of Saint Vincent, who are known as Vincentians, have affirmed that the Nation is founded on the belief in the supremacy of God and the freedom and dignity of man…”
Quoting this, Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett informed that he did so because the day was a National Day of Prayer.
St Vincent is now contending with multiple challenges. We are in the midst of an ongoing explosive eruption at La Soufrière, which caused the nation to be enveloped in ash, and many to be displaced and have to live in emergency shelters. Further, the Covid-19 pandemic still looms large.
“Consequently, I, as the magistrate in this court, have taken the decision that I am going to open my court in prayer this morning,” Burnett stated, “…If for example there is anyone in the courtroom who does not believe in prayer, you are free to leave at this time.”
No one left.
The magistrate said the prayer himself, and invited those in the courtroom to stand. This included prosecution, defense counsel, clerks, police officers, journalists and prisoners. Most of the prisoners bowed their heads for
“We realize dear Lord, that you are in charge of this nation. You are the God who has led us in the past, you are the God who is leading us now, and we believe that you will lead us into the future,” the magistrate said.
He prayed for the land, SVG, and what it was going through at this time.
The judicial officer also prayed for blessings on those who are in shelters.
“…In a special way we want to pray for those who are in the shelter, we know dear Lord what they are going through, they are going from home, and they have to confine to a space that they are not accustomed to.”
He prayed for wisdom for the Chief Justice Dame Janice Pereira, in her leading of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court(ECSC). He also prayed for Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and the Leader of the Opposition Dr Godwin Friday, as they both carry out their responsibilities to the nation.
At the end, he asked God to “watch over this nation”; as there was a chorus of ‘Amen’.