Press Release
September 14, 2021
Christian Council identifies need for further dialogue on amendment to Public Health Act

THE ST VINCENT and the Grenadines Christian Council (SVGCC) has issued a statement following separate meetings held in August and September with Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves; Opposition leader Dr. Godwin Friday; and representatives of the Public Service Union (PSU).

In the statement signed by president of the Council, Bishop Leopold Friday of the Anglican Church the Council said: 1. We realize from our meetings that there are different and contending views about the amendments which led to the recent protest.

2. We strongly believe that in a spirit of goodwill and co-operation, there is a need for further dialogue, engagement and discussion with social partners on the Public Health Amendment Act which was passed on the 6th August, 2021, in the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

3. We welcome the Public Consultation and Discussion on the Public Health (Public Bodies Special Measures) Rules 2021 and encourage dialogue and engagement by social partners on this as well.

4. We are aware that the pervasive understanding of democracy includes a “right to protest” that is Peaceful Protest, along with other opportunities for contending views, voices and opinions. We believe that the contending of voices and the related opportunity to listen to one another and to speak responsibly are critical. We reiterate the importance of non-incendiary language, also of research, truth seeking, fact checking and truth speaking.

The SVGCC, comprises the Anglican, Methodist, Roman Catholic and Salvation Army denominations.

Bishop Friday told SEARCHLIGHT that there are no plans at this time to have a follow meeting.