Minister of National Mobilisation Frederick Stephenson.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – As this country prepares to celebrate its 32nd anniversary of independence on Oct. 27 Minister of National Mobilisation Frederick Stephenson is urging Vincentians to “work together for the common good of nation building”.

His call comes against the backdrop of a spate of homicides here, which have seen six persons killed in the past six weeks.

In the latest killing, Ren Isaacs, 18, of Chateaubelair, died when he was shot in the head Monday night.

Stephenson said on Monday at the launch of activities to celebrate Independence that the recent murders here were “uncalled for”.

“Over the last couple of months, we have had very terrible times here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We have had some uncalled for murders,” Stephenson said.

“… we must go back to the basics when people seek to live together and work together in unity for a common good,” he further stated.

Independence this year is being celebrated under the theme “Working together to transform our nation”.

Stephenson said the theme calls on citizens “to transform or to make sure that there is a radical change in the way things happen in St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.

He noted that this is a Christian nation, citing the preamble of the Constitution, which affirms that this country is founded on the belief in the supremacy of God.

“And if we are in Christ, then it means that we have to become more like Him. … It therefore means that most of the time, we have to turn the cheek and forgive,” said Frederick, an Anglican lay minister.

He, however, said, “… we live in a society [that] has forgotten how to love and how to forgive”.

But while he said that the Church has “a very important role to play in the lives of our citizens”, Stephenson added, “There are too many fragmentations in our religious denominations”.

“And if the Christian church cannot, within itself unite and forgive and make amends, our society would not ever be able to make amends and to forgive, because the church is a reflection of the society and the society itself is a reflection of what the church is all about,” he said.

He, however, noted that working together does not necessarily mean that all Vincentians must have the same beliefs.

“But working together means that we must meet each other halfway. … Yes, persons have differing views but if we sit down together and we discuss together and we find a midpoint, a common ground where all of use can see eye-to-eye, I am sure that the transformation will continue to take place,” Stephenson explained

“In our 32nd year of independence, I say to all of us … let us seek to use these months of activities to transform our nation, … to be a people who are willing to forgive and to turn the other cheek. Let us seek to use these months of activities as a people who are looking for the betterment and the further development of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he further said.

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