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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves at the symposium in Trinidad on Monday, April 17, 2023. (Photo: Dr Keith Rowley/Facebook)
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves at the symposium in Trinidad on Monday, April 17, 2023. (Photo: Dr Keith Rowley/Facebook)
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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is taking issue with the way in which some preachers present their sermons.

He told the two-day regional symposium on crime in Trinidad that the church has a role to play in addressing crime.

He, however, said that the church might be better able to do so “if they stop trying to frighten us to go to heaven because of hell.

“Because every time I go to church, they want me to go to heaven by frightening me not to go to hell,” Gonsalves said.

“They have to begin to preach better in order to get my attention. And if they can’t get my attention in that way …, how are they going to get young people’s attention?” he said on Monday, the opening day of the gathering of CARICOM leaders.  

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Gonsalves returned to the topic on Tuesday, the closing day of the symposium, saying that some preachers were criticising his comments.

“And for those preachers — I hear one or two of them already criticising me for what they said yesterday as how they preach, I don’t take instruction from what men say in this regard,” Gonsalves said.

“In the book of Micah, the question is asked, … ‘What does the Lord require of me?’ And the answer: ‘to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God’.”

Gonsalves, a Roman Catholic, said he disagreed with his church’s position against the death penalty, and called on the region to execute murderers, despite the position of the European Union, one of CARICOM’s major developmental partners.

The symposium was held under the theme “Violence as a Public Health Issue – The Crime Challenge” and Gonsalves said he had no doubt that as St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Terrence Drew stated that a significant number of people who commit homicides have some mental issue.

He said the vast majority of serious crimes are committed by young males, who come from broken homes.

“But somehow in the families, in these dysfunctional families, broken families, the father is not around, the mother is hustling trying to make a living and when the boy is 14 years old, and she can no longer control him, she says is Rowley problem or is Ralph problem,” he said, referring to this Trinidad counterpart and host of the symposium, Prime Minister Keith Rowley.

“Well, it’s not our problem only. It is all of us problem,” said Gonsalves, a lawyer, who is also minister of national security in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  

He said that in addressing crime, there is a role for the family, the state, the schools, and the church.

“Then there’s the community groups and all these things, all these various interventions, because the bulk of young males are making us very proud,” the prime minister said.

“Let us never forget that. But the media now, as soon as there is one murder, it is frontpage and they talk about it.

“But the thousands of young people who do well, you don’t get that kind of a coverage. If you get the coverage, you get it on page 40 continued on page 48.”

4 replies on “Preachers ‘want me to go to heaven by frightening me not to go to hell’ — Gonsalves”

  1. Is that a bad thing?

    And the times of this ignorance God winked at;
    but now commandeth all men every where to repent: ….
    Acts 17 vs 30 – 31

    Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord.
    Isaiah 26 vs 10.

    Thou believest that there is one God; thou dost well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
    James 2 vs 19.

    U seems not to tremble nor fear, r u worse than d devils? B careful mortal man.

  2. Urlan Alexander says:

    The preacers are wrong. If a man is destined for hell why are they trying to convinced him other wise?

  3. No one can help you sir, you already chart your destiny which is HELL, but don’t you worry you are in good hands, I am the fireman in HELL I’ll be waiting for you, with extra fire

Comments closed.