Anglican priest Reverend John Rogers says that any decision that impacts the lives of the people of Barbados must involve the participation of the majority.
In his sermon delivered in observance of Emancipation Day at St. George Parish Church on Emancipation Sunday, Rogers maintained that this public participation was a demonstration of true liberation.
As the island draws closer to the 55th anniversary of Independence on November 30, which will this year see Barbados move to become a republic state with the swearingin of a president, there have been repeated calls for a referendum on this decision.
However, the Mia Mottley Administration has not indicated one would be carried out. And though Rogers, an Independent Senator, never once in his sermon specifically addressed the aforementioned, he called for the political class to be reminded that true liberation comes when all the people move together as one body.
Recounting the former West Indies Federation, Rogers, the Rector and Rural Dean of the St. John Deanery, said this lack of unity was the root cause of the demise of that institution. Making a call for regional islands to revisit the idea of the Federation, he believed that the COVID pandemic should teach Caribbean people that small developing and vulnerable states cannot stand alone and they must therefore forge stronger ties with their brothers and sisters throughout the region.
“This region was destroyed because of funny Maths.Someone opined that one from ten leaves nothing and that was the end of the Federation. I wish to caution us that funny Maths abounds in this region. I have some funny Maths, 30 out of 30 is not 100 per cent.
“When we have matters of national interest that will affect generations to come we get all our people on board and we educate them, for that is where the true liberation will be embraced. That is where we will truly experience the freedom we are called to experience.
“If we believe that 30 out of 30 is 100 per cent, these issues of national interest will become mired in politics and once they become mired in politics, the nation will be affected. A word to the wise is sufficient,” Rogers said.
In his message of liberation and reflecting on the process of Emancipation, Rogers warned against what he termed ‘Hezekiah leadership’. He explained that Hezekiah leadership was when “myopic leaders who were caught up with their own self-interest and had no time to seek after the needs of the people”.
“For even as I speak to you today on this 187th anniversary of our Emancipation, there are still many leaders in our region who are practising the Hezekiah form of leadership. There are still many in our region who are . . . just caught up with the now and cannot see down the road. Cannot see that their part is a small part in the greater liberation of their people. And so we continue to only make three-year plans.
We plan the first three years of our political term how we’re going to repay those who got us in, and we spend the next two trying to see who will get us back in.
And so the national development that is supposed to take place, the liberation that our people are supposed to experience is not being felt on the ground because we are caught up with ourselves. For true liberation to take place the people must move as one body. The people must be brought onboard and be guided as one man. For if we are divided we cannot truly attain the liberation that we expect.
And so that takes time, that takes education, it takes patience. The types of things that the Pharisees and the Scribes and the chief priests were not interested in,” he said.
The clergyman instead championed Jesus’ way of engaging and embracing his fold, stating this was the reason why ordinary persons at the lower level of society felt comfortable around Him and followed Him everywhere He went. “The process of Emancipation continues, now is our time. I encourage us all to look around you and see what forces of oppression are at work in our society and stand up firmly against these things so that God’s work and God’s presence may abide among our people and they experience the true liberation that was proclaimed for us,” Rogers added.