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Saint Lucia To Erect Shrine In Memory Of Cathedral Attack

Saint Lucia is to erect a shrine in memory of the deadly New Year’s Eve attack on worshippers in the Cathedral in Castries in the year 2000.

The initiative is part of the Island’s venture into religious tourism.

In what one eyewitness described as ‘like a scene from hell,’ machete-wielding men stormed the Roman Catholic Cathedral, hacking worshippers, dousing others with fuel, and setting them on fire.

A nun and a priest perished as a result of the attack, and several other worshippers sustained injuries.

Two men, Kim John and Francis Phillip, accused of the heinous crime, claimed to be  prophets sent by God to fight corruption in the Catholic Church.

They originally received the death sentence.

But they won an appeal at the Privy Council and subsequently received life sentences.

Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire explained that religious tourism was a new area for Saint Lucia.

He disclosed that the recent agreement Saint Lucia signed with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Development Fund provides for financing a project with the Catholic Church to introduce a visitor experience.

In this regard, Hilaire disclosed plans for the shrine.

“A shrine erected with a narrative, a story about what happened and the importance of it to the Catholic faith,” Hilaire stated.

“it will be an opportunity for persons to come and visit the church and in addition to what you would traditionally do in the church, to get an opportunity, for those of you who who would have traveled to other parts of the world and seen some of those experiences, it is quite a rewarding experience from the perspective of spirituality,” the Minister told reporters.

However, he also noted the tourism component of such initiatives in attracting visitors.

“For us it enhances the reputation of Castries as a City and as a destination that visitors who come into this country, there will be more to see,” Hilaire stated.

He declared that much work remained to upgrade the capital, and the planned shrine would contribute to the effort.


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  1. This was a sad and shameful event that needs to be memorialized for the next generation and in our history books. However, I don’t think we should monetize this with religious tourism. This event cast a dark cloud over St.Lucia’s international image and tourists appeal.

  2. Why though? Why must we be constantly reminded of a terrible time in our history with no significant outcome? The men are still alive and the families of the victims still suffer. Why not put that money towards the development of mental health evaluation? What on earth is wrong with this stupid country?

  3. You guys are catching at straws…..stop attaching prefixes to tourism. Initiate ideas that will create revenue. I don’t see how a poor hungry man will eat from this.

  4. There are something’s better left alone. This is one of them. What is the tourism ministry intent on doing? Putting more reminders of an atrocity that needs to be buried? Looks like someone is not in their right mind in that place. This is a terrible idea. It happened. The archives have the records. Who interested let them find it there. Instead concentrate on preserving the building, the art if any and having regular weekly/ biweekly service so that anyone can pop in at anytime it’s taking place just like I have seen in other countries

  5. @James Banks, SMH and Joseph – all your comments are completely valid. This is a very peculiar approach to “religious tourism”. What on earth are they thinking? ie if they are even thinking. Anyone could come up with much better ideas and stories for so-called Religious Tourism. Aren’t they supposed to be attracting tourists not turning them off visiting here by going over historical murder cases? We’re already doing that because of murders happening right now on island, and we certainly don’t need emphasise that negative side of our society!

  6. They should erect a monument at the Castries market about the dark history of that place too

  7. This is a sad commentary and a dangerous precedent for many into the installation of a SHRINE Business which is a mockery to what the LORD JESUS died for.
    I have visited many Countries, in Europe, Mexico, the U.S. and in Canada, I made a point to visit as many Catholic Churches in whatever City I entered, not to worship Shrines but to have a quiet Spiritual moment with the Spirit of Jesus Christ my Lord & Savior, but to even look at a shrine for whatever reason, is to betray my faith in the RISEN CHRIST:
    It saddens me to read “……the Island’s venture into Religious Tourism”
    ” the importance to the Catholic Faith ”
    ” a rewarding experience from the perspective of spiritualism ”
    When one in authority says these things, it makes many to believe why many quit certain denominations to find elsewhere what they believe is the hidden truth.
    I hope by writing this I haven’t offended any of my brothers and sisters in CHRIST JESUS, I will always love you and Bless you.

  8. Is Hilaire ok in his head? Why would you want to monetize such a tragedy? If course memorialize it but don’t do it so that you can make money out of it? And why did it have to take 24 years before you tunnel visioned leaders come up with the idea of a memorial? But also tell me , who is going to visit Saints Lucia on some pilgrimage to memorialize such a tragedy?….I mean, I am irreligious as it is but to go down that route is pure nonsense…I empathize with the situation on a human level rather than on a religious reason…. Is that all Hilaire can come up with to boost the GDP?…the government run out of ideas obviously….it would be better to fix Castries as a city rather than seeking to monetize this tragedy….

  9. The use of two words together (religious tourism) already sounds sacrilegious.

    Desperation is never pretty. Anything on your end for a buck. Smh

  10. Reading these comments, it reveals how much our people are out of touch with religion, spirituality and the work of God. They always look at the negatives anytime the word “church” is mentioned!! They dwell on the wrong doings and deliberately are blinded when good deeds are done! Signs of the times!

  11. From the time this guy was elected he’s been in trouble; this time is the worse and most stupid for one who boast of his Doctorate. May I suggest that the P.M. move him to some other softer Ministry; enough already with a Diplomatic post, embarrassing problems with Customs etc, a prime candidate for the Ministry of the Devin arts.

  12. Religious tourism? Lol. There is nothing religious about this country. Rum shops line the streets across from places of worship in violation of existing laws. Lewd music blasting into places of worship from bars DCA authorised across the street from them. Young ladies with all their body parts exposed plying their trade near places of worship. This country is lost.

  13. “Jesus is coming” and this the message that should be resounding. Instead men are busy with ideas of $$$. This Shrine is a mockery to the God of Heaven. I agree with most of the above opinions but Fox comments are on point. The worship of an idol is being promoted in the name of religious tourism. St.Lucia (ministers) would do well to not copy the world. St.Lucians need to turn towards God through Jesus Christ NOT turn away from God towards the Devil. This initiative does not create jobs for the masses. It will create revenue but anything that is not Godly will bring His wrath. Tread softly…

  14. Re Article,.. We ask him to promote Tourism and he is doing it and we are finding faults with one of his decision.. Folks including the Fox If you can’t say something good, people reserve the bragging rights syndrome attitudes.
    I support the minister for doing his job how he can and what else do we want from him. May I ask?

  15. I have never heard about religious tourism. Given the gruesome nature of the event, instead of a shrine, a simple plaque in memory of the event and the names of the victims can be put up, but please not filed under religious tourism. Bad, bad idea.


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