Archbishop Robert Rivas has asserted that a church statement this week expressing concern about social issues in Saint Lucia was not political in nature.
According to Rivas, the Catholic clergy adopted a pastoral approach to the matter, not a political one.
“We did not write a statement against the government and what the government is doing – we wrote a statement about our concerns and the impact of some of the decisions that are being taken in the country at this time and how it is affecting our people, especially our little people,” the head of the local Catholic Church said.
He observed that the church is always concerned about the ‘little people’ – poor people who do not have a voice of their own.
Rivas explained to reporters today that concern about social issues in Saint Lucia prompted the Catholic Church to issue this week’s statement regarding a number of social matters, including the controversial DSH project.
“Our clergy sat down and reflected on these social issues and decided that the time had come that we should make a release of our concerns regarding what is going on with the DSH as well as the other issues in the country,” the head of the local Catholic Church explained.
Rivas said the church is concerned about unemployment, the environment and violence.
“We thought that as pastors who are close to our people and who are listening to our people who are expressing fears, they are expressing concerns – there’s also a sense of restlessness I find in the country right now and when you get that sense of restlessness I think you have to become more aware. What is it that is causing that?” He stated.
He said members of the clergy want to address such situations.
“We should be the voice of the voiceless and this is where we are coming from,” Rivas explained.
Rivas noted that some responses to the church statement have suggested that some of the information presented regarding the DSH project was inaccurate.
“But if the facts are not accurate, the concerns of the people is what we are dealing with and the concerns of the people are very accurate,” he declared.
Rivas said the Catholic Church wants to ensure that the rights of people and the environment are respected.
“We are not saying that the development is not taking these issues into account, but why could we not express our concern to ensure that these things are done and respected?” He said.