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I applaud Rowley for this: Maingot

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is getting strong support for his initiative asking citizens to take in Dominican nationals who have lost everything as a result of Hurricane Maria.

Head of the Living Waters Community Rhonda Maingot said Rowley’s initiative was “a wonderful gesture,” and one which she felt certain would be “greatly appreciated” by the people of Dominica.

“I applaud the Prime Minister for this,” Maingot said.

She is hoping other Caribbean nations will “take a page out of the book of the Prime Minister.”

The initiative, however, has sparked a rage of criticism on social media with some saying “race” was the motive, while others accused Rowley of using it for political ends “to voter pad.”

Rowley responded to those critics saying their responses were “disappointing and backward.”

Maingot agreed. She said “sometimes people could be negative and sarcastic,” but at times like these we should instead be “open, caring and understanding and help.” She said “God forbid we should be in that position one day and want other countries to take us in... especially children and families with nothing.”

Living Waters is currently assisting with a “huge relief programme” and is working to send teams to the island. But she said they are willing to “assist further in whatever way they can.”

Head of the Catholic Commission for Social Justice Leela Ramdeen said she was “personally happy to see that the Prime Minister recognised that we don’t have a lot of money. That is what a leader does, if we don’t have a lot of money you have to think outside the box.”

She said the key Catholic thing in this is that “Love of God and love of neighbour, requires us to share all our gifts.”

Ramdeen said people cannot “live in silos. If we going to build a world of people who love and care for each other we have to think globally. They are our neighbours and we hope it will bear fruit.”

She was also critical of the negativity the initiative has sparked.

“The negative response is ill-founded. We cannot be selfish. There is too much individualism and greed in the world. I thank the Prime Minister for this.”

Dean Knolly Clarke of the Anglican Church said this was a very challenging time for the people of Dominica and Barbuda who have lost everything.

“People are going to have to take them in, they have nothing.”

He felt the initiative announced by the Prime Minister was “a very good way of reaching out to a neighbour and children in need. I find it a commendable idea.”

Describing it as an “altruistic gesture,” Clarke said it was “foolish” of people to link it to “race and politics.”

He said “it comes back to being our brothers and sisters keepers.”

Political analyst Dr Winford James described it as a “good decision, a good gesture.” He said if there are families willing to accommodate the people of Dominica, “that will be a very caring and generous gesture.”

Saying “we must regard ourselves as our brothers keepers,” James joined the chorus of criticism against those who brought “race” and “voter padding” into the mix. He said there are “genuine Trinidadians” who are “willing to help” even while hearing the “negatives, and we must be “reminded that quality must be allowed to prevail.”


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