On September 26, Archbishop Joseph Harris released a statement commenting on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s announcement that immigration restrictions were being waived to accommodate Dominicans. Reminding the people of T&T that the Trinitarian love is not limited to a few but all encompassing, he invites the community, those who see themselves as disciples of Christ, to truly examine their situation and determine if they can open their homes to Dominicans in need. In so doing, the Golden rule will be followed: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Below is the full text:
My dear sisters and brothers and all people of good will,
The two hurricanes which swept through the Caribbean a few short weeks ago have left a trail of destruction unparalleled for many years. As those of us who, luckily, were not affected look on, we cannot help but be concerned for the plight of so many of our Caribbean brothers and sisters. The many who have been rendered homeless, the destruction of so many schools, the total lack of resources medical and otherwise call us to ask ourselves, how can we help?
We can of course put money in the special collections and we can contribute in kind. Is that enough, however? The Golden rule found in the ethical systems of all major religions calls us to extend ourselves a bit more. It calls us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Matthew 7:12 tells us that this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Given the particular financial situation of Trinidad and Tobago at the moment, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard the Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley announce to the nation that the government was waiving certain immigration restrictions for six months to allow citizens of the Commonwealth of Dominica to come to T&T, to families willing to receive them.
There are many reasons why this should be facilitated. For example, persons undergoing specialised medical treatment which should not be stopped and which is now unavailable in Dominica; students preparing for important secondary school examinations; persons with disabilities in cases where the facilities no longer exist etc.
I call on all families therefore especially those who consider themselves disciples of Jesus Christ to examine their possibilities to see whether or not they can host a person or persons in need from Dominica. I call on the boards of Catholic schools to make places available to students from Dominica.
If God is a Trini and we worship God, then we must allow the Trinitarian love of God to influence our thoughts and actions. Trinitarian love does not remain locked up between two or among three persons. It spills over and embraces those who are in need. At this moment, the citizens of Dominica are in need.
Let the love of our families spill over and embrace them. Like us they pray ‘Our Father’. They are brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us do for them what we would have them do for us if the circumstances were reversed.
Archbishop of Port of Spain