Sr Ann Bradshaw – a shining light for 60 years
November 17, 2023
Catholic school launches school bus fundraiser
November 17, 2023

Independence: let’s celebrate but with concerns, says Church leader


As Dominica celebrated its 45th anniversary of political independence November 3 with the theme Annou sélébwé, (Let us celebrate), “the obvious question is, ‘What are we celebrating? What is there to celebrate?’,” asked Msgr William John-Lewis, Delegate of the Apostolic Administrator, Diocese of Roseau in his 2023 Independence Message. The Apostolic Administrator is Archbishop Gabriel Malzaire of Castries, St Lucia.

Msgr John-Lewis invited Dominicans to begin by celebrating the gift and natural beauty of this God-given land, the people, a resilient community who is not daunted by disasters, natural, political, or otherwise. “We have survived hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding, attempted coups, and civil unrest. A resilience, that is a result of a strong faith in God’s providence,” he said in his message via Dominica News Online.

Msgr John-Lewis acknowledged the nation’s young people “who have done us proud” in various fields of endeavour—sport, academia, entrepreneurship.

“We celebrate the talent and creativity of our artists, musicians, writers, poets, artisans; the professionals who give selfless and courageous service for the development of our people. We celebrate our first ever female Head of State, Her Excellency Sylvanie Burton, a member of the Kalinago Community. These we celebrate with heart and soul in thanksgiving to God,” Msgr John-Lewis said.

He however underscored, citizens cannot close their eyes to those elements in society that mar and hinder the joy that should come with the recognition of the nation’s 45th anniversary.

“Can we celebrate the demeaning of human life exemplified by the indiscriminate use of firearms to settle disputes? Can we celebrate the numerous instances of crime and violence and intolerance that have become so prevalent in our society; when we continue to treat the symptoms and not the disease itself; when we turn a blind eye to what is evil because we benefit from it?” Msgr John-Lewis questioned.

He commented on the way persons carry themselves in public, their dress and the choice of music they enjoy, young men on the streets suffering from mental health issues, the drug trade, and the fact that the “good name of our country” and its citizenship are being tarnished, which, as a consequence, cause other nations to impose visa restrictions.

“After 45 years, can we gloss over those ills? We are invited to celebrate, and celebrate we will, but with certain concerns,” Msgr John- Lewis asserted.

He prayed and hoped that true celebration would come because of citizens’ recognising the need for their urgent attention, as leaders and people of the nation, to the shadows that afflict its people.

Msgr John-Lewis then called on Dominicans to do all they can to walk tall, holding their heads high with pride as they respect the dignity of each human being in society.

“As we show the world that indeed we are, as we profess in our National Anthem: ‘a people strong and healthy, full of godly, reverent fear’. A people who live Truth, walk in Goodness and appreciate Beauty. A people who hear the words of prophet Micah: This is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.”