The Movement for Social Justice greets the Spiritual Shouter Baptist community on the occasion of the anniversary of the ending of the colonial ban on the practice of their faith.
In a media release on Tuesday afternoon, the MSJ noted that while March 30th is a Public Holiday that commemorates the ending of that odious act of discrimination based on one’s religion, this Holiday goes beyond that of many other religious observances.
It said March 30th is indeed a Day of Liberation for all of Trinidad and Tobago.
MSJ said there is absolutely no doubt the law prohibiting Spiritual Shouter Baptists from practicing their faith was another manifestation of the racism that was integral to colonialism.
It said in the period after the emancipation from slavery, the British colonial power instituted many laws to suppress the former slaves and the newly arrived indentured labourers; among them the Habitual Idlers Ordinance; and the Summary Offences Ordinance; the latter of which banned the use of drums and “noisy instruments”.
It said the working masses and especially the descendants of African slaves who have traditionally comprised the majority of the “poor and the powerless” have had to struggle every inch of the way along that journey.
MSJ said that struggle was against racism, discrimination, inequality of treatment by the law and the institutions of the state, exclusion from access to resources and much more.
It said March 30th therefore commemorates the winning of crucially important human rights, that of freedom of religion and freedom of expression.