Saturday, 10 January 2009 06:18
By Dale Herbert
"I declare my faith in the Lord and my belief in God. I was brought up in a Christian home where the supremacy of the Lord was inculcated and the value of Christianity, these were principles that brought me from a boy to manhood."
These were the words of Political Leader of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) Lester Bird during a speech issued on January 6.
Yet Bird and his party now find themselves "near the church, but far from God's people," facing heavy criticism over tonight's planned music concert a stone's throw from the Cathedral at Michael's Mount.
"One would think that someone who is so full of Christian value would have more respect and encourage his counterparts to have what they are calling a 'Hope Concert' somewhere else, other than in front the Holy Family Cathedral," said an irate Catholic.
Another church member said, "We have Saturday night mass from 7-8 pm. This has been a tradition for decades, and besides their concert starts at 9 pm and they will have to be setting it up and testing their equipment at this time. That's a mark of disrespect."
"Are these people serious?" the concerned Christian asked.
Also weighing on the issue was Reverend Peter Frank, presiding pastor at the Catholic church. He expressed concern about the noise that would be generated by the reggae concert, as he needs to rest to prepare for Sunday mass at 5 am.
Reverend Frank told Caribarena News, "I have been calling on the organisers to call me and tell me where exactly they intend to have their festivities.
"If it is being held within or near my yard space, there is a problem."
The priest suggested the Rising Sun Grounds or the House of Culture would be more suitable venues.
The reggae sound splash, dubbed "Concert of Hope," will feature artists known for conscious lyrics, including Peter Morgan, Etana and Queen Ifrica. However, the other headliner, whose lyrics seem to be controversial, is Busy Signal.
The artist is known for his raunchy lyrics in songs such as "Pon de Edge," "Tick Tock," "Nar go jail," "Stammer" and "Lue Lue Lue."
Meanwhile, the police are advising motorist that there will be no parking on Queen Elizabeth Highway tonight.
Parking is available in Rising Sun Grounds, at the House of Culture (Old Parliament building) and on the open area at Michael's Mount.