The Words of the Durant Family
Bridgetown, Barbados -- At 3.30 pm, on January 22, the audience stood up to the tune of the National Anthem of Barbados, which signaled the commencement of the Interfaith Rally at the headquarters of the Barbados National Peace Council, under the theme, "Interfaith Activism for Peace and Harmony."
The master of ceremonies, Mr. Philip Knight, an Ambassador for Peace, welcomed the participants. Representatives of different faiths gave the invocations: Pundit Phakoor Prashaud of the Hindu temple, Rev. Thelma Gill-Barnett of the Messenger for Christ church; Rev. Anthony Kirton of the independent spiritual Christian faith, and Mrs. Jacqueline Durant of the Unification Church. It had been hoped that Muslim, Jewish, Gnostic, Rastafarian, Baha'i, and Mormons representatives would participate as well. Mr. Knight emphasized the importance of religious togetherness, freedom, tolerance, and the significance of the unity among the faiths.
In his welcoming remarks, Ambassador for Peace Mr. Ladepoo Salankey, poet, writer, author, lecturer and former government representative for rural affairs, explained the work of UPF in many of its chapters internationally. He spoke of the vision of the Founder of UPF, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, and his desire for world peace. There was a video presentation on "Creating Unity among the Faiths."
Rev. Peter Oscar Phillips, President of the Barbados National Peace Council, who had been recently hospitalized for a heart ailment, addressed the gathering as had been scheduled. He told the audience that this was the beginning of a series of programs that will advance the work of UPF, guided by the vision of its founder. He cautioned people not to neglect supporting one another, citing the famous quotation of Martin Niemoeller that we are our brother's keeper:
First they came for the
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
In his conclusion he told the audience that "the true value of life is not found in riches or fame, but in the simple finer things in life: love, peace, harmony, and happiness."
Short speeches were given by prominent persons in the audience: Ms. Undine Whittaker, advisor to the Prime Minister's office on poverty eradication; Dr. Latchman Kissoon, lawyer, former Rotary president, and former president of the Barbados Inter-religious Organization; Rev. Buddy Larrier, CEO of the Day of Hope Trust; and Pundit Purufhottam Tiwari of the Hindu temple.
Three ladies were appointed Ambassadors for Peace: Ms. Shelley Taylor, Ms. Roxanne Davidson, and Ms. Veronica Allman.
Mrs. Cheryl Hamshaw, president of the Women's Federation for World Peace, gave a vote of thanks. Group pictures were taken, and a small banquet followed.