Barbados debate: Green space or multi-faith centre?

Barbados Nation newspaper reported that there is a raging debate whether UWI Cave Hill Campus took the best course of action by planning to construct a multi-faith centre on its land which the community has come to rely upon for relaxation and recreation.  The multi-faith centre has obtained the blessing of numerous faith leaders.  But the opponents, from amongst whom St James South Member of Parliament Donville Inniss leads the charge, are clearly aggrieved at the potential loss of the green space.

The Nation quotes MP Inniss saying “I do not want to see any buildings come up here. This area should remain open so residents can enjoy themselves. It has a magnificent view where people can relax and it is an ideal place for recreation”.

In a statement UWI assured the public “When completed, we anticipate that this spiritual health and education centre would be a facility in which our neighbours would share our pride, as it fosters fellowship and serves as a communal meeting place for the campus and wider community.  We are aware of a large youth population in our neighbouring districts and would expect that youth leaders as well as our political leaders would wish to avail themselves of this facility for positive engagement.”

The multi-faith centre, the Nation reports, got the approval of some religious leaders.  Archbishop John Holder of the Anglican faith, Monsignor Vincent Blackett of the Roman Catholic Church, Barbados Muslim Association secretary Suleiman Bulbulia and Reverend Cuthbert Edwards, head of the Methodist Church in Barbados and president of the South Caribbean District of Methodists; were all positive about the centre.

Muslim spokesman Bulbulia said the centre would be invaluable for Muslim students as it was hard for them to get to the various mosques to pray.

“Muslims have to pray five times a day, and it is difficult to find a space on campus. They would have to look for an empty room, and it is a challenge to travel to the nearest mosque and return to class each time.

“This debate has gone way off,” Bulbulia argued. “The proposed centre will be for all faiths; and you need a place where people can go to reflect and seek solace. We can’t have enough of such places, especially seeing how many bars, ‘limes’ and nightclubs are going up without similar complaints.”

Roman Catholic head Blackett said a space for faith on campus was important, regardless of how many other places of worship there were around UWI – as such a space would be a symbol.

“When I heard the university was going to build it, I said ‘thank God’, because it meant what I – and many other chaplains – had been striving for for years was finally going to be a reality.”

The Nation editorialized “The present state of affairs in which faith-based groups have to compete with each other and secular bodies for space and time for reverential time and other legitimate pursuits is obviously undesirable and untenable.

Based on the way it has operated in the past in facilitating expansion and upgrading projects, the Cave Hill Campus has shown a definite willingness to be a sensitive and responsible institutional citizen to the communities that host it.

We therefore have every reason to believe that this approach involving communication and consultation will be followed in the future when the time comes for the construction of the multi-faith centre.”

Be the first to comment on "Barbados debate: Green space or multi-faith centre?"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.