Georgetown, Guyana – (September 14, 2018) Upholding religious freedom in Guyana is not the sole responsibility of the state but that of every citizen, First Lady Mrs. Sandra Granger said Thursday evening when she participated in a Religious Freedom Conference organised by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The First Lady believes that the national discourse should be focused on respect for diversity in religious beliefs.
“I agree and whole heartedly believe that the state must play a role in the freedom and rights of individuals, including the right to freedom of religion or belief” the First Lady said “But this does not preclude the duty of every citizen to promote and preserve those rights,” said Mrs. Granger.
Mrs. Granger said too that every citizen has a role to play in ensuring religious freedom. “The politicians, the judiciary, law enforcement officers, public servants, representatives of religious and rights organizations… in fact, every citizen has to play a role in the implementation and defence of these freedoms,” the First Lady stated.
She stressed that while the state creates laws, those laws are interpreted and enforced by people who have their own values and belief systems and as such “it is important that the value of these freedoms be taught to our children and reinforced for all at the formal and informal levels”.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Inter- Religious Organization (IRO) – Pastor Ronald McGarrell said the ultimate destination of the path followed by all religions should be peace. Pastor McGarrell said too that that if division is created by insisting that only one religion is the only path to salvation, then it would be going against a desire for peace by God.
Pandit Deodat Tillack, representing the Hindu community stated that Guyana is a country of religious tolerance pointing to the Constitution of Guyana but noted the need for more effort to be placed on understanding the various religions.
Additionally, President of the Elders quorum of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Mr. Wayne Barrow, said religious freedom is a very technical issue which is often time not discussed by the masses.
Mr. Sidi Neil Bacchus, Secretary an executive member of the Muslim League along with President of the Georgetown district of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Mr. Colin Goodluck also attended the conference.