A GROUP of religious leaders wants all political parties to cease campaigning for the entire day next Monday, to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1990 attempted coup.
On Thursday a statement, Call to Prayer, was issued by 11 officials of different faiths including Roman Catholic Archbishop Jason Gordon, Anglican Bishop Claude Berkeley, Maha Sabha official Pundit Lutchmidath Maharaj and ASJA’s Haji Imtiaz Ali.
The statement noted 24 people died in the coup attempt, the wounding of then Prime Minister ANR Robinson and billions in property damage and looting.
The group said democracy is a precious gift of citizens and both a privilege and a responsibility, and the 30th anniversary of the coup should be for all citizens a time of sobriety and reflection.
“We saw then the agitation and the disquiet of our people but nothing prepared us for what unfolded at TTT and in our Parliament, the seat of our democracy. “Perhaps none of us believed that our democracy could be so fragile, so easily challenged.”
Compared to the Hosay riots, the Water riots, the Labour riots of 1937 and the Black Power marches and state of emergency in 1970, on July 27, 1990, the nation lost its innocence, the religious leaders said.
“Thirty years later we must remember the high price that we have paid to exercise our right to vote, the many lives that were lost so that we could be a democratic nation. It is a major anniversary even amidst preparations for a general election and should never be forgotten by citizens. We are asking our nation, for one day, to stop, to reflect and to pray.”
“We are asking the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition to facilitate us in this cause.” Both UNC PRO Anita Haynes and PNM PRO Laurel Lezama on Thursday evening told Newsday they had not seen the statement yet.