Remarks by Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly at the First Festival of the Laity and Cross Cultural Mission Programme -USC

August 8, 2018

Good Evening.

For far too long, human civilization has grappled with a history of intolerance. We live in a world where we have allowed gender, race, religion and differing cultural beliefs to inhibit our own self-development. Our planet has over six billion persons; which translates to over six billion personalities and perspectives that can nourish our intellects and help us to understand our greater purpose on earth. Of these six billion persons, how many have we truly opened ourselves to, how many have we learnt from, how many have we loved?

Regrettably, in a period of our history where we have vast technological capabilities and communication portals to instantaneously connect us, it appears as though the distance between us humans is broadening. We continue to see the scourge of discrimination rear its unpleasant façade. Discrimination is rooted in fear; a fear of the unpredictable; a fear of change; a fear of releasing what is comfortable to us to embrace something new. It is fear that withholds society from realising its full potential.

We are fortunate though, to be citizens of a country like Trinidad and Tobago. We have countless history lessons from ancestors originating from different corners of the world, our country’s DNA is simply remarkable. An eclectic taste is almost engrained in us, so that we partake with relish of both doubles and pelau, visit certain destinations like Maracas Beach, the Hanuman Murti or the Pitch Lake, share meals with each other for Divali, and “shell peas” or clean sorrel at Christmas time. Regardless of our cultural and spiritual backgrounds, we undergo these experiences to “live the Trinbagonian experience.”

Over the next three days of this ‘Festival of the Laity and Cross Cultural Mission Programme’, the many accomplishments and projected goals of the Seventh Day Adventist Church will be at the centre of your discourse.  You shall explore how to better address the needs of diverse communities, and to find unique ways to allow unconditional, agape love to thrive in every environment. It is on becoming adults As we become adults that we begin shrouding our hearts with labels and stigmas that increase our sense of separation and discrimination. Sometimes we need to exercise our God-given those powers of discernment, but we must not allow them to override the love that we are called to have for one another.

I urge you to continue inspiring others to practice unconditional love; for this is the basis of our humanity.

I thank you for the opportunity to address this important forum, and wish you fruitful discussions during the rest of this programme.