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Catholic church in Dominica condemns ‘disrespectful’ behavior towards senior clergymen

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A protester questions Bishop Malzaire in this video grab

The Catholic church in Dominica has condemned what it described as disrespectful behavior towards two high-ranking clergymen by people protesting for electoral reform on the island.

Bishop of the Diocese of Roseau, Gabriel Malzaire and Cardinal Kelvin Felix were accosted by protesters in Marigot on Monday as they made their to the airport through roadblocks.

Video footage showed the two men being repeatedly bombarded by questions.

Malzaire, a Saint Lucian, was accused of being complacent towards what is going on in Dominica and was told that he was a disgrace to his country.

Felix was stationed for many years in Saint Lucia as the Archbishop of the Diocese of Castries.

Both men, who were escorted by police, remained silent during the encounters.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Catholic Clergy in Dominica said the incidents were acts “of disgrace and disrespect not only to head of the Catholic Church in Dominica but to the clergy and the lay faithful as well.”

“While we recognize the dissatisfaction and passion associated with the issue of electoral reform, and political positions in general, we believe that there are more humane and civil methods of expressing concerns and resolving conflicts,” the statement said.

It stated that the Catholic church in Dominica has spoken on numerous occasions about electoral reform.

It pointed out to the New Years homily by Bishop Malzaire when he said, “Of concern to many here in Dominica, especially during the past days is the issue of Electoral Reform. It is a long-standing issue which is impacting and affecting our society. It is imperative therefore that those responsible move with some alacrity to see that all is put in place for the appearance of free and fair General Elections, which are due this year.”

In the homily, the Bishop went on further to say, “All the parties involved are duty-bound to present a viable proposal for good governance for the sake of the common and greater good of the country. Today is no doubt a good day to make appropriate resolutions in that regard.”

Dominica is presently in the midst of several days of civic unrest by protesters who are calling for electoral reform before general election slated for December 6.


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