St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): A church without a home involved in controversy over the construction of its Church building.
That’s the current status of the New Birth Gospel Tabernacle, which came to the fore this past week as Church Pastor Cyprian Williams mounted a one-man protest outside Government Headquarters on Wednesday.
Reports indicate that area residents of the Cabbage Tree Development in Cayon oppose the construction of the church building in their area because they contend it is a residential area.
The dispute is a long running one, and following the recent action by Pastor Williams the current Team Unity administration is said to have proposed a land swap arrangement in an attempt to resolve the dispute.
At a press conference Sunday, Church leader Williams confirmed that a land offer made by Attorney General Vincent Byron was under consideration.
“I want to thank the Attorney General’s office who has been working to resolve the issue at the time of my public appearance, to seek to hear our concerns. Currently, I believe that we have sufficiently been consulted and our lawyers are seeking to work along with the Attorney General’s office to come up with a suitable resolution. As you may be aware the Attorney General did make an offer of land in an area that appears to be suitable to our needs and we are working out the final details to ensure that we are not disadvantaged as a result. We look forward for a speedy resolution.”
The New Birth Gospel Tabernacle church leader gave an account of the difficulties faced in their attempt to construct their church building.
Here is a part of that explanation.
“In July 2016 the New Birth Gospel Tabernacle proceeded with the early stages of preparation for construction on lots number 19 and 97 at Cabbage Tree Housing. The property has been fully paid for and we are in the possession of the deed. In October 2016, we received a letter from the Building Control and Planning Board which indicated that they had received a petition from our neighbors, we then learned the result of that petition. The letter contained a notice revoking the planned permission for the construction of our church and it requested that construction be halted with immediate effect. The church at that point relocated to a temporary site which is privately owned and we proceeded to have our service under a tent. The terms for the occupation of that land, was from July 2016 to February 2017.”
New Birth Gospel Tabernacle had reportedly tried to address some of the concerns raised by residents in the Cabbage Tree Development area.
“Some of the concerns when we opened first was they said there was a noise issue, so we raised money to put in air conditioning. The second thing was parking, we tried to eliminate that by telling members not to park in front of anyone’s gate but it seems as though people don’t want you to park at all on the road. It’s a growing church so you must have parking issues at times but as I said we made sure that we didn’t have any contentions with the neighbors.”
Both New Birth and the government are hoping that the land offer made by the Attorney General will help resolve the issue in a manner that will result in the church having a permanent and satisfactory home.