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November 2013

Eric Williams addresses Seventh-day Adventists


Eric Eustace Williams (1911-1981) is regarded as “The Father” of the nation of Trinidad and Tobago, serving as prime minister for twenty-five years. A leader in the independence movement throughout the Caribbean and Africa in the 1950s and 60s, Eric Williams’ exceptional leadership was a primary cause in the overthrow of colonialism worldwide. 

Awarded an honorary doctorate degree by Andrews University in 1974, on at least three occasions Williams addressed Seventh-day Adventist audiences. The following are reports of two of them in Trinidad.

September 1, 1966

“Eric Williams, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, recently addressed the delegates attending the fifth quadrennial session of the Caribbean Union.

“The Prime Minister expressed his appreciation for the work of Seventh-day Adventists, and especially our work in the field of education and medical missionary work.

“The Prime Minister declared: ‘You have been doing a magnificent job in Trinidad and Tobago. Your hospital services, absorbing the former services rendered at the level of your clinic, are of real value to the community.  I compliment you on both achievements and I wish you continued success in your labors in the improvement of the material well-being of the population of Trinidad and Tobago.’

“He applauded the restraint that Seventh-day Adventists have shown with respect to violence and inordinate acquisition of material possessions contrary to the best interests of the country.

“In conclusion, Dr. Williams said, ‘I compliment your leaders on their initiative for holding the conference and wish you well.  The more power the Seventh-day Adventists get in Trinidad and Tobago, the better will be Trinidad and Tobago.’

“Gloria Khan, a teacher at Caribbean Union College, presented the Prime Minister with the two volumes of Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers by L.E. Froom, on behalf of the delegates.”

-R.L. Hoyt, “Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister addresses Adventist Meeting, Review and Herald, January 19, 1967, pg. 28.

 

May 5, 1968 

“On Sunday, May 5, more than 5,000 persons witnessed the laying of the corner stone of the new Stanmore Avenue SDA church by The Right Honourable Dr. Eric Williams, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. In his address the prime minister praised the work of Seventh-day Adventists. He said, ‘As the Seventh-day Adventist church dedicates this beautiful new

building today, I congratulate you on the contribution of your social and cultural life of the country. I congratulate you on the good work your church has done, and I exhort you to intensify it to the best of your ability and the limit of your resources, for the glory of God and the good of your country.’” 

-T.T. Bilingy, “Prime Minister speaks at Dedication Service,” Inter-American Division Messenger, September 1968, pg. 10.