Call for end to blood sacrifices on beach

B y RADHICA SOOKRAJ (as published in the Trinidad Guardian)

WHILE residents were complaining against animal sacrifices at the Toco beach, members of the Point Fortin Little Bethlehem Spiritual Baptist Church were conducting a similar blood sacrifice at the Moruga beach yesterday.

With milk, honey, sweet olive oil, rice, split peas, black-eye beans and other grains spread on the sand, the nine-member worship team started by singing praises to the Heavens and casting out the evil spirits from two women.

A white duck was then slaughtered and the blood smeared on the head of the worshippers. Four cocoyea brooms were turned upside down and incense was thrown into the sea amid loud chanting.

Church leader Patrick Stanley said the sacrifice was done to heal the two women who were complaining of serious belly pains.

One man was beaten with the headless duck spilling blood over his body. The bird was then thrown into the sea as the worshippers continued singing loud praises and dancing.

Following the ritual dance, the duck was retrieved, placed on a makeshift altar and burnt. Stanley condemned the actions of his spiritual brothers in Toco, saying it was derogatory for sacrificial remains to be left in the sand.

Toco residents complained the beaches were becoming insanitary as a result of the blood sacrifices. The headless bodies of cows, goats and birds are being left in the sand to rot, residents claimed. Blue candles are also strewn around on the beach.

One Toco woman said she saw a fish “beating up” in the sand. When she cut it open she found a piece of blue candle inside.

Some Toco residents yesterday called on the authorities to stop blood sacrifices on the beaches.

Stanley was against this move, however, saying it was important to his religion for the beaches to be utilised.

“I come here. Hindus also use the beach, but I condemn anyone who would leave sacrificed bodies to rot in the sand.”

Pointing to the duck roasting on the altar, Stanley said: “You see that, that is a burnt sacrifice, I believe in burnt sacrifices.

“You cannot leave a place unclean because cleanliness is next to Godliness,” he added. In Toco, the animals being used in sacrifices are sometimes buried. Stanley said traditional Orisha customs dictate that sacrifices should be burnt. “I am a healer, the healing process works better if everything is clean,” he said.

The Little Bethlehem Baptist Church has over 180 members. Stanley advised other followers to keep the beaches clean when performing their rituals.

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