The Roman Catholic Church in the Diocese of St. George’s-in-Grenada could face legal action if it fails to honour loan payments due to the state-controlled National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
The church has borrowed over one million from NIS to engage in the refurbishment of the Cathedral which suffered structural damage during the passage of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.
Vicar General, Fr. Clifton Harris made a passionate appeal to the Faithful of the Church to make financial contributions to the Cathedral Restoration Fund in order to pay off an arrears of $108,000 by December 31 that is due to NIS.
Speaking during the launch of the 60th anniversary of the local Diocese last Sunday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception which is referred to as the Mother Church of the Diocese, Fr. Harris told the congregation there has been a shortfall in the pledge being received for the restoration fund which has resulted in the massive arrears.
He said the Church, on a monthly basis, was receiving pledges to help pay off the loan but that there has been a decline in the pledges.
“Payment of the arrears must be made by the 31st of this month, and this is to avoid legal action,” Fr. Harris told the congregation.
The loan balance currently stands at $1,777,000.
The Vicar General disclosed that the monthly payment to NIS is approximately $20,000.
He is confident that the financial commitment to NIS can be met if Catholics commit themselves to giving generous financial support.
“If one hundred persons make a pledge of $50.00, you know how much that is? That’s $5,000… If two thousand persons in Grenville Parish make a pledge of $10.00, that’s $20,000 to pay off one month’s arrears,” he said.
According to Fr. Harris, the Cathedral Parish itself is contributing seven to eight thousand dollars every third Sunday of the month out of the collection it receives to help pay off the loan.
“Just remember the Cathedral is our Parish, it’s our church, it’s our Cathedral. It’s not just Town People church. So we’re trying to pay off this arrears of $108,000 by the end of this month,” he said.
The newly rebuilt Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was commissioned in 2011.