Two days after the Our Lady of Fatima statue at the Marian Shrine was badly damaged by a lightning strike, two People’s National Movement (PNM) Members of Parliament and the party’s public relations officer have pledged to donate $7,500 towards its repair.
During a visit to the church in Laventille on Friday, Port-of-Spain South MP, Keith Scotland, La Horquetta/Talparo MP Foster Cummings and PNM PRO Laurel Lezama Lee Sing each pledged $2,500 to the repair of the statue.
According to the Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain’s Facebook page, a lightning strike around 1.30 pm on Wednesday decapitated the statue and caused a massive crack in the torso.
The Archdiocese warned that parts of the statue could continue to fall as it was unstable.
Scotland told members of the media that an assessment is still to be done to determine the cost of the repairs and whether the statue should be replaced entirely.
“Whatever happens, it must be back up where it belongs, it will not stay on the ground,” he said. “We can say that this has been here for over eight decades so it is a national treasure, so we intend to keep it and restore it and preserve it, that’s our commitment to the people of Port of Spain.”
He said although the statue has been struck by lightning before- in 1938- and because of its height, it is likely to be struck again, the statue will be restored.
Cummings said in addition to the initial $2500 contribution, he may contribute again when the final assessment of the repairs is done.
He said he expects that members of the public and parishioners of the Roman Catholic Church will also contribute to the cost of the repairs.
The Marian Shrine is visible from most points of the city. It is a stone church with a 52-foot belfry, at the top of which stands a 30-foot stone statue of Our Lady of Fatima, a gift from France. The 1886 construction of this chapel enabled Marian devotions from that time.