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Cardinal Al-Rahi Highlights Tourism’s Vital Role Amidst Lebanon’s Economic Instability

The Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, expressed his sorrow over the rampant corruption in Lebanon, covering all aspects: political, ethical, administrative, and judicial, as well as in commercial activities.

He lamented the loss of truthfulness, the prevalence of lies, and the loss of positive will towards goodness, replaced by injustice, oppression, and arrogance. He also observed the loss of human dignity and the reflection of God’s image in people, leading them toward evil.

During a Sunday Mass sermon at the Summer Patriarchal Residence in Diman, he pointed out that Lebanon’s political action is collapsing, as instead of building, it is destructively tearing down. He cited the failure to elect a president for eleven months and the paralysis of the parliament, which has lost its legislative power.

The government is reduced to caretaking, lacking the authority to appoint. Constitutional and administrative institutions are being undermined while the spirit of hatred, grudges, and arrogance prevails. The country is held hostage by some individuals, groups, or plans, and, even more dangerously, they set aside God, His word, commandments, and teachings despite their fake religious appearances.

He questioned why the parliament could not convene and elect a president after three consecutive sessions, especially when two qualified candidates were present during the June 14 session, according to Article 49 of the Constitution. He also questioned why the quorum was invalidated during a session that could have been decisive. He criticized the delay of this crucial event, which led to the paralysis of state institutions until September.

Meanwhile, officials are on vacation, while the people suffer hunger, the country faces chaos, and Syrian refugees occupy the land, all while the authorities ignore the nation’s heritage, culture, and history.

The Patriarch emphasized that the state must collect revenues from electricity and water bills customs at airports, ports, and government institutions while preventing financial theft, providing sufficient funds to pay public sector employees without depleting reserves or using depositors’ money in the central bank.

He warned against damaging the economic sectors, mainly tourism, which had shown signs of recovery this summer with the return of expatriates and tourists. He criticized the harmful rumors about price hikes without acknowledging the existence of price controls and services.

Moreover, al-Rahi stressed the vital role of the tourism sector in reviving the collapsing economy, contributing around 25 percent of the national income over the years. He pointed out the double standards in imposing occupancy fees on public and coastal properties in foreign currency while overlooking settlements for occupants of river properties and state lands, depriving the treasury of substantial revenues and investment stability.

He called for preserving the tourism sector like other sectors, which is fundamental for nation-building and safeguarding its people.

Source : LBC