Trinidad is my favourite little island in the Caribbean. I spend several weeks here every year at my mother-in-law’s place, watching humming birds on the Bougainvillea, eating roti and rice….and reading the newspapers. Three years ago I documented the government’s attempt to harness the prayer power of Christians in an attempt to stop crime. It failed. The government  even gave the churches cash to help them in the campaign. Now they are at it again, I don’t know if the churches are just after more  cash or whether the public figures like a magistrate and the fire chief are just   joining in to get a higher profile for political purposes. Perhaps a new generation of preachers is flexing their muscles.

I find it sad really. Crime is a serious problem and always will be as long as the island sits on the drug route from South America to Europe. The coast is long and frequently inaccessible and difficult to patrol.  Asking a supernatural being to intervene on behalf of law and order just seems so preposterous to me. A glance at the press reveals that the government is squandering tax payers’ money on all sorts of  ridiculous projects when the public plainly want them to take tougher action on crime. The churches appear to have short memories, as no mention is being made of the last pray-a-thon in 2014, or of the one in 2004 when the crime rate rose afterwards.

But enough of  this carping  from a white foreigner. As foreigners are frequently told in England “If you don’t like it here, why don’t you go back where you came from?!” (We English are so hospitable!) So here are some quotes from the ‘Trinidad Guardian’:

“I appeal to the gun-toting young men to put down the weapons and instead take up a ‘holy book’. Parents also need to take responsibility as a family that prays together stays together. We have just thrown out all these values and we need to bring them back. Our churches are almost empty, so the church has to find a way to get its flock back in.” Chief Magistrate.

“This (rally for praise, worship and to call on God to deliver the nation from crime and violence) is much needed at a time when evil seems to prevail. If people lived by the teachings of the Lord the country would be a far better place.”  Chief Fire Officer.

‘Apostle’ Vernon Duncan denounced the inequity (perhaps a misprint of iniquity?) pervading the land and openly castigated those who participated in abomination, including homosexuality.

“Yes sincere meaningful PRAYERS from the heart, that’s what’s needed for our beloved Trinidad. Things have to change. Come on the Catholic community we have to PRAY we can do it, we know how to do it, only Our God can help us now.” Worshipper at 24 hour prayer vigil in Catholic cathedral, Port of Spain.

“I believe the nation needs prayers with the amount of  murders, killings and  rape, we really need prayers.” Catholic worshipper.

“Everyone except parents who don’t read the Bible knows that sparing the rod spoils the child. Government should therefore remove taxes on rods, leather belts and bilnas, while providing subsidies to guava trees. Children who are beaten but still grow up criminals probably weren’t beaten hard enough. Ensure religion is respected. This will go a long way towards reducing crime, since people who respect religion are less likely to be criminals The high rates of violence and corruption in religious societies proves how evil flourishes among atheists and  and people who worship false gods which is why religion is crucial for fighting crime.” And similar witty nonsense by atheist journalist Kevin Baldeosingh (Guardian, 1 March 2017, p.A20)

Meanwhile, an international coastguard operation caught a 4 ton load of cocaine off the Trinidad coast, and a police road block netted nearly 100 kg of high grade marijuana.

Guardian, 6 March 2017 (guardian.co.tt)

Related Zingcreed Post:
244: Prayer vs Crime – a total waste of time?


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