Religious bodies in Trinidad and Tobago agree with Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher’s call for citizens to pray for divine intervention in the fight against crime. However, they also believe every citizen, starting with the CoP, needs to take the necessary action to eradicate the crime scourge.
“There is nothing wrong in trusting in God and turning to God... for strength and courage and wisdom and guidance but it must never be seen as a reason for us to abandon our respective responsibilities - whether it be Police Commissioner, whether it be Prime Minister, or Dharmacharaya or a parent or a teacher,” spiritual head (Dharmacharaya) of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS), Dr Rampersad Parasram, told Guardian Media yesterday.
His comments came in the wake of the CoP’s claim on Wednesday, at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce, that it would take more than anti-crime plans for the T&T Police Service to eradicate the current crime problem.
“An evil has spread over the land and we must recognise, those of you who are spiritually inclined, you must recognise that this is beyond the physical and unless we seek the intervention of that greater spirit, whatever we may call him, we know we have different religions, so who will call him God, who will call him Allah, or Krishna, all of us, if not all of us, 99 per cent of us believe in a superior being and we need to invoke the help of that being, if we need to really bring Trinidad and Tobago back to that place where we want it to be,” Harewood-Christopher told the audience.
She added, “Because the police can come up with whatever strategy, but unless we enlist the help of God, we will be working in vain.”
Yesterday, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Port- of-Spain, Fr Martin Sirju, also suggested both prayer and an effort at ending the problem were needed, adding while faithful believe we ought to rely on God and Him alone, “we cannot discount the fact that we must work and pray. It’s not either or, it’s an ‘and’.”
In a Catholic TT article, he referred to the traditional motto of the Benedictine monks: Ora et labora (pray and work), reminding citizens that they all have a responsibility to do the “hard work,” as well as “cooperate” with God.
“So, we can’t shun the responsibility and just make it seem magical and throw arms up in the air for divine intervention,” Fr Sirju said.
As a testament to the need for further action, the president of the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO), Lloyd Sirju, said all spiritual bodies have always prayed for crime to end in T&T. He too believes individuals need to take up the fight, and in some instances, other ways.
“I mean, I don’t want to say what Government should do or what Government shouldn’t do, but people need to be allowed to protect themselves,” he said.
The public relations officer of the Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat Association (ASJA), Imam Raffaic Mohammed, agreed with the Commissioner’s call but questioned if the current society is God-fearing or spiritual enough to accept it.
“There is no spirituality in the people right now in the whole world. People just mechanical...the world is only about money or worldly things and they not concerned about praying and getting themselves committed to God,” he said.
It’s also a concern for SDMS General Secretary Vijay Maharaj, who also cited behaviours witnessed from some of the country’s leaders.
“Yes, we have to turn to God but we are no longer a God-fearing people in my opinion,” he said.