“Resentment and anger, these are foul things and both are found with the sinner. He who exacts vengeance will experience the vengeance of the Lord, who keeps strict account of sin.” (Ecc 27:30)
I use this reading because of the recent attacks on media personnel at a location in Penal which is the Head Office of an oil company which came into the national spotlight a few weeks ago.
As newspaper reports have it, there were three attacks on journalists in the same geographical area. These reporters and photographers were simply trying to do their jobs – seeking images and the facts surrounding the allegations made against the company.
But there seems to be a lot more in the mortar than the pestle in this “fake oil” matter that has now escalated to a national scandal. Never before, in all my 58 years of journalism, have I heard of so many sides to what I consider a good news story.
As I write this column early last week, according to newspaper reports, and there has been no denial since, there is a senior police officer instructing his junior what to write and what not to write as he took a report from the journalists. I do not know if he did. Then it is understood the two policemen turned up at a cameraman’s home inquiring about a ticket that had been issued. The newsman produced a receipt and they left.
The reports continue that on another occasion a TV6 crew was doing some filming on the road when a glass bottle crashed in the back windshield of their car. They took cover and later left. Another instance saw a Trinidad Guardian photographer being assaulted and his camera taken away and crushed underfoot, as were his glasses.
If the report is true, a photographer spoke about threats to his life made by a man in a large SUV and further, an all-points bulletin (APB) had been put out for his vehicle. However, the policeman acting for the acting Police Commissioner has ordered an investigation into these matters.
I deliberately began this column with the verse which says in part “he who exacts vengeance will experience the vengeance of the Lord”. And I thought of the policemen and the others who are exacting vengeance on people carrying out their lawful duties. Do they ever think about the vengeance of the Lord? Do they have any compassion or do they think what they are doing is right? It simply means they have no forgiveness, their heart strings are not tugged in the slightest.
For the policemen involved, who took an oath “to protect and serve”, it seems that oath means nothing to them. Further, they are flirting with press freedom, which is part of our Constitution and a journalistic right.
Folks, this is where we are today after 55 years of independence and 41years as a republic today; a country where the almighty dollar is considered for some, more important than Almighty God. Is this the kind of society we really want to build? Is this what we want Trinidad and Tobago to be known for rather than a kind, peaceful and loving country whether we are rich or poor?
Let us for once try it God’s way.