In a short two week span, parts of the Leeward Islands were devastated by two of the most powerful storms to visit the region, Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Necessary supplies have and continue to be sent to the affected islands. And yet there are some who grumble that most of those resources should stay at home. Catholic News reached out to former President of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Angelique Taylor for her thoughts on this issue.
And why not help! If God is a Trini and we are fellow Trinidadians then we Trinis are born with innate warmth and hospitable characteristics. Our natural response to persons in need should then be mirrored in God’s principal golden rule for humanity, “Treat others as you would like people to treat you” (Luke 8:31). I am certain that should this country fall victim to a similar disastrous fate, we Trinis would want our CARICOM brothers to respond in like manner!
If we follow a God of love, why then should our innate response be otherwise? This is what is expected of us as a country of God-given wealth! Trinidad and Tobago was recently classed as being one of the top three countries, with a high GDP per capita in the Americas. The top country being the US.
Simply put, to whom much is given, much will be required. The correct quote is: “…when someone is entrusted with a great deal, of that person even more will be expected” (Luke 12:48). We are called to action and we have a level of responsibility for not only equitable distribution of the wealth locally, but also regionally, especially in accordance with different treaties and bilateral agreements under CARICOM and with Latin America. And even this goal seems insurmountable with the looming global economic depression. Nonetheless, it is quite discouraging to comprehend the levels of selfish and self-centred positions taken by some of us Trinis (to the bone) but not surprising.
Over the years, generation after generation have not sufficiently learnt the art of the Trini love and have unfortunately replaced this love with anger and self-obsession.
People of La Trinity, let us be true stewards of our wealth! Let us emulate the God of love, charity and justice. Let us step out of the comfort of our wealth and quickly adopt an unwavering conviction of compassion, humanitarianism and regional pride to attend to the urgent needs of our devastated brothers and sisters. Our first call should be to forget ourselves and rally around our fallen neighbour!
Even if one is bereft of the knowledge of God and His social teachings, basic human rights dictate that each person is obligated to receive food, clothing, and shelter. Simply put, we stand to lose nothing by lending assistance, both tangibly or intangibly.
God is resolute in His commandment ‘To love one another’ and that when you give (out of love), you give to the Lord. Are we so blinded by our wealth that we no longer recognise the suffering Christ in our Caribbean brothers and sisters? Jesus teaches us,”…even if you did it to one of these brothers of Mine even the least of them, you did it to me” (Mt 35–45 ).
God is very straightforward. He warns. “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me”. Jesus encourages us over and over in the scriptures to honour Him through benevolence; to do good to our fellowman; to suffer with brothers and sisters as we rebuild the Church. Let us recognise Him right away with no hesitation.