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Not without the dust, the palm*

By Laura Ann Phillips

Sometimes, you just need to let yourself relish the moment.

In these past many months, with the renewed frequency of abductions, disappearances, gruesome and very public murders of women and girls, perhaps this country needed the rush of a “First Female President”.

Women needed to dream again; girls, a reason to begin.

Hilarian social media pages were afire with pride as news of Madame Justice Paula-Mae Weekes’ unopposed selection was made public. An Old Girl, it was, of Bishop Anstey High School (BAHS), St Hilary’s, who had risen to occupy the highest office in the land!

Overseas Chapters of Old Hilarians gathered to pray and celebrate. Long-time school images and stories appeared, with calls to wear your BAHS tie or ring on Inauguration Day.

Declarations abounded that her life exemplified the BAHS motto: “Non Sine Pulvere Palmam”“Not without the dust, the palm”. The Hilarian value that it is work and suffering that produces achievement and honour.

By her words, passion and, some would say, expressly Hilarian deportment at her inauguration, President Weekes did not fail the legacy.

Exhorting all to do their part to combat this country’s time of darkness by simply being light wherever they were, she suggested concrete ways of doing so, such as minding the violence in one’s speech or, “Going to work on time and actually working when you get there”.

The Sunday School Chancellor liberally and easily wove Scripture references into her speech, not failing to thank God for His favour to her: “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, yea, I have a goodly inheritance” (Ps 16:6).

The more guarded among us – who, in the past, may have allowed themselves to dream and were disappointed – perhaps withheld their elation. Waiting to see, instead, how this new president would fare and function in office.

As the world-weary may have stood apart in Jerusalem, as we see in this year’s Palm Sunday procession reading. Waiting to see the substance of this hero publicly hailed.

Waiting to see how the days following Christ’s triumphant entry into the city would unfold.

Jesus had clearly done some preliminary work in preparation for His entry day.

His clearly coded message to the tethered colt’s owner are still an unsolved mystery. I still smile at the thought of the disciples forming those curious words to an irate owner! (Mk 11:1-10).

And, three years of preaching and healing brought Him to public attention and, finally, peril.

Jesus’ enemies had already decided He was to die (Mk 14:1-15:47). Plots were hatched, but only in theory; the “how” not yet finalised. It was only when Judas approached them that a real plan appeared.

In the meantime: wait. Look.

See the rabble cheering and waving and hoping.

Waiting for a new day.

Our new President never made any Messianic claims.

She expressed, however, a clear faith that light always triumphs over darkness, and a hope that all would work together to bring Trinidad and Tobago to the place it can become.

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