by Vernon Khelawan
‘Today I want to ask a question. What kind of society are we creating in once-beautiful Trinidad and Tobago? What with a schoolboy who chopped off his mother’s wrist because she took away his cellphone; a referee in a minor league in Point Fortin being severely beaten by spectators because his ruling ran afoul of their wishes; and a security officer stabbing a homeless man to death at a fast-food outlet.
There’s more—a policeman killing another in a love triangle; a schoolboy shot and killed; weapons seizures all over the country and crimes of all colours. Is this the society we want to create? I don’t think so.
Is that what this once-happy society has morphed into? Where rum shops have become killing fields; where guns are as common as PH cars; where armed robberies of people and business places seem like everyday shopping; where car stealing is like taking a maxi to your destination and sexual attacks in the workplace is the norm.
What this shows is that the slippery slope on which we are poised is lacking in values and morals; where decency is no longer a virtue; where the truth is alien and where lies and incompetence thrive. Are we as parents bringing up our children to know God? Or are we subtly giving in to their every whim and fancy in the name of modernity?
It’s truly a very sad commentary to watch the murder statistics mount daily. At the current rate, the year end figure will fall somewhere between 550 and 600. The Police Service must be overwhelmed, but more than that, where are our leaders? They remain tight lipped as if they are afraid to speak about the ills plaguing their various portfolios. Let’s face it, politicians of all parties say one thing to the electorate but, having assumed power they act differently.
If you were around in the 50s and 60s, you would have observed that the society was much more caring and forgiving; much more charitable and attentive; much more accommodating and kind. Love for each other prevailed, but overtime there has been a weakening of the fabric of society so much so that road rage is the answer to a fender bender; disputes, instead of being solved amicably and peacefully, take on violent solutions.
Long ago there were few walls separating properties, today it’s different. Huge concrete walls decorated with razor wire or fancy steel railings are used to keep people out. Cameras, lights and burglar alarms are used on our homes to keep out the unwanted. Where is the love of neighbour? I know legally we have to mark out the property, but that used to be by wire fences or hedges of shrubbery. Such things seem to have disappeared.
Our society is decaying, fed by wealth and the material things that go with it; the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ is growing daily and if not already there, it will soon be a chasm.
But for the society to return to its former moorings laced with proper morals and values, we can turn to a writer in the devotional journal Our Daily Bread, who said, “Getting a grip on God’s great and loving investment in us should motivate us to gladly consider making His sacrifice rich in dividends. How is that return on His investment measured?
“By living to bring glory to Him! Our eyes, hands, feet, thoughts, dreams and desires have been purchased to reflect the wondrous glory of God’s will and wisdom. In other words, we are no longer our own.”
If we as Catholics would ponder on these words, maybe we can help to change our society.