Towards the end of last month, Trinidad and Tobago experienced a flooding disaster unparalleled in recent history. We were spared any deaths but experienced great trauma.
At the end of September, the country witnessed a 5.9 earthquake. Since that, there have been ten earthquakes in 12 days. Again, no deaths and we thanked God. Are we getting some divine signs that the country is heading in the wrong direction? I cannot say.
But certainly the citizenry is plagued with fear and many ills pervade—murders top the list; home invasions, even during the day; daring daylight armed robberies; rapes and assaults; and of course, there is corruption big and small. It is becoming difficult to visit any of the many watering holes which dot the countryside.
As a matter of fact we now occupy the 12th position as the world’s most dangerous countries to visit; a most unenviable position and a far cry from the paradise that was Trinidad and Tobago a mere five decades ago.
But that’s not all, the bureaucracy and red tape experienced for new businesses and normal citizens’ rights are also not doing well.
So, where are we? Some people sincerely believe the end is near. Others feel that God is vexed with us and merely telling us we should change our evil ways. I cannot give any credence to any of these theories. What I do know is that there is too much violence and criminal activity in this little twin-island Republic and this has to change.
What has happened to the biblical order to love your neighbour as yourself? It is no secret that the values we once understood: respect, love and kindness for one another, have been lost. I firmly believe, as I have expressed over and over, that lack of proper parenting is the culprit.
You may not agree but an explanation of where we went wrong is sorely needed if the wave of anger now running through the country is to be truly understood.
Deuteronomy 6:5 reminds us, “You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.” But this verse seems to have been lost on the majority who form today’s society.
Or you can study the Parable of the Good Samaritan—we should care for our needy neighbours. Yes, but it suggests something more. We are all neighbours whether we believe it or not because WE are all God’s children.
But the complexity of this society—the race card played by both political parties, sometimes subtle and at other times raw—maintains this divisiveness in the society. It is sad and not Christian, but they keep on dabbling in it.
Most people are able, in times of disasters, to overcome their differences and the deeds of kindness and helpfulness shown by ‘neighbours’ immediately after the devastating, recent floods were unbelievable. Class, creed or race played no part of the rescue and salvaging operation for days following the floods. Just love of their neighbour.
We are therefore compelled to understand that we are part of a most complex society. Our inherent love shines through. Tragedies, of all sorts, are not new to many people, but strangely, the resilience of the same complex society always comes out on top. Familial and personal prejudices are put aside as the seriousness of the occasion dawns on everyone.
So the question which must be asked is: Can I love my neighbour as myself?