Many people living in Trinidad and Tobago are holding their heads and bawling or wringing their hands in apparent surrender to the criminal and gang element. We have had all sorts of solutions, except they are not working…and the criminals continue their rampage up and down the country.
Criminals of today seem soulless, unsympathetic, wicked, and uncharitable, as manifested by the boldness of their criminal activity. Laws do not form part of their vocabulary and law enforcement is an alien theory so, police officers seem not to be a deterrent to the criminal element as seen in recent actions.
Somehow it appears that all the various remedies have failed or are failing. The big question therefore is why? From a spiritual point of view, we must accept the realisation that the country is moving further and further away from God.
Too many people have strayed from God, failing to recognise that He is the author of all things. They put aside the good and concentrate on the evil. They have one mission— what is mine is mine and what is yours is mine. This guiding principle is the root of all criminal activity.
So, our society has gone from good to bad to worse and for many there is no room for neighbourly love or, for that matter, neighbours. The question here is: Who is my neighbour? In Living Faith James E Adams shares his answer with us saying “every other human being”. As repeatedly said we are created as brothers and sisters.
And although there are many God-fearing citizens still active in the country, the chasm between good citizens and the criminals seems to be getting wider and wider. What does all this mean?
It means more and more people are succumbing to materialism and thus straying from God. Just look at the number of robberies (armed and otherwise) taking place every day.
We may ask what is meant to stray from God. Well, straying may not mean like the prodigal son. There are many ways we walk away from God every day—disrespect to each other; disregard for help; not living up to our responsibilities; looking at work as an imposition rather than honest and meaningful way of acquiring what you want.
Again in Living Faith Sr Macrina Wiederkehr puts it this way, “Our distractions imprison our hearts so that we forget who we are. We live unaware of God’s invitation to love. Our hunger for God gets smothered with all kinds of activities. It is possible to live so preoccupied that we aren’t aware of anything except what we think is important.”
But in our crime-infested country, all this does not matter. When it’s not killing and wounding, it’s robbery and assaults or rape or even people trafficking. There’s also exploitation of workers either foreign or local and what most of us know but refuse to acknowledge: the often spoken about corruption, some in the millions or small like the $20,000 in flood relief.
There’s a saying: You can get anything you desire in Trinidad as long as you have the money to pay for it. You can acquire a driver’s permit or multimillion dollar contracts all wrapped up in devious, illegal schemes to outwit the law. And it is said all this happens with the full knowledge of authorities or superiors.
Can we make a real turnaround? Given the promises of Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, the fullness of time and with the help of God, only then we will know.