Archbishop Joseph Harris reminded citizens that until each one of us takes responsibility for the state of the nation, then we are going to continue down the “slippery slope”.
He explained, “I think we in Trinidad and Tobago have to look at ourselves…and it’s easy to point fingers and say ‘Look at them, look at Petrotrin’…when we don’t look at ourselves and ask ourselves ‘Am I contributing to the corruption that is going on in this land of ours?’”
The Archbishop, during CAMSEL’s Ask the Archbishop live chat September 13 made reference to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s statement that the major challenge facing his Government is the extent of corruption in the country. Commenting on this, Archbishop Harris said, “One of the things that surprises me is every year or every election we hear about corruption and stopping the corruption – and it seems to be endemic in Trinidad and Tobago. We have to ask ourselves ‘What does that say about us?’ ”
The Archbishop reflected on Jeremiah 20:7, and warned that the faithful have allowed themselves to be seduced by false gods, money, pleasure and power.
Quoting Pope Francis, who said during his September 6–10 visit to Colombia “The devil is in your pocket”, he added that “We are letting ourselves be corrupted by money and pleasure….”
Responding to a question on our own “brand” of problems that are “seasonal” to Trinidad, such as traffic, the Archbishop said that he does not know when we will emerge from those problems. He said, “You would think that a country that aspires to be a first-world country by 2030 that we would be making some progress in those things but unfortunately we don’t seem to be.”
Another area of concern the Archbishop stressed was the need for education reform.
He maintained that the education system being followed, which began in the 19th century, is not preparing children to face the challenges of the 21st century and does not take into account the different aptitudes or learning styles. Archbishop Harris called on parents to lobby the government to make the necessary changes stating “Otherwise we are condemning more and more of our young people to failure.”
On much lighter matters, the Archbishop remained mum on his dish for the ‘Priests Can Cook’ fundraiser September 29 at St John’s Ambulance Brigade.
Not wanting to reveal too much, he only assured that there will be a roast pig and “the crackling will be very nice”.
Archbishop Harris agreed that more initiatives like these should be encouraged in the archdiocese, adding that community is built not by praying about it, but by doing fun things. “So, Priests Can Cook is just to tell people that priests are normal human beings. We’re not angels; we’re normal human beings with human likes and dislikes and we enjoy doing certain things,” he said. – KJ