The Word of God – God’s self-disclosure
January 26, 2023
Issues to ponder as Pope prepares for Africa visit
January 26, 2023

New security measures at Mount ‘working well’

Mt St Benedict Abbey taken from their Facebook page.

By Kaelanne Jordan

New security measures are currently being enforced at Mt St Benedict.

Abbot John Pereira OSB told Catholic News while “for security reasons, we don’t want to spell out everything, we are taking it seriously and we are doing things.”

Security, the Abbot underscored, is a very delicate matter. The present security measures do not include security cameras. Abbot Pereira explained, “…Mt St Benedict is a place of prayer, and we want to maintain it like that. If we were to instal cameras around the compound, it gives a different feel.”

Abbot Pereira reminded that most of the pilgrims visit the Mount “in distress” and “they do not want their business exposed.” He reiterated that it is in the ethos of maintaining the sacredness, privacy and confidentiality at Mt St Benedict, “we have made a decision to avoid cameras.”

He however assured that the Mount has implemented another alternative in establishing a more visible security presence at the Abbey. The Abbot mentioned that the Mount has since employed fully armed and uniformed security personnel on mobile patrol. This, he said, “is working out well.”

He further said the decision to avoid having security guards stationed at the Mount is simple: “We don’t want the Mount to look like another security post.”

Abbot Pereira explained, “What happens ultimately as human nature, the security guard whom you have placed at the Mount eventually has nothing to do and he starts to make friends …he starts to ole talk…and it becomes a nice outing for him or her. And you are paying money to sustain an enjoyable day at the Mount,” Abbot Pereira said.

The Mount, he continued, is not a crime hot spot. Abbot Pereira confirmed that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service has been making regular patrols since the armed robbery of a pilgrim at the Mount Tuesday, January 10.

He then told Catholic News that the incident has not affected pilgrims from visiting the Mount. In fact, “the following Sunday, the church was packed. People are coming up. There are people who are coming to the Mount up to yesterday for the first time. They not thinking about crime; they want a certain peace of mind…they want somebody to talk to, to give encouragement,” Abbot Pereira said.