More than 300 confirmed in village communities
March 8, 2023
Update: Beatification and Canonisation of Archbishop Pantin
March 8, 2023

Put party politics aside to combat T&T human trafficking problem

As the controversy rages on alleged “government officials” complicit in human trafficking and government and the Opposition criticising each other, Archbishop Jason Gordon called for country to be put ahead of “partisan politics” in combatting the problem.

Archbishop Gordon along with Duvone Stewart, arranger for the 2023 Panorama champions BP Renegades Steel Orchestra were guests on the Eye on Dependency programme on I95.5 FM, with hosts Garth St Clair and Natasha Nunez.

Archbishop Gordon asserted that everyone has an interest in putting the country first and moving it forward. To address human trafficking requires work and the reform required would take more than the five- year term of governments. “Anything that is going to be more than a five-year term you really should have a joint committee that works on it so whoever is the next government we continue with the policy.”

Discussing how the Church was responding to human trafficking, he said through the Living Water Community, the local representative of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) has given assistance to migrants and refugees for over 30 years.

Based on the escalation in the number of persons coming to Trinidad and Tobago when he became archbishop in 2018, Archbishop Gordon instructed parishes to start migrant ministries. There are now 20.

“We have been on the frontline for quite a while…so much so we get accused to enabling people and the policy is a real simple policy…if people in this country, they have to eat, they have to have a shelter and their children have to have education once they here.”

He mentioned the Catholic Commission for Social Justice/Archdiocesan Ministry for Migrants and Refugees helped migrants and refugees to get what they needed “so they don’t tip into the underbelly of the society”.

Archbishop Gordon also discussed the Church’s position on the death penalty.

There was lively discussion with the hosts, Archbishop and Stewart on the panyard as a model for development of the country. St Clair quoted the Archbishop’s February 5 column ‘Panyard vibes, sacred spaces’ on this topic.

Stewart reiterated that the harmony and love which pervaded the panyard during the preparation for Panorama would be promoted throughout the year.

“We are gonna take it across the country and spread across all different sectors that God placed us here to be.” He said God has placed the steelpan in T&T and it deserves respect.

There was discourse on the panyard as a model for the education system. Rather than the competitive environment in schools and ranking students, Archbishop Gordon said schools should be ranked so focus will be on all students performing well.

As in the panyard where players helped each other get the tune right, he said, “your brightest students have to help the next…until everybody comes up to standard because you want your school to be number one.”

He brought up the School in Pan programme of the Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM) in some East Port of Spain RC schools. “That experiment has been amazing. What we have seen, kids once they start waking up, how they work around the instrument.” A recording of the programme is available on the Eye on Dependency YouTube channel. —LPG