Trinidad and Tobago is rich in diversity and culture and there are many things in our history that creates a sense of national pride inclusive of the steel pan, music, sports, literature, and academia.
However, as we prepare to celebrate 61 years of independence, I am worried about what the future holds. Our country has lost its sense of direction and community, resulting in many people saying that the beloved twin island state is not a real place.
“T&T is not a real place.” A common sentiment uttered by many people and a simple explanation for the complex race, political and social issues that plague us here.
We have refused to take the time to analyse and deconstruct these issues and they have now festered into something that we cannot fully comprehend. Trinidad is a real place with real people and if we are not careful our national identity can easily be lost to the realities of crime and social injustices.
The turning away from religion and spirituality has resulted in lost sheep seeking their shepherd. Many people have grown desolate and restless but is this what we are called to? Have we given up our agency and our ability to fight against the things that destroy our land?
We cannot be satisfied with the status quo and be apathetic towards social injustices such as crime, poverty, and the breakdown of families.
For those of us who practice and adhere to our Catholic social justice principles we know that God calls us to solidarity. We must come together as a community and fight against the culture of violence, laziness and evil. This starts with having more discussions and conversations at the community level. Seek out the good in your neighbour and treat everyone with dignity and respect. As cliché as it may sound, we need to put love powered by God at the forefront of our actions, only then can we experience true change.
We must work together to build the common good.
Our lives and our realities will not change if all we do is complain. We must act and try to convert the hearts of those who have lost their way.
Many people are searching for ‘the living water’ because they are dying inside and that is reflected within our society. People walk the streets disgruntled and upset with life. You can make a difference in their lives.
To build the common good, we must build strong relationships and repair those that may be damaged. Strong relationships build strong communities, and this is the first step in the process of reclaiming our land from criminal elements.
The common good of society is only as strong as the mindset of the people who live there. If we do not strengthen our land with love, then we lose the opportunity to build a strong national identity and culture that will change the world.
Our goal should always be to make Trinidad and Tobago synonymous with love, peace, and prosperity.
As we celebrate our independence, I pray that we will live out our Catholic social justice principles. A national identity grounded in social justice will result in a social change that can lead to the advancement of our nation.
Our people must find their voices of love. Once we discover this, we can improve T&T for the better.
Always remember, Trinidad and Tobago is a real place.
May God bless our nation.
By Darrion Narine – Programme Manager, AMMR
The CCSJ asks for your support.
Catholic Commission for Social Justice
Account #: 290 458 025 501
Bank: Republic Bank Ltd.