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Bishop: Crime symptom of ‘self survival’

By Richardson Dhalai Monday, May 12 2014

Crime has been described by a Roman Catholic bishop as symptomatic of a deeper national problem in which citizens have embarked on a system of “self survival” which includes lying, cheating and turning a blind eye to corrupt activities.

Bishop Robert Llanos made the bold statement while delivering the homily at the La Divina Pastora RC Church, Siparia, yesterday.

And with President Anthony Carmona and his family part of the large congregation which packed the church’s sanctuary and overflowed into the courtyard, Llanos said he would often “hear people say or refer to crime in Trinidad and Tobago as the problem. Crime is not the problem, crime is a symptom of the problem,” he declared.

“You want to know what is the problem? The problem is you and me,” he said.

“When I stand here in this community, when I see a child going the wrong way or a neighbour’s child and I say that is not my business, that is their business, I’m part of the problem,” he said. “When I say let the children be raised by the teachers of the school and the parish church, I am the problem.”

He continued, “We lie to ourselves, we could lie, and as long as we get away with the small, little things in our lives, ultimately the society begins to deteriorate to the point where no one trusts anyone, and when no one can trust anyone, everyone makes a mad grab for their own self survival, their own survival and their own self preservation.” He said many lie in their pursuit of power. “All those who want power in this life recognise that the one way we can accept, receive and get that power and preserve that power is by telling lies,” he said, as the large congregation nodded their heads and uttered “amen.”

However, Llanos said the Church could reverse this trend as long as believers kept reminding themselves that they were “new creations’ in Jesus Christ and were “brand new persons.”

Following the Mass, the statue of the La Divina Pastora (the Divine Shepherdess) was mounted atop an open tray van and paraded through the streets of Siparia while the faithful followed, chanting prayers and hymns in her wake. The procession was led by the members of the clergy, followed by schoolchildren with members of the congregation in its wake.

President Carmona did not join the procession and instead, after greeting members of the congregation, left after the Mass was completed. There was also a significant number of needy persons who lined the sidewalk leading to the church for alms from passers-by.

A heavy police presence was also on hand during the Mass and the procession as it made its way through the streets and back to the church yard.

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