PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Mar 28, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley Tuesday appealed to churches to revert to the days when they played a much more meaningful role in society saying it is needed now more than ever to curb the criminal activities, including murder in Trinidad and Tobago.
An estimated 605 people were murdered here last year and so far this year, the death toll has surpassed 130.
Speaking at the official handing over-ceremony of Hayes Court, the official residence of the Anglican Bishop of Port of Spain, Prime Minister Rowley said he was calling on the Bishop and his colleagues to do more to help in building the society.
He said there were too “many instances of the drug dealer, the gang leader…succeeding in replacing what the churches used to do.
“I don’t say this to denigrate anyone or to place blame on any particular sector of the national community. It is a responsibility that we all have and we should take note of what is happening to us,” Rowley told the ceremony, adding that the youths of the country must be protected.
“Many of our young people are being raised in homes where the parents do not pay any attention to the upbringing of those children, boys and girls, and when those children come out into the national community you see the deficiency.
“It is also a time in the history of the human race where religion plays a lesser and lesser role and I am not here speaking as a religious zealot or a member of any clergy (but) I do know that the teaching of the religious bodies would have contributed to that period of what we call the old time days when the kinds of behaviour we see now in our population was not the behaviour that we have been accustomed to”.
He warned that the gangs and other social ills of society were replacing the role of the parent and the church and that the future of the country must be protected.
“And if for any reason and that is the only reason why we encourage religion in our national community then that is a good enough reason.
“Many young people today are suffering from the existence of the vacuum where what religion was doing in engendering in your people an understanding that there is good and there is evil, that there is truth and there is falsehood, there is ambition and there is lack of ambition and that there is respect and disrespect and encourage them to differentiate between both sides and to take a side.
“In the absence of that, the behaviour in the national community is deteriorating and deteriorating rapidly because nothing useful is filling the vacuum that is left by the absence of the recognition of those comparisons,” Rowley said.
He told the ceremony that there is need to protect “the beauty of our children, the beauty of our country…and we should disregard those who tell you that Trinidad and Tobago is not a real place.
“Trinidad and Tobago is one of the finest nations in the world with the best prospect if we only acknowledge what has been given to us,” he said.
Hayes Court is one of the last of the Magnificent Seven buildings to be built on the Queen’s Park Savannah in the heart of the capital. It is grand house of French and English architectural style and named after Bishop Thomas Hayes for whom the house was originally intended.
However, Hayes Court became the official residence of the Anglican Bishop of Port of Spain although Bishop Hayes died before the building was completed in 1910.