God Helps those who Help Themselves

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Alicia Chamely
By Alicia Chamely

MANY, many moons ago when I was in standard five, my classmates and I, in anticipation of the good old Common Entrance exam, began to explore religious fanaticism.

Be it a practice test or even a weekly quiz, every man jack started with a prayer. Soon crucifixes, amulets, healing crystals began getting pulled out of bags. Prayers turned into hymns and chants, rosaries turned into figurines, and each test was started by a class wide multi faith prayer service.

Had all of this gone unabated I can guarantee at some point the teachers would have arrived in their classrooms to find a lifesize Jesus on the cross and marigold adorned statue of Ganesh.


Well, our principal had, had enough of this over-the-top religious fervour that had overcome her students, whose behaviour at times closer resembled that of the man downstairs rather than the angels

So, one day, before a practice exam, as the hymns were being recited, she said, “Children, no matter
how hard you pray and ask God to help you do well, it wont work. God only helps those who help
themselves, so if you don’t study, your prayers aren’t going to get you a passing mark. I assure you the Lord has more pressing matters to attend too, which are far more deserving of miracles.”

And this resonated with us. Whether because we believed she was right, or we sensed that this woman who was known to launch blackboard erasers at your head with little to no warning, was fed up with our shenanigans, the over the top pre-exam spirituality rituals began to wind down.


“God only helps those who help themselves,” wise words indeed and words our Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher needs to hear.

Last week Sunday at a TTPS interfaith service at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, George Street, Port of Spain, our CoP threw her hands in the air (not really) and said, “We know with God’s grace and with his help, we will succeed. The tides will turn and we will see the success we desire.”

Yes top cop, keep praying and the Lord will appear to all the criminals of T&T and compel them to turn in their guns and drugs, to give up their murderous ways and instead of partaking in gang activities they will commit their time to helping the needy and mentoring youth. Preach sister!

Please, if prayers are your big crime plan, then we are screwed. We are barely halfway through January and every day it’s a new murder. Whether it be motivated by gangs or domestic violence, every day it’s bloodshed.

So, I hate to break it to our CoP, but I don’t think God is listening, because she isn’t helping herself and therefore, he can’t help her.


Instead of prayers, where are her plans for increased policing, mentoring programs in our schools and in our vulnerable areas? Maybe had she executed such mentoring initiatives a 15-year-old boy would not have beaten half to death by two other school age boys. Maybe we would see less out of control behaviour, more focused, empowered youths.

Where is her push to force our lawmakers to strengthen protective measures for those who have been victims of domestic violence? The demands to have men and woman who have restraining orders out against them, or are out on bail to be denied access to firearms? Had she been doing this instead of praying, then the Schamber and De Leon family would be looking forward to what the new year has to offer, instead of burying their mother and grandmother.

Maybe, if she didn’t have her head bowed down all the time, she would see the members of her police
force that are completely out of control. You know, like WPC of the St Joseph Police Station, who apparently forgot her job is to serve the people of T&T and doesn’t seem to realise in cases of a home invasion police need to be on the scene to collect any evidence etc.

Harewood-Christopher, like the rest of our government, opposition and all, are not serious, because if they were things would change. But, as I have said before, for things to change, they are going to have to upset some people and if they upset people, they won’t get votes. Power and greed are the spiritual entities that seem to be most worshipped here on the island of the lost.

Lord, if you are listening, I apologise for these jokers and until we the people hold them accountable, it’s completely understandable that you are ignoring our prayers. Please remind the CoP of her responsibilities and let us hope she learns the lesson I did at 11 years old… the Lord helps those who help themselves.


One thought on “God Helps those who Help Themselves

  1. ERLA has done this praying in a facetious manner. She must first do penance for 40 days. Complete all outstanding investigations that has be allegedly committed by the PNM and their Sycophants in public office and complete the praying process with a 9 days RAMAYAN at her residence at the ST JAMES BARRACKS

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