By Prior Beharry
SOME religious leaders are calling on government to assist in taking their pulpits into hotspots to rebuild spiritual values and help fight crime with the support of the police.
This was the call made by pundits and imams at Madeo’s Mini Plaza in Aranguez on Wednesday.
Pundits Bramanand Rambachan, Jairam Seeram, Umdatt Maharaj and Satyanand Maharaj along with Imams Imtiaz Ali and Kazim Ali held a press conference to discuss crime in the San Juan area at the site where businessman Cheval Ramjattan was murdered outside his pharmacy last week.
Rambachan said nothing has come out of the crime forum of Caribbean leaders in Port of Spain last week.
He said, “The only thing that will change this course of direction is if the government of Trinidad and Tobago support the clergy… and allow us to take our pulpits out of the mandirs, the masjids and the churches and support us with the police service and allow us to go up into the communities and rebuild the communities and rebuild the spiritual values and rebuild the spirituality in people by communication with the younger generation to build the nation back.”
Speaking with his wife Shrimatie Shanta at his side, Rambachan called the government to support this “call to action” saying he will ask for a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to present him with a proposal.
He said more police vehicles and soldiers on the streets have not solved the crime situation.
Rambachan said, “We have to come up with a plan to reeducate, to remodel, to refashion, to reshape the youths.”
Imtiaz Ali said the country was crying because of the number of serious murders and the government must recognise the role that the denominational schools were playing.
He said throwing money at the criminals would not solved the problem. Ali said the family was the most important institution.
The Muslim prison chaplain said many of the inmates have a lot of children. He said, “One guy told me he had 14 children outside and they really needed help. Brother, you needed help first.”
Umdatt Maharaj said the elders must encourage people to get back to the churches as there was a drop in the attendance in religious institutions due to too many distractions.
“What is important, we as elders must inculcate the others, the young ones in particular, to return to the place of religion – be it the mosque, be it the church, be it the temple.”
He said the place of worship is where people get all their learning. Citing the Bhagavad Gita, he said all actions were ordained by the scripture.