Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 22nd 2013 Contents interview
www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2013
with Clevon Raphael
No crime, violence can undermine Christmas message...
We are solely to blame for the crime and violence
against adults and especially against our innocent
children. Look at our murders. Wasn t it on yesterday s
paper which said we are nearing the 400 mark for
homicides in 2013?
(Voiced raised and adamantly stressing) Now God
is not responsible for that! We are responsible for
the way that we manage our affairs and the way we
form our governments. The brutal murders have
exceeded last year s total. Something has to be wrong
We have to listen to our heavenly father, but we
(arms outstretched in bewilderment) are the ones
who have turned away and are not listening to Him.
Don t we pray to the almighty to protect us from
evil and so on?
He has been doing it, but we have...man has been
so evil that we can tell God no...We want to do our
business and boy have we been doing it. (A cynical
glance at the ceiling) I am blaming the human mind
and the human choice for the runaway crime we
have in Trinidad.
Clevon, your very first question relates to crime
in the country, and I am happy you are staying on
this topic as the whole country is staying on this
question of violence, crime, sexual exploitation, and
abuse and so on of children.
Rev, from your vantage point, because I know
as a man of the cloth you should be concerned
more than the average citizen about that terrible
fate some of our children are facing these days,
have you been able to come up with a specific cause
of this terrible scourge on us as a people?
Yes Clevon, family life in T&T is in a bad state,
especially marriage, and I have been looking at some
of these child molestation cases, the abuse of children,
the brutal murders of children...and whether you
and I feel offended, a lot of people are going to feel
offended about what I have to say but...
Go right ahead Rev, let s hear it, no matter
who it hurts.
Clevon, I know there are rare, good step-
fathers, but let me tell you something, and
let us sit down and look at the statistics
carefully, you would see how many of these
children suffered at the hands of their step-
fathers. You know why? That is not his
child. Now we do have good stepfathers,
but we have to watch this very carefully, a
child is in the care of a stranger that is not
his or her father.
Are we in a rather macabre way having
our own story of Herod?
Of course! (In a burst of semi religious
fervor) Herod the king, he killed the children,
all the babies under the age of two years.
And the same thing is happening today...
we have our Herods. They are molesting
children, they re persecuting children, they
are murdering children, and we have that
today in our country. God is responsible for
What about the Children s Authority
Somebody recently said it is taking so
long to effectively operate the Children s
Authority for one reason or the other. But
tell me, do you really think we should expect
God to come down and proclaim, and more
importantly enforce this legislation?
You don t think God couldn t influence
the authorities to move faster for the sake
of the at-risk children?
That s my point, Clevon. He has not made
us robots. He has given to us a mind to
think, has given to us choices. This free will
is very important, because if we did not get
it, you and I would be just like all the toys
they are selling us for Christmas.
If God wanted to come and implement
the Children s Authority, He would come
here and chain all of us to think in a par-
ticular way, and then He could have
destroyed the most beautiful thing he has
made, which is to give us the freedom to
To kill and maim each other?
(Quickly responding) No. He never said
it like that; He said thou shall not kill, and
I agree with you zeroing on children at this
Christmas time. You know what Jesus said?
"If anyone of you should cause any of these
little ones to stumble, it were better that a
millstone be placed around your neck and
placed not in the sea, but in the deepest
part of the ocean." Not in Black Rock in
Rev, we keep hearing from successive
governments that they are fighting the
crime scourge and violence in the society,
but nothing seems to be working for us.
What s your take on this score?
(Another calming sip from the bottled
water) We don t have the political will and
courage as a nation to deal with the crime
and violence, and this is why over the last
decade they have failed, toute bagai (every-
one). You know why?
"I have my own crime plan and yours is
not good. Wait until I get in power and my
crime plan will be implemented.
"I am not going to support your crime
plan because you are the Government and
my job in the Opposition is not to make
you look good.
"I know in my conscience and my mind
that crime plan or our crime plan put togeth-
er is good for T&T, but to France with that.
"We not going to do that. I going to be
in power, and I will show how my plan will
work" (slapping his palms in disgust).
All our leaders must come together?
And really, the man in the street doesn t
care about which party is in power, you
know. When I speak about leaders, I talk
about governance, and the grassroots don t
care who govern, we want to make sure you
govern the country properly.
Peace and goodwill prevails
Continues from Page A8
Rev Daniel Teelucksingh
'If God wanted to
come and implement
Authority, He would
come here and chain
particular way, and
then He could have
destroyed the most
beautiful thing he has
made, which is to give
us the freedom to
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