Lords, hear ye my prayers

By Raffique Shah
December 06, 2009

Patrick Manning and Basdeo PandayFROM today and until such time as I lose faith in the many manifestations of God that most people believe in, I revoke my agnosticism in the interest of my country. Given the multiple blights that seem to have overrun this country, I have no choice but to turn to the deities in a bid to restore some semblance of sanity to the only nation to which I bear true faith and allegiance.

Almighty Olodumare, oh Bhagwan, oh Allah, Jah, the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost, oh Jehovah and others I may have omitted (spare my ignorant soul), I appeal to Thee to have mercy on my beloved country. We have sinned, Almighty Ones. And although I know I am not personally liable (I confess to having committed some minor infractions), I ask Thee to intervene, to save my people from a fate as bad as a combination of Patrick Manning, Marlene McDonald, Colm Imbert and Basdeo Panday.

I know, Bhagwan, the above mentioned sound worse than the West Indies cricket team at its best. But I fear it gets nastier, oh Allah. We lesser mortals are hearing that Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Ramesh Maharaj have joined the battle for leadership of a corpse that will soon be heading for Hell, by-passing your Pearly Gates, fuelled by Trini-ethanol. For Satan’s sake, let’s hope there is not one almighty calamity when their puncheon-rum-propelled squid hits Hellfire Hall.

Oh Olodumare, what grave sins have brought us to this sorry pass? I know you must be nauseated by the bursaries, not scholarships (according to spin-doctor Neil Parsanlal), that were granted under a cloak of secrecy, to sundry poor souls who carry only BlackBerry phones. Meanwhile children die from congenital diseases for lack of funds. Thousands of people cannot afford their daily bread that you ordained.

Jesus, some of those listed as having received largesse from government have since denied they got a cent (yes, Father, we still have that coin, although it’s not worth a fart-hing).

So, Holy Ghost, if I may be loose with my language, tell me: way de $46 million gone? I am writing this on Friday morning, Lord, knowing Minister McDonald will come with some cock-and-bull story later today. I pray for her soles: they are under mucho pressure. The lady inherited the mess. Her sin was to deny the public details of this slush fund er, scholarships no, bursaries.

I know, too, oh Lord, you must be angry seeing our leaders worshipping Mammon, sipping from golden goblets, prostrating before Chinese-made super-structures, kneeling on velvet altars. The Anointed One, Jah, seems to have forgotten your injunction: it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the filthy-rich to enter heaven. Forgive him, Lord-he knows not what he does, and he does not give a damn anyway.

As for the pseudo-devotee-with-snarling-features, Bhagwan, what can I say that will appease you? You and I know (and I am in no way comparing my limited knowledge with your omniscience) that he brings down the wrath of Kali on his enemies rather than sing praises to you. It will get worse between now and when the house-of-straw so many helped him build crashes. He will bark at and bite the hands that, until yesterday, remained clasped in obeisance to him.

He has elevated himself to Bhagwan-on-earth. In your name he has vowed to lead his blind flock to the Promised Land, to relieve the Anointed One of the marble palace. But we know the only place he has led his people to is Never-Never-Land, also known as Permanent Opposition, a cussed territory if ever there is one. Like purgatory, it’s worse than Hell.

To compound our woes, we now have two other blind contenders who believe they will be king or queen in the land of one-eyed people. Yeah, I know it should be the other way round, but not in this country. Here, we have everything upside-down, even the best hotel in town.

Lord, what grave sins did our forebears commit, what did we do to be saddled with this motley group of misfits? In your generosity you blessed us with a land of milk and honey-well, almost. They have turned this Paradise into a barren place. There is no room here for intelligent people, for reasoned discussion, for those who put country before self, those who seek to maintain and build upon what you generously gave us.

I have lodged my complaints with your Lordships-Olodumare, Jah, Bhagwan, Allah, Jesus, Jehovah. I await deliverance from the evil ones that stalk the country. I seek relief from mediocrity that passes for divinity. I don’t think you have abandoned the people of Trinidad and Tobago-you are not that kind of deity. I shall keep the faith, as my brethren would say, but only for so long.

Lest I witness the wretches feel your wrath like Lot’s wife and Ramses and Rawan did, I shall have no choice but to revert to agnosticism. I don’t mean to threaten your Lordships, but you understand my frustration. Amen.

Trinidad and Tobago News Blog’s URL for this article:

17 thoughts on “Lords, hear ye my prayers”

  1. Proverbs 21:17: “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.”

  2. Giving up on the traditional representations of god, I instead offer nightly prayers to a blue waters bottle. Through experiments, I estimate the prayer answer rate to be approximately equal to that when I pray to any of the common representations of god (Allah, Jesus, Ram, Jehovah, etc).

    Mr. Shah, I have consulted my water-bearing deity and I have received the following message. It is somewhat crpytic, however I am just the messenger and I an unable to alter the clarity of the message.

    “… oh Believer…drink from my ocean of knowledge…the troubles that befall your country and countrymen are as a direct result of the false prophet and irrelevant demagogue that rule over your brethren with iron fists…tis somewhat their fault though they are merely pawns in an eternal ethnic war…spread the word to your countrymen that these pillars of anti-progress, these paragons of maximum leadership need to be torn down in order to deliver yourselves to the holy land…”

    I’m not sure what it means Mr. Shah. Given your new found faith, I was hoping that you could offer me a hand in decrypting my message. Please Mr. Shah, our country is at stake here.

  3. Might I offer a stab at decoding this message, hear goes – get rid of all those who continue to gang rape this country, they have taken away the dignity of our beloved country, but what is worst, is that some of the rapists claim to be fathers of this nation. They continue to play on the emotions of an unsuspecting populace. They keep their people in a state of dependency for one purpose, so they could continue to come back to them every five yrs and promise everything from a ten days to developed status, we all know which one is actually delivered. Looking forward to more from the blue waters bottle.

  4. Don’t you wish that the prays was about something significant ,and not the usual distracting nonsense that we are fed daily by the elite agents of the 4th estate that repeatedly feign concern about the disgusting plight of most of our desperate citizens stuck in the throes of economic depravity? How about extricating Trinidad and Tobago form the lawlessness it found itself in , thus making it a new member of the murder capital club like Brazil, Jamaica ,Columbia and Mexico before it?
    Like Costa Rica , Dominican Republic , some exotic parts of Asia ,and new Europe ,Trinidad and Tobago too is struggling from a terrible economic downturn .
    Nevertheless, these countries still offers some attraction to tourist with means , in search of a bit of decadence , escapism, and investment opportunities.
    As such ‘sex tourism,’ has become the norm as folks from both genders become easy prey since many are either under employed , or cannot survive on subsistent income. What do we have as a response ? You’ve guessed it , ‘Governmental bobolies,’ that rushes around like ‘headless chicken,’ while investing in senseless grandiose projects with limited returns for the poor , or reverting to reactionary , knee jerk posturing, each time another catastrophe emerges.
    On the other side of an imaginary political divide , we are subjected to a disingenuous ,and chiefly clueless Opposition ,that are evidently incapable of conjuring up an original , coherent ,political plan that can find favor with the majority of our people ready and willing to offer support.
    This group prefers to preach to the converted about ludicrous victimization plots , point fingers at others for perennial failures , while encouraging privileged members of the base to run for cover in foreign lands as they bide their time ,while keeping their fingers cross for a miracle like that which unfortunately occurred in Guyana some decades ago once the pseudo African Burnam departed the scene, to be replaced by his life long Marxist dentist buddy Cheagan ,his white American wife, and adopted nephew Jagdeo.
    I’ll prostrate to some deity and add to Uncle Shah’s lamentations – “Lord put a hand, but if you sense that such is insufficient in pulling us out of this mammoth quagmire , then please put a foot.”
    By the way what’s the price for a 2010 Carnival costume,would my band be allowed onto the newly constructed 500million dollar white elephant or the dirty QPS Grandstand again , and can I still afford a carnival baby?

  5. If the Litmus Test for Leaders or potential Leaders of our country included competence,honesty and integrity, nobody among those declared would dare run for office. Go figure.

  6. Thanks Errol for your novel, awe inspiring observations. There it is then , time to make a trip to Saturn or Pluto to see if we can find more capable, competence, honesty ,candidates,laden with integrity . While we are at it, perhaps we should get rid of this pointless Westminster system as well, as fun loving Trinis would certainly enjoy the more democratic Teheran theocracy , or Putin’s Russian simi KGB , corrupt model instead.

  7. Hello Neal,
    Thank you ever so much for enlightening me on the relationship between the philosophical models that you highlighted. And kudos for having the vision to include the word Democracy as a means of legitimizing your observation. You made one error, I think. You have it backwards in my view as the Westminister system is not pointless. It can be said with a profound degree of accuracy that we continue to fail miserably as proponents of that system because this is one component that we cannot mimic successfully and never will. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

  8. Your prayer sounds like one out of desperation Raff. Every country has its unique problems. In a democracy we the people are supposed to elect persons to represent us. They work for us, we do not work for them and they are accountable to the people. The history of politics in T&T has been based on race. It is only when Trinis put their country first instead of party or race would we see an improvement in government and politics.

    People are probably afraid to speak out for fear of their lives with the crime situation being what it is and the connections between politicians and criminals. We must continue to pray and educate the population to take back their country from corrupt politicians.

  9. Hello Kameel,
    I hope that you do not mind my responding to a component of your valued observation. It has to deal with your reference to the population taking back their country from corrupt politiians.

    How do you go about educating a population that is cut from the identical piece of cloth from which the politicians have emerged? We are a corrupt society and we would be in denial if we thought otherwise. The degree of corruptability differs by degree, influence and opportunity. Our values have changed dramatically for the worse since Independence, don’t you think?

  10. “People are probably afraid to speak out for fear of their lives with the crime situation being what it is and the connections between politicians and criminals.” You have it absolutely wrong Ali, it is our democratic neighbors Guyana where political opponents and their supporters disappear for as little as disagreeing with the policy of the ruling regime.
    As for the matter of race,T&T joins a long line of countries that places race over country as well.
    If you doubt me , then ask the indigenous, and desperate minority peoples of Australia,Brazil, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, USA , Canada , and South Africa.
    You just cannot ask a man or woman to love nation first ,when they consistently are fed the crumbs of the country , and others are getting ahead at their expense ,as well as through corrupt wheeling and dealing. Catch my drift?

  11. Thanks for your comments Neal. I don’t believe everyone in T&T is corrupt. There has to be a grassroots movement to bring good change to T&T. It is a small society and it is difficult to not be influenced by our surroundings.
    We live in a time where most or all nations are suffering from economic recession. Some people who do not have, may think it is their right to take from those who do have more. This leads to lawlessness and increase in crime. Despite being the wealthiest nation in the Western Hemisphere per capita, T&T faces numerous challenges that will hamper development, progress and future investments.

    Giving up should not be an option. In addition. no one should be above the law. Everyone should be held accountable for their actions. I believe T&T is now the murder capital of the Caribbean. God help us, as we repent of our sins against Him and our neighbors. Have we lost our soul as a nation?

  12. You are correct cousin Ali, the majority of our nationals are honest , hard working decent folks. Unfortunately hopelessness and despair has gained the upper hand amongst many. As important as politics is however, I am not too certain that we can totally depend on it alone to solve our problems .
    I would like to see new culture emerge via a greater involvement by socially conscious business entrepeuners ,along with a vibrant civil society devoid of hidden agendas.
    They are the ones that should take the lead in nudging any grass roots movement towards achieving the “good,” you are anticipating.
    Stay strong.

  13. As I read some of these remarks, I am amazed by the ignorance
    within my country of T&T. I do pray that those in authority take
    the time and truly read Romans CH.1 VERSES 21–32. which is found in the New Testament of the Holy Bible God Almighty Words

  14. I am trying to develop a youth mentoring organization to generate hope and purpose amongst young people in need , with a view to ensuring that sound leaders can emerge therein.One of the very simple , yet chief advice I like to give most young is that it is virtually impossible to “ play police and thief” all at the same time. One just must make a choice.In our Trini convoluted political context ,it is clear that to be effective , one must either be a champion for the poor ,needy , and neglected, or have one’s face so fixated up the rear end of the local ,greedy rich backers , abled , and well to do elites, that a microscope has to be used to find it , and in the final analysis ,nothing new as far as meaningful social changes ever emerge.
    So now that Kamla Persad-Bissessar has finally proven uncle Shah predictions wrong as far as the early UNC political forays outcome, and so assumed leadership of a corpse destined for Hell, the question now is ,does he still fear that she and -in his words -her “puncheon-rum-propelled squid” can avoid a “spill into Hellfire ,” or that she possess the capability of maneuvering her party into better fortunes of the Pearly Gates of national power, so as to restore good, and fair governance , in keeping with Westminster noble traditions?”
    I do not think that another woman has excited this nation of ours to this extent , outside of the beautiful , and charming Janelle Penny Commission. Penny IN 78, made us feel very proud to be citizens of this beautiful land, and the world at large, for with a bikini, a smile , and simple endearing answers to a couple trick questions , she enabled an insignificant, Third world country to compete with the best in terms of beauty, intelligence , grace ,and humility yet still come out a winner.
    Just like during our yearly two days of decadent Carnival, we the overjoyed folks of Rainbow nation , placed our differences aside , and pretended as Tobago Lord Nelson said in popular song that ‘all ah we ah one family,’ as we celebrated the first black Miss Universe. Kinds of reminds us of Obama , as it were, yes?
    It is always natural for people in a budding democracy to have hope , and T&T is no different to other countries laden with potential ,whose people have suffered years of mismanagement , and neglect under the successive hands of clueless, idea devoid leadership .
    I could not help but remember the South Asian nation of Pakistan , for they too took a chance on a female leader at one time , but in the end , either through disgust , or nostalgic over abhorrent abuse ,and misuse , eventually kicked her out of office , pushed her into exile , and help murder her with one of the numerous bombs they taught their close Taliban / Pakistan Madrases educated cousins to build and use , all with the help of American military aid, and tactic approval.
    I so happened to be working on an assignment in Pakistan during her reign , and could not help but notice some of the unusual paradoxes that existed then ,that eventually led to what we have today , as that country tries to play police and thief while attempting to magically balance modernism, with traditionalism, and still come out smelling like a rose.
    It had for example,the Muslim nuclear bomb, was a close Cold War ally of the USA, poverty reigned supreme, corruption and neglect was the order- particularly for women , children ,Christians ,and all lower caste citizens- and yet here was this charismatic westernize woman making promises that were obviously too difficult to fulfill ,in a stubborn , tribalistic patriarchal society .
    There she as PM could not shake a mans hand in public, her uncontrollable ,then arraigned marriage husband was accused of stealing 10% of every governmental contract that she was involved in, there were no public schools ,or public transport, women weren’t allowed to played sports, kids were running around begging in the streets daily , a woman could not choose a husband unless her father approves,in Karachi 100 or more people were being murdered daily without it even making news, and the privileged stroll around the capital Islamabad , eating foreign delicacies , or drinking British teas at the Marriott ,and pretended that all was well in the country, and in neighboring Afghanistan where the few remaining Mujahadeens still held sway , against the then unknown young student- aka Taliban.
    We know how this police and thief gamesmanship ended in 2007 for the dupatta flaunting ,western educated ,first woman Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who only pretended to be a pious Muslim as a way to downplay her Western lifestyle and boost her voter appeal.


    What would a similar police and thief move mean , for Auntie Kamla Persad-Bissessar, if she too is successful as Benazia Bhutto did in taking her party into the promise land of humongous power ,influence , and untold riches? Can someone have her know that our ever skeptical Uncle Shah , along with yours truly ‘the unpaid political advisor,’ is watching,and unlike other ardent ,effervescent fans, tend to “take no prisoners,” no matter how tempting , irrespective of gender, race , and creed ,in keeping with the habits of old schooled military and paramilitary folks .
    We do need to remain diligent if the end game is to “restore some semblance of sanity, to a nation that some of us still choose to “bear true faith and allegiance.”

Comments are closed.