Dismantle church, state partnership

TTUTA president urges reform

By JOEL JULIEN
Monday, April 25, 2016 – guardian.co.tt

BibleThe partnership between the church and the state at our schools must be dismantled as it is detrimental to our country, president of the T&T Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) Devanand Sinanan has said.

Sinanan said the Constitution defines this country as a “secular state” and therefore questioned “why should the state give monies to certain religious bodies to perpetuate their faith?”

“We are a secular society and while we must be tolerant and respectful of each other’s religious beliefs, we must not allow the lines that separate church from state to be blurred,” he said.

“As leaders we have a sacred duty to challenge systems and arrangements that are inimical to the overall well-being of the society, even if it means we incur the wrath and anger of those that benefit from the maintenance of the status quo,” Sinanan said.

Sinanan called on current Education Minister Anthony Garcia to review the Concordat “as it is inimical to the development our country” and “perpetuates a class differential.” Sinanan said the “church-state arrangement is naked privatisation disguised as a partnership.”

“The state gives monies, large sums of it, to private entities to run schools as they see fit, at their whim and fancy, to own conveniently when it suits them.”

But even as Sinanan called for a separation of the two, Garcia signalled the government’s intention to strengthen the bond between church and state.

“We looked at violence and indiscipline in our schools and this is an area where really and truly TTUTA and the Ministry of Education have been holding hands in working together,” Garcia said. Garcia said the 1960 Concordat was being looked at.

“It is never our intention to diminish the role of the church in education in fact it is our intention to strengthen the role the church can play in education,” Garcia said.

Sinanan and Garcia were speaking at TTUTA’s 37 anniversary function held at Centre Point Mall’s Auditorium on Saturday night. Teachers who retired over the last calender year recognised were given special tokens and a certificate.

Source: www.guardian.co.tt/news/2016-04-25/dismantle-church-state-partnership

19 Responses to “Dismantle church, state partnership”


  • You do not dismantle what has worked and is working.

  • Trinidad is not those Nordic nations rather a relationship does exist between church and state. A healthy one to.

  • DISMANTLE IT! I WANT A State-HINDU Partnership! Let “Us” Move These Christians out of the way!

    • Idiot, it may surprise you but the denominational schools do not have a problem with fights or children indiscipline. Have you ever wondered why? All these fights and indiscipline is in the public school system.

  • Developed nation nonsense.

  • I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments of TUTTA President, Devanand Sinanan. It is pragmatic and the winners will be the taxpayers, teachers, parents and the very said government, whose policy it is now to allow the ‘church’ to be so controlling in the education of our children. In defense of the situation as it now exists, many would contend that the schools showing the most promise are those in whose control the church has major interests. And that is exactly where our problems exist.

    Our history is one in which the church played the major roles in educating our population. From building the physical structures to taking the lead and finding the means to educate them, the church was the most aggressive and formidable force in pushing education to all the children of the country, instead of just the Planters’ and well-to-do children. In asking for the dismantling of the system, one must not be ignorant of history as it pertains to the present. When the Europeans occupied our country, their interests served them economically and socially viable to have an educated Plantation elite with upper class subservients to protect their interests. They did not cater for the slaves, descendants of slaves or later indentured immigrants to have easy access to a good education. The Church, was the only institution, based on its christian message to have sympathy and concern for what happens to the poor and downtrodden in society.
    Since it was not government’s policy to so do. They had the moral, ethical and authoritative values to pursue the steps needed to educate the poor and dis-enfranchised in our society.
    The Planter class did not care a hoot if if these children were educated or not, as long as they maintained their superiority over the masses.

    But times have changed. Everything else has changed. When Dr. Eric Williams entered the political scene, educating the masses was his number one priority and he delivered on his promise to make education available to every sector of the society. In so doing, he had to have the commitment of the Church because of their historical roles in educating the poor. And that was impressive.

    The Church, in historical terms, was the institution which laid the foundations for society’s norms and etiquette. What the Church asked of society was always important and still do today.
    But the Church of yesteryear and the church of today are different, very different from the callings and objectives of the ‘freedom’ fighter church of our history. The Church today, is laden with questionable motives in terms of their objectives and commitment to society. As far as their involvement in education is concerned,they operate more as fiefdoms, than an institution concerned with the formation of unified societal norms towards a better society. As far as the funding is concerned, government provide 100 per cent of the funding while the church takes advantage of using the taxpayers money to do as it pleases. There are some recorded cases in which Church elites made their own rules on who to educate and who not to educate.
    This was NEVER the intent of the early church into education.
    The taxpayers money is to educate ALL OF THE NATION’S CHILDREN.
    When Church leaders run afoul of this objective, it is time the government take over the leader and make the rules on how education is conducted and administered in this country.

    • Your bias shows as although the church is made of people who at times have fallen short their intent always meant well for the entire society and they lived by commitment often knowing fully well that gratitude is NOT something God wants them to look out for rather to do His works in the wider society RELENTLESSLY WHICH IS WHAT THEY HAVE DONE FOR US. The Brits and Yankees came to take what they could get of our natural resources. You know the Brits are so false with all their negative advisories on T&T over the years and before this all the Scotland Yardies, Trent etc. that took and took from us over the years… WHY DO THEY NOT JUST PACK UP AND LEAVE US ALONE?

      So you need to go read some more about their good deeds in our history. You are like most here you take half truths and cut and paste and spin the facts to look good. i would advise that you go and have your head checked.

      • Jerry, if you really read my comments, you would find that I have in fact praised the church, for its historical role in educating our children. The Church have in fact done what you suggest, “rather to do His works in the wider society RELENTLESSLY WHICH IS WHAT THEY HAVE DONE FOR US”.
        But that was in the past. The Church today is lacking. They are less concerned about spreading Christ’s message to those who need it most, AND MORE OCCUPIED political issues such as abortion and fails to address homosexuality in the ranks of the priesthood. You and I have had the experience of knowing The Church, when it was operating at its best. Today, its politics is not concerned with helping the poor and needy. It is not too concerned about spreading the word of Christ and encouraging love and peace among all men. Even though I am not Catholic, I was aggrieved when I was not selected for Presentation College, because acceptance there meant the world to me.
        The Church have failed in it’s commitment to saving the souls of our young people and inspiring them to a life of love for humanity. Materialism have become the norm and objective of the Church. We are an independent nation now and should not allow our norms to be formed by what the Brits or Europeans think. The Church needs to be an important factor in forging unity and calm in the land but we hardly hear their voices. Their voices need to be louder in saving the lives of our misguided youths and young people today. I am not biased against the church. I am disappointed that the efforts of the church is not inspiring.

        • You should check yourself. As said long before my time the greatest enemy is yourself. Do not blame the church because you do have closure on your loss there and spin the facts so that you are still grieving your loss. I have had numerous more losses than you which have inspired me to write about the wrongs in our society. I gave in to the wrongs after reality set in. Yes I fought them and still do in another way. Likewise the members of the catholic church were/are not perfect but perhaps your kind expect that. All human beings fall short. I have fallen short and I always will because God has a path to perfection for me and I need to learn and understand over my years here on earth. I have a free will to will myself back to God over time. He created ALL OF US. What makes some of us outstanding is the ability to overcome. Get off your emotional acts and see the true light of Jesus.

          • Jesus once said “He who is without sin cast the first stone” They wanted to stone the prostitute to her death in those dreadful days. They all walked away and then Jesus told the lady – I will not condemn you.

        • The government NOT the church are the ones responsible for educating you. We the taxpayer pays the bill.

        • You need to understand that the minute Eric Williams and his PNM won the 1956 election the Brits and the Yankes knew he wanted back all the countries systems to run the country as a profitable republic but The Brits and Yankees both from inside and outside began pulling the rug from under him. Perhaps you do not know why Mittal has now walked. That plant was first called ISCOTT and the USA killed that company way back then as they taffited the steel from the plant going into the US markets and the company folded and sold off the company by the bastard PNM working behind Eric’s back. Remember Amoco had made over $600 Billion USD off trinidad oil in the 70s. No tariffs were imposed on them. The Ammonia Plants in T&T were owned then by Peter Grace from the USA so their faith was not met the same way. Do you not find that as strange. The Methanol plants had European connections and the deals began there for cheap natural gas or in some cases free natural gas. While Eric Williams’ dream was a good one the falsepapered, visionless members in his cabinet was more into the grease hand in every deal. They allowed in all the nasty foreigners along with the local french creole and local syrian players who are simply “suckers” of our economy. So your past PNM has failed you NOT the church

      • To cement my point Jerry, you need to go no further than this article in the Newsday

        http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,227104.html

        There are those who blind themselves into clothing their beliefs that in this country, all we need to say is “all ah we is one” and it becomes so. Religion, as practiced in this country today, confuses more than it enlightens.
        Let us look at things more perceptively at the way they are, rather than the way we hope it is.

        • Again you read one side of the story and there you go. You are PNM right and ….everything they did was right eh. You are PNM till you dead. You are so blind. Its persons like you that are allowing the PNM to turn us into another Nigeria. I suggest you take off the blinkers. Perhaps you should go into the same church you have condemned, say your peace with God and I believe He will help you see the truth and the light.

        • Kian free up your mind with this. This is intention of the goodly Archbishop. The PNM took out Sharma and put in Archie.

          OH HAPPY DAY
          JADA LOUTOO and DARCEL CHOY Friday, April 29 2016

          click on pic to zoom in

          FOR 28 long years, Albert Edwards knew no life other than the one spent behind prison walls.

          At 48, Edwards yesterday walked out of the Port-of-Spain prison a free man, having been ordered released.

          He immediately went into the loving embrace of his daughter Tina, who was just two, when he went to jail after being convicted in 1988 for the murder of Laventille shopkeeper Faustin St Louis. She celebrated her 30th birthday on Monday.

          Interviewed outside the prison walls, Edwards said he was feeling very, very happy. “It hasn’t soaked in as yet but I can tell you that I am feeling very happy,” he said.

          Edwards said he just wants to go home to his family and be a model family-man and citizen. He shared some advice to young people saying, “you have to be serious with the choices you make, because you could take one chance and that chance could cost you your life. It could cost you many, many years away from those you love.” His mother Iris was emotional when she got the news of her son’s release. “I cry, I cry, I cry! Oh God! Thank you Jesus. Thank you Lord.

          I feel happy,” the devout Roman Catholic gushed, as she struggled to hold back tears. Those tears were tears of joy. “He went in when he was about 19 or so,” she recounted in an interview at her Laventille Road home yesterday. She intends to hold a prayer service to thank God for her son’s release.

          HE SMILED EVEN IN JAIL

          “I am a praying woman. I prayed and prayed all these years. I thank God for his mercies,” Iris said with a wide smile on her face. She said although her son was cognisant of what he had done, he was optimistic and used the opportunity in prison to continue his education.

          He attained four O’Level passes and regularly attended Bible classes. He had no bad record against him in jail, she said. “When I visited he would always have a smiling face,” she said. Iris also said she was very happy when she heard of Archbishop of Port-of-Spain Joseph Harris’ appeal for Presidential pardons for prisoners found worthy of mercy in celebration of the Catholic Church’s celebration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, from December 8, 2015 to November 20.

          While she admits that Trinidad and Tobago is not the same society as the one her son left behind when he first went to jail, she is optimistic that notwithstanding the current crime situation, he will easily reintegrate into family life and carve his unique niche as a citizen.

          “I will make sure of that,” she said, confidently.

          As a mother she knows very well how difficult it is to control the actions of children. “Some guys are mislead. My child ended up the same way,” she said. Iris noted that while her family is not rich, they had the basic necessities that what happened to Albert was not done out of poverty but because he had been misled by peers.

          “The old people have a saying, ‘Friends can carry you but they don’t bring you back’, and that is so very true,” she said. Now, she says, “He is a full man now. He’s got to realise his mistakes and pick up the pieces…but thank God for life.” She does not believe that her son will stray again as he did when he was a young man having paid for youthful misdeeds, by losing 28 years of his life to prison. He met, for the first time yesterday, his granddaughter Nakiyah, nine.

          MURDER CHANGED TO MANSLAUGHTER

          Edwards was freed yesterday by appellate court judges Justices Paula Mae Weekes, Alice Yorke- Soo Hon and Mark Mohammed who held that his murder conviction could not be upheld and instead, substituted it with one of manslaughter in accordance with recent principles handed down in the UK House of Lords ruling on the law of ‘joint enterprise.’ According to their ruling, it was clear there was nothing in the prosecution’s case against Edwards capable of allowing the finding of fact that he intended that St Louis be killed or caused grievous bodily harm. They also agreed that since the offence of robbery was inherently dangerous as it contemplated violence, manslaughter was an appropriate substitution. They also held such a conviction (manslaughter) carries a sentence ranging from 15 to 25 years, Edwards – having been in custody for 28 calendar years – spent “far in excess of any sentence that would have been properly imposed by the court”, and they ordered that the 28 years he spent in prison be deemed as ‘time served’, for his manslaughter conviction. At the appeal, the State conceded that Edwards’ murder conviction should be set aside.

          Edwards and another man, Angel Thomas, were convicted on May 15, 1992, for the murder of St Louis on October 14, 1988. St Louis was killed during a robbery at his supermarket at Laventille Road in Morvant. Thomas died in prison.

          Edwards did not receive leave to challenge his conviction at the Privy Council but sometime later, his attorneys approached the President asking that his case be remitted to the Court of Appeal, after it was discovered that a Justice of the Peace who was involved in his case, had been convicted of fraud.

          Edwards was represented by Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes, Imran Ali and Michael Bullock while Senior Counsel Gilbert Peterson and Amerelle Francis appeared for the State.

          • Jerry, I think you are reading me totally wrong. My attack is not on the christian religion, the christian beliefs system or christianity as a whole.
            My attack is on the naiveté with which the christians, wily nilly believes that hinduism parallels christianity without taking the differences into consideration. That acceptance comes at the perils of those who do not question the differences. The gist of my comments hinges on this naiveté.

  • Are you guys against, Lashkmi, Asja and Shiva high schools?

    • What do you think? Do you think these schools educate our children to be better citizens of this land? I would be happy to hear how that is demonstrated.

    • Are “you” guys (Hindu,lakshmi girls,shuva boys,Brilliant Idiot etc) against DARK SKIN & AFRICAN FACIAL FEATURES???Are These Schools Racist/Discrimanatory against in admittance and treatment of Africans??? Eh???

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