In his sermon during mass at the Living Water Community Chapel on Sunday, Archbishop Jason Gordon identified corruption as a cancer endemic among us and that it has become hard for business people to live right.
Many have become enmeshed in sinning their souls in corruption just to keep their businesses alive, he lamented.
It is an observation well worth exploring, not only for recognising the extent of the problem. More importantly, plumbing its source is necessary to better understand the underlying conditions which create the fertile ground upon which it runs.
Drilling down deeply enough, as he sought emphasis on the point for pondering, Archbishop Gordon said it has become alarming the manner in which, and the extent to which some of us go in disrespecting others.
Part of his call on the other side of this deeply troubling coin, is that those of us who are on the receiving end, should take it, without instinct for like-minded response.
The public imagination is often gripped by exposés involving massive financial corruption. Less attention is paid, however, to the myriad small acts of daily corruption to which the average person feels obliged to acquiesce, just to get on with his or her life. It is not just business people who, when faced with the likely collapse of their endeavours, see no alternative but to engage in wrongdoing, for the express purpose of staying in the game. As Archbishop Gordon notes, many other “ordinary people” simply capitulate to the damning notion that there is no other way to survive.
The very foundation of inequity, injustice and inhumanity upon which our society has been constructed, provides ideal conditions for corruption to flourish. This is not the source of our problem, but rather a symptom of the historic disorder attending the birth of modern Trinidad and Tobago. Until the foundational problems are addressed, this culture of corruption will persist. This explains why it continues to thrive in the face of the existence of such an agency as the Integrity Commission and a raft of anti-corruption legislation.
When systems are unfair, unreasonable and unworkable, people feel compelled to do what they deem necessary, either to survive or to thrive. When such attitudes take root, they become normalised aspects of a culture.
The Archbishop’s alarm, real and pervasive as the subject of it is, comes nevertheless with an advisory just as critical. He urges us to absorb the negatives and the nastiness that may be flung our way. There is no glory in responding in kind, he urged for consideration and deep contemplation.
In doing so, we are creating a new platform for ourselves, towards helping to make of us even better human beings than we may imagine ourselves to be. “Trust (that) God will make the right decision for you,” he urges. We have to have faith in the society which for us is home, he insists, and it is from such a standpoint we can summon the courage and the determination to make the difference now woefully in short supply.
As bad as it may seem, every one of us, by our own choosing, can stand in the face of all that is ugly and defeating, determined to do better, and to be better, towards our collective advancement.