Our forefathers in their wisdom gave us watchwords to ensure the nation’s success. They are Discipline, Tolerance and Production.

The first of the three – Discipline – lags behind in our progression towards the future.

Tolerance is ideally expressed and Production is a wounded soldier who seems unable to engage in further battle even if the fight is for T&T.

It is our discipline I am most concerned about especially in these troubled times we live in. The word discipline comes from the Latin word discipulus which means pupil.

Discipulus also provided the source of the word “disciple” which referred to a follower of Christ. The word discipline also means the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour, using punishment to correct disobedience. It is in this context I refer to the word.

At the onset of Covid-19 moral suasion lost the fight to have people behave in a prescribed manner. It took legislation to compel people to wear a mask in public and to practise social distancing.

Even with sanctions imposed for errant citizens zesser parties flourished and curfew hours were blatantly scorned. Why? We have no discipline.

Marches and election campaigns flouted the protocols set out for Covid-19. So what happened next? Positive Covid cases increased exponentially and the death rate rose drastically and now we are facing staggering numbers of new cases and fatalities. Is this all? No.

Coming up are two calendar events that require mandatory celebration: Christmas in December and the remote idea of entertaining Carnival in February.

Regardless of all the caution and the various safety measures to curb the spread of this deadly disease we will dispense with the need for discipline and “live we life like we playing mas”. Who cares?

We as Trinbagonians will always find a way to circumvent protocols and flout rules to satisfy our desires and urges, even if we have to abuse ourselves for amusement.

The show must go on or we will perish. So now the state of emergency has ended and there are no more limitations on our movements and if we treat discipline with scant regard heaven help us all.

In one of the greatest history books known to man there is a profound quote which we should all take heed. It says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

After all, the preamble of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago states (a) “whereas the people of Trinidad and Tobago have affirmed that the nation of Trinidad and Tobago is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in fundamental human rights and freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator”.

Item(d) says, “recognise that men and institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and the rule of law”.

So, where are those principles that recognise the supremacy of God? Where are the moral and spiritual values? Are we violating the provisions of our Constitution?

At the onset of Covid-19 I was heartened when our Prime Minister called for a national day of prayer. Maybe he was guided by the Constitution and that was a decision that sent the loudest message that you cannot leave God out of anything.

Mr Prime Minister, call for the prayers again and let’s see what happens. It might just be that the “boundless faith we have in our destiny” will see us in an enviable position relative to the rest of the world. God bless our nation.

Keith Valley



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