From the bench to the pulpit, Justice Frank Seepersad, yesterday preached a sermon of a revolution in Trinidad and Tobago.
He also used the pulpit to throw some punches at the ongoing controversy between the government and the gaming industry over the increases in taxes due next year. Deputising for Reverend Keron Khelawan at the Marabella Presbyterian Church for the Sunday morning service, Seepersad, who is a lay minister, at the church clarified that the revolution of which he spoke is one of non-violence. “I speak not of a revolution that involves violence, masses or weapons, but a revolution of thought, attitude and interaction.”
Weighing in on the gaming industry firing back at the Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s imposition of hefty fines to generate revenue, the judge took a biblical perspective, to render to Caesar what is Caesar and to God what is God’s. “In this beloved land, corruption or the perception of corruption seem to define us.
God, however, has no tolerance for dishonesty, for corruption or for kickbacks. It was Christ who overturned the tables of money changers at the temple.
“Many of us may not directly put our hands in the proverbial cookie jar, but we may not be discharging our social contract in so far as our tax contributions are not paid or what is paid is a pittance.
“It seems that we chose to disregard Jesus’s call to render unto Caesar what is Caesar. There is no room for compromise when it comes to honesty. There are no shades of grey and we need a revolution of truthfulness, candor and honesty.”
He said at a time when the City of San Fernando is celebrating 29 years of achieving city status, “we ought to reflect on where we are as a society, where we came from and where we want to go.”
Justice Seepersad said an objective reflection would reveal that things are not right but awry. “Crime is out of control, families are fractured, divisiveness defines us, and hope is fleeting. We are at cross roads and we cannot continue on our current path.”
In a sermon which focused on discrimination, selfishness, dishonesty, corruption and kickbacks, he told worshippers that as people of faith they should measure all actions by asking what would Christ have done.
Calling for a race revolution, he lamented that in this society, the response and approach to ethnicity has been a yoke around our collective necks. “We view each other with suspicion and actions, whether executive or personal are often reviewed not on a merit basis, but under the dangerous test of ‘us against them’.” Using the New Testament teachings to solidify his point all are equal in God’s sight, Justice Seepersad said people of faith still discriminate against others whose appearances differ from theirs. On this basis, he said, there is a dire need for a race revolution for citizens to see each other as God’s children.
He said neighbours have forgotten the commandment to love one another and have now become strangers as evident in the absence of that sense of community. Justice Seepersad lashed out at those who had become complacent, and those dependant on state handouts, happy to stay within their own boundaries rather than make an effort to use their God given talents for the greater good.
“This city, this country can be a paradise but things need to change and change meaningfully. Change will only occur when there is a revolution and the time for this revolution is now,” Justice Seepersad advanced.