President Paula-Mae Weekes says while prayer is needed to restore democracy and heal the physiological and physical damage caused by historical events which have left citizens traumatised, a change of character is paramount.
She was speaking during the National Day of Prayer service at the St Patrick's RC Church, Picton Street in Port of Spain on Sunday.
Weekes reflected on the events of July 27, 1990 when members of the Jamaat-Al-Muslimeen, led by Yasin Abu Bakr, stormed the Red House during a sitting of Parliament, and Trinidad and Tobago Television.
She said, even after 30 years, the country still feels the effect of that attempted coup, and this is now amplified with the fear of the covid19 pandemic.
"Our democracy still feels vulnerable. Many traumatised victims have not returned to their former self . And the ripple effects of those five days keep replaying.
Prayer is needed for healing and understanding, and we thank God for democracy and the privilege to cast our ballot freely.”
Weekes said the nation must give thanks that those who sought to rob TT of its democratic freedom were ultimately unsuccessful.
She said "fervent intercession" is needed as citizens already have much to pray about.
"On the list are security and our borders, racism – particularly in this silly season, injustice in its many forms, the economy, young people, and covid19."
But the President said a change of habit is also necessary.
"Without deliberate effort on our part, what we pray or wish for will not materialise. We have to make our respective tangible contributions.
The Prime Minister in his address urged citizens to have faith and remain focused as TT continues its efforts to fight the virus.
Dr Rowley said, "The future will be tested by this virus as we feel the effect of covid19. I say to you, this is not behind us – it is with us. The situation may give us a future to fear, but we still have a future to hope for."
RC Archbishop The Most Rev Jason Gordon echoed Rowley’s plea to citizens to stay the course and do what is needed to fight covid19.
He said people must have consideration for each other and stop focusing on doing things which are beneficial only to themselves.
"That's the challenge we face when we want to preserve ourselves and not everyone else, when we don't want to work for the common good, when we choose not to wear a mask in public, and we don't want to preserve the health of others.”
He said there is enough for
everyone if people understand how to be generous with what they have.
“It is that we celebrate today – that our nation has been an incredibly generous nation."
Several religious leaders also prayed for the nation. Anglican Bishop Claude Berkley, Kern Tobias president of Caribbean Union Conference, and representatives from the Spiritual Baptist, Muslim and Hindu faith were among those participating in the service.