The primary solution to corruption lies, not so much in the law courts, in Parliamentary enactments, in the efforts of the police and other law enforcement agencies, (important though they all may be), but in an appeal to the God of justice, who knows the hearts of all people.
Since the basis of corruption is a moral one, the solution should be a spiritual one. I believe that Barbadians, in general, are still a religious people and so I am suggesting that the leaders, both secular and religious, join together in placing before God, the challenges facing Barbados.
There are still some very decent and God-fearing people in Barbados who have earned, and continue to earn their living by the ‘sweat of their brow’. However, there are those who have enriched themselves through corruption, very often at the expense of the poor. Of course, we know that corruption is not unique to Barbados or any other country and that it is not a new phenomenon.
Corruption has been part of the human ‘experience of evil’ from time immemorial and the Bible condemns corruption in all of its forms. 2 Peter1:4 reminds us that it is by “standing on the promises of God” that we are able to escape from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.
In an article entitled, “Whatever the size of your candle, light it” authored by me and published in Barbados TODAY on April 9, 2019, I suggested (and now strongly recommend), that the leaders of the various religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Rastafari, etc.) and denominations (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Moravian, etc.) come together on a particular day in a particular place (Heroes Square, for example), and ‘put on the altar’ the finances of all those who are involved in the business of illegal drugs and guns, at the expense and detriment of the poor, some of whom end up in prison because of related crimes. God knows who they are.
Earlier in the year, the Minister responsible for Ecclesiastical Affairs, the Hon. Cynthia Forde, made a good start in bringing God into the picture by having a Day of Prayer. I would humbly suggest that the Minister could take the initiative to extend the invitation to those leaders to come together for the good of the country.
In case you are not familiar with the meaning of the expression, ‘put on the altar’, let me attempt to enlighten you. In the Christian tradition in which I have lived and witnessed as an Anglican Priest, when we are faced with the actions of evil people who cause us to suffer and we cannot get justice from the courts or others in authority, we ‘put them on the altar’ or ‘leave them to God.’ We priests know what that means, and we know that it works.
Sometimes it is done by merely letting go of the ‘issue’; at other times, it is by a formal ‘placing on the altar’. This has nothing to do with obeah; this is about the symbolism of the ‘altar’ representing the ‘presence’ of God as one who condemns, consecrates and blesses. There comes to mind the words of that hymn by W.W. How, “O my Saviour lifted from the earth for me, draw me in thy mercy, nearer unto Thee… And I come O Jesus, dare I turn away? No, thy love has conquered, and I come today; Bringing all my burdens (to the altar), sorrow, sin and care, at thy feet I lay them, AND I LEAVE THEM THERE”. I know from 56 years of ordained m
inistry that IT WORKS.
To some, it may seem like a crazy idea. But then what other solution will work, all situations of fear including that of reprisals, being considered? The Mia Mottley Administration is on the right track, and so I pray that the Honourable Prime Minister would continue to focus on moving the country forward and upward, rather than expend much needed funds, energy and time on ‘corrupted people’. Just “PUT THEM ON THE ALTAR.” May God shower new blessings on Barbados. Shalom!
(Submitted by Rev. Canon Dr G. Llewellyn Armstrong, Rector: The Resurrection Anglican Congregation, Brooklyn, New York)