He probably really needed the money for himself, but one act of honesty has not only inspired a nation but will now greatly improve Earnest Constantine’s quality of life.
On May 10, Constantine became the subject of widespread appreciation after finding a bag containing thousands of dollars and returning it to the owner, a farmer.
And yesterday, the 20-year-old farmer was honoured by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, Ministry of National Security and Angostura for his noble action.
And it was at the House of Angostura in Laventille that those in attendance learnt of Constantine’s circumstances and how easy it would have been to take that money for himself.
“We learnt that Mr Constantine lives alone in a home with no electricity and immediately thought of a way to make his life more comfortable,” said Ian Forbes, Angostura’s Chief Executive Officer.
But there’s a saying that honesty and integrity are always rewarded.
“This morning, Angostura is donating a generator to Mr Constantine. This generator will enable him to bring some light and comfort into his home. Angostura is also generating a chiller and two months’ worth of groceries,” Forbes said.
Constantine was also presented with a new brush cutter by FT Farfan Limited.
Members of the media interviewed the young farmer after the ceremony, but he is a man of little words.
“I feel thankful and good about it, I feel great for all the good things,” Constantine said.
When asked what made him decide to do the right thing, Constantine said it was just the right thing to do.
“I see the man was looking for something and I shouted out to him that his money was on the ground.”
Also speaking at the ceremony, Acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob said his actions prove that there are still young people on the right path.
“In Trinidad and Tobago today, most of our issues that exist in our society as it relates to deviant behaviour and criminality, is coming out of when you look at the age group from the young persons and this demonstrates that it is not all the young persons involved in deviant behaviour.”
Jacob said the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) is thankful for Constantine’s example.
“And I hope people in the upper echelons in society take your example, because some of us who can really influence change, some of our behaviour and actions are not consistent and young people will see that and want to emulate that in the negative.”
Meanwhile, Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds said Constantine could have given in to temptation but he is clearly made of sterner stuff.
“You had decisions to make and devils and temptations to face and you faced them powerfully and you rose above selfishness, greed, you rose above thoughtlessness and you allowed this high principal of dignity and honesty and kindness, all of them are linked, you allowed those to prevail.”
Hinds acknowledged that Constantine may not have wanted his level of attention given his modesty and shy personality.
“But we can’t help it as has been said earlier we live in a society where the strength you demonstrated is sorely lacking.”
Now dubbed “Honest Ernest,” Hinds said his name and deed should be remembered for a very long time.