On Tuesday, a day heavy with sadness and anger, Paramin villager Ernest Constantine’s honesty added the silver lining to the dark clouds hanging over T&T.
The 20-year-old provided a welcome piece of good news when he found a bag containing thousands of dollars and returned it to the owner. The story, which has since been shared thousands of times on social media platforms, stood in sharp relief to the various tragic events that unfolded on that day.
What is particularly remarkable about this young man is his capacity to look beyond his personal struggles and do the right thing. He barely makes ends meet doing odd jobs around his community and according to Cornelius Campbell, the farmer whose money he found and returned, is not held in high regard.
Mr Constantine’s willingness to rise above his pressing needs made all the difference to that Paramin farmer, his family and the workers who would have gone without their wages were it not for his honesty. It was a simple act and a positive example, a source of inspiration amid all the tragic losses and bloodshed that have dominated national headlines in recent days.
It is an understatement that this country is going through a rough patch. The worst of it was the discovery of the body of two-year-old Kymani Francis in a river not too far from his Point Fortin home on Tuesday. Hours earlier, 12-year-old Levi Lewis and his mother, Abeo Cudjoe, were chopped to death in Penal and at that time the nation was also processing the circumstances in which Carenage mother of five Stephanie Calbio was fatally stabbed. As a result of the latter incident, six children are without their mothers.
That seemingly endless tide of tragedy and brutality is having a negative effect on a population still struggling to emerge from the travails of a protracted COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of relief, the reopening of the economy with the lifting of pandemic restrictions has led to an upsurge in crime and violence, touching communities in every corner of the country and spilling over into schoolyards.
Politicians on both sides seem too caught up in finger-pointing to detect the undercurrents of anxiety, hopelessness and pent-up rage, or to intervene with effective solutions.
At times like this, ordinary people who do extraordinary things serve as beacons of light to pierce this vast darkness. Citizens like young Mr Constantine, who choose to go against the tide of negativity, are often unrecognised and unrewarded.
However, thanks to Winston Eugene of the Paramin Men’s Ministry, his noble deed was posted on D’ Life of Paramin’s Facebook page and has been widely shared. All the expressions of appreciation and applause for his honest deed should motivate others and remind those who are disillusioned over the state of T&T that there are still many good men and women around.
Citizens like Ernest Constantine prove to us that no matter how much suffering there is, there are still those who we can count on to make the right choices. Hopefully, he will get the encouragement and support he needs to continue along a positive path.
In these tough times, T&T needs more heroes.