Obeah, necromancy rampant in T&T
By Raffique Shah
May 27, 2007
As I watch with amusement the pseudo-religious shenanigans of our leaders, I cannot help but thank my semi-literate parents for steering me away from superstition for as long as I can remember. That, in turn, led me to later rely on reason rather than religion for my spiritual sustenance. I know my mother would be happy had I embraced Islam the way the rest of my family did. But I am not sure my long-deceased father would have been too disappointed in me. He was religious to the extent that he believed in God and he attended mosque at least twice a year. But he was irreverent, and maybe smart, too, in that he never judged an imam by his purported knowledge of the Qu'ran or pronouncements from the pulpit, but by his every deed.
I recall my upbringing in the wake of what Benny Hinn is reported to have said about Prime Minister Patrick Manning being the "most foolish man" he has ever met. Hinn, whom I dubbed a fraud ever since I heard of him-and it matters not to me how many millions of fools follow him-claimed that Manning introduced him to a woman described as a "prophetess", whatever that means.
At a time when Manning should be riding high in the political stakes a-coming, what with the opposition parties being leaderless and having little to offer by way of salvation, Manning's own confused mind has given the latter humour-fodder for their political platforms. "He running the country by obeah!" they scream, as their supporters break out in gaffaws.
Why Manning, in spite or warnings from the more sober in the society, decided to grant Hinn direct access to the Prime Minister, is anybody's guess. And his alleged need for a "prophetess" or "seer woman" to guide him spiritually (he has not so far denied Hinn's claim), defies logic. It even defies faith. My limited knowledge of religion tells me that man does not need an intermediary to connect with God.
No religious text that I have read puts a priest or pundit or imam as the only person through whom one may communicate with God. And no mortal can offer anyone a passage to heaven, whatever fees he or she charges.
But in Trinidad, where so many people are gullible, they can be fleeced of their money and even their minds by self-anointed spiritual leaders. Hinn, on his first visit here, when thousands of "faithful" flocked the Savannah and danced in a sea of mud as he "healed" a few, pronounced then that Manning would be the next prime minister. At the time, if Manning had consulted with me, I could have told him that. For free. The Basdeo Panday regime was disgraced by widespread allegations of corruption, nepotism was rampant, things were falling apart for Bas. A blind man could see the UNC was in serious trouble. But that one pronouncement by Hinn made him an instrument of God in Manning's eyes.
Lest readers believe that it is only Manning who flirts with this kind of foolishness, let me disabuse their minds "one time", as we Trinis say. Remember Pastor "Trillionaire"?
Yeah, the same Lutchmansingh who convinced tens of thousands, politicians and the business elite among them, that he had inherited vast sums of money from some dead dude. Well guess what? Besides the greedy fools who parted with their money, willingly handing this man millions while they would spit on the needy, several politicians were grovelling at his feet. They trekked to Marabella to be blessed by this joker. I hope they turn up in court to lend him support now that he faces fraud charges.
Then there are several "gurus" who visit this country on a frequent basis, in whom these leaders repose all faith. If I call the names of those who sought private audiences with a certain "swami", you'd think you are reading a "Who's Who" of Trinidad. Christians included, eh.
Better still if I let you into the secret of what some wanted this holy man to do on their behalf, you'd puke. They know who they are, so they should be careful while "pelting boulders" at Patos from their platforms. If Manning is ruling by obeah, they are swimming in mysticism.
And if you want to know just how deep many icons of our art forms dabble in what Sparrow would deem "necromancy", ask Chalkdust! His stories would make you choke with laughter. If Benny Hinn is such a great "healer", maybe Manning can make him Minister of Health (sorry, John). That way we won't need doctors and nurses and hospitals. One flat fee and everybody good to go! As for the alleged "prophetess", let her tell the PM where the next murder or robbery will take place and he could fire the entire police service. Another "seer woman" claims to tell the future except she did not foresee bandits about to "put down wuk" on her. Jeezanages! How gullible can we be?