All Saints ACMS Presentation for International Men’s Day 2016



International Men’s Day

Celebrated November 19th 2016

Presented by: All Saints Church Men’s Society Sunday 20th November, 2016

International Men’s Day

Celebrated November 19th 2016

Presented by: All Saints Church Men’s Society Sunday 20th November, 2016


It was Trinidadian/Tobagonian, Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, who established the International Men’s Day (IMD) which is celebrated in over 60 countries today. Hear what Wikipedia has to say;

“Citizens of Trinidad & Tobago were the first to observe International Men’s Day (IMD) in November of 1999. The event was conceived and co-ordinated by Dr Jerome Teelucksingh from the University of the West Indies, at the families in Action headquarters in New Town Port-of-Spain. As his rationale for creating the event, Dr Teelucksingh stated “I realized there was no day for men… Some have said that there is Father’s Day, but what about young boys, teenagers and men who are not fathers.”

Dr Teelucksingh understanding the importance of celebrating good male role models felt that his own father had been an example of an excellent role model, and so chose November 19th, partly because this was his father’s birthday, and also, because it was the date on which a local sporting team in his country created a level of unity which transcended gender, religious and ethnic divisions.

The idea of celebrating an International Men’s Day received written support from officials in UNESCO, and the event has continued to be celebrated annually in Trinidad & Tobago and other countries since its beginning.”

International Men’s Day has the potential to become the global medium to heal our world. The concept and themes of IMD are designed to give hope to the depressed, faith to the lonely, comfort to the broken hearted, transcend barriers, eliminate stereotypes and create a more caring society. Since its inception, IMD has blossomed into a movement which promotes goodwill and positively transformed the lives of many persons. Every year I am overjoyed to witness and read testimonies of persons who genuinely believe that the observance of IMD has resulted in greater stability in their lives and guided them from darkness into light.

International Men’s Day; The Significance

International Men’s day (IMD) is an annual International event celebrated on November 19th. Inaugurated in 1999 in Trinidad & Tobago, the day and its events find support from a variety of individuals and groups in Australia, the Caribbean, North America, Asia, Europe, Africa and the United Nations.

According to its creators, International Men’s Day is a time to highlight discrimination against men and boys in areas such as health, family law, education, media, and or other areas. While projecting their positive contributions and achievements.

During past years the method of commemorating International men’s day included public seminars, class room activities at schools, radio and television programs, peaceful displays and marches, debates, panel discussions and art displays. The manner of observing this annual day is optional and any appropriate forum can be used.

The 10 Pillars’ of International Men’s day:

1. To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sports men but every day working class men who are living decent, honest lives.

2. To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care and to the environment.

3. To focus on men’s health and well being; social, emotional, physical and spiritual.

4. To highlight discrimination against men; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations and the law.

5. To improve gender relations and promote gender equality.

6. To create a safer, better world; where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.

7. Speaking on behalf of UNESCO, Director of Women and Culture of Peace Ingeborg Breines said of IMD, “This is an excellent idea and would give some gender balance.”she added that UNESCO was looking forward to cooperating with the organizers.


8. The objectives of celebrating an International Men’s Day include focusing on men’s and boys’ health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality and highlighting positive role models.

9. It is an occasion to highlight discrimination against men and boys and to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular for their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care.

10. The broader and ultimate aim of the event is to promote basic humanitarian values.

International Men’s Day is not based on the assumption of a gender war. IMD is primarily about celebrating positive male role models as an alternative to male stereotyping, the aim being to inspire a new generation of men and boys to develop self-worth and a desire to participate in the building of better relationships and societies.

What is the Theme for 2016

The theme is to stop the tide of male Ill-Health and Suicide

The deplorable state of men’s health internationally, is a contributing factor to the epidemic of male suicide across the world. This past year Glen Poole the IMD Co-ordinator for UK has written a book called Stop Male Suicide.

Mr. Glen Poole solution can be summed up with the following words Learn+Love+Listen and let it be the motto for this year 2016 to stop Male Ill-health and Suicide.

What do we as a church, a community and a nation to implement a change in the present situation. Let us look at men’s health firstly; the most common health problems, men of our society have to deal with is prostate cancer and diabetes.

It was reported in the Trinidad Guardian on Tuesday 15, November 2016, that there are 175,000 of our citizens developing diabetes and that our men have the highest percentage. It is also the second leading cause of death in Trinidad and Tobago and rank number one in North Americas and The Caribbean States.

The other health problem among men in Trinidad and Tobago is Prostate Cancer and it represents the number one leading cause of death among men in the island.

Prostate Cancer got the attention recently in Trinidad and Tobago when our Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, went to the United States with respect to his normal check up which included prostate cancer screening.

Dr. Lester Goetz sounded the alarm to the high mortality rate of 38% of all men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer. At present men account for 63% of prostate cancer of being highly risked of dying and among women 30% have breast cancer.

In the United States 90 out of every 100,000 have prostate cancer and in Trinidad and Tobago with our population of over 1.5 million it is 160 out of every 100,000.

The disease is spreading in our men population at an alarming rate and what can be done to check the rate is very simple that men in T&T must take control of their health in their own hands and check yourself on a regular basis and remember your life depends on it, put aside your macho image and check yourself, so that you will not be one of the statistics in Trinidad and Tobago as one of the theme for international men’s day to stop the deplorable state of man’s health.


The Final Theme for 2016 Stop Male Suicide

In Trinidad and Tobago the suicide rate for men is higher than the Global average with men accounting for 76% according to the World Health Organization.

Why is our small country plagued with an extremely high male suicide rate?


What is the reason? We have seen recently in South Trinidad a married man left his home were able to avoid the security personnel at Petrotrin and climb up a tank fill with oil and threw himself into it and finally died.


One can debate whether the married man has family problems, spiritual, cultural or psychological problems or it’s caused by a shift in a gender role, male stereotyping and social problems or it can be disillusion with in our society.


Where does the extreme and psychological pain goes? It explodes leading to alcoholism, drug addiction, domestic and family problems and it results in the form of violence and suicide in the country at large and is the elephant in the room.

For every 1000 suicides each year, 79% are male. Why do men resort to suicide as the only escape from psychological, spiritual and emotional pain.

Boys are generally not allowed to express their feelings though they emerge from the womb with some emotion as girls ‘when boys are erroneously told that strength is purely physical to suck it up’ and crying is a sigh of weakness, we are courting trouble.

Boys must learn that showing vulnerability in front of another person is a risk and that is a sigh of strength and not weakness.


Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is bliss, taste it, Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it.

Thank you very much for listening, have an enjoyable International Men’s Day.

Feature Address by Lystra Fletcher-Paul at All Saints Anglican Church Harvest Thanksgiving Service 2016


From Left to Right.                         Fr. Mungal, Lystra Fletcher-Paul, Prof. Pemberton

Food Security especially for the Poor in CARICOM and the role/contribution of the church and our Parish. Ms. Lystra Fletcher-Paul. F.A.O. Regional Representative.

Good morning, brothers and sisters.

Thank you Father Mungal and Professor Pemberton for inviting me to give the feature address at today’s harvest. It is indeed an honour for me to share my thoughts with you today. I was asked to speak on the topic ‘Agriculture and Food Production especially for the Poor in CARICOM and the role/contribution of the church and our Parish’, but I have decided to change the title slightly and speak about, “Food Security especially for the Poor in CARICOM and the role/contribution of the church and our parish”. The reason for the change is that Agriculture and Food Production is only one aspect of the bigger issue Food Security which is a very serious concern in the region and in the world.

What do we mean by Food Security? According to my organization, the FAO “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”. Food security has 4 main dimensions – availability, access, utilization and stability. Availability refers to the “supply side” of food security and is determined by the level of food production, stock levels and net trade. Access may be economic or physical. Economic access deals with having the income to purchase food while physical assess refers to the infrastructure such as the roads, markets to get the food from the producer to the consumer. Utilization refers to how the body uses the food consumed and addresses issues of nutrition and food safety; and stability speaks to the part of the definition which says that people have food at ALL times – even in times of adverse weather conditions such as during hurricanes, droughts, floods or because of political instability or even economic factors such as unemployment or rising food prices. Food security is, therefore, achieved when all four dimensions are fulfilled.

Food access is a key food and nutrition security problem in the Caribbean and it is directly linked to poverty, which has been increasing in several countries in the region. Six CARICOM countries (St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Grenada, Belize, Guyana and Haiti) have more than 30 percent of their population falling below the national poverty levels. Approximately 59 percent of Haitians (6.0 million persons) are absolutely poor (i.e. cannot meet their own basic food needs). Another 1 million persons are vulnerable and could be pushed below the poverty line by a natural disaster or economic shock – such as has happened in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

Just two weeks ago the poverty assessment report for Trinidad and Tobago was released and it found that poverty levels in this country stand at 24.5 % ( almost 1 in 4 persons live below the poverty line), with some 300,000 persons living on $985 a month – an increase from 16.6% in 2005. The number of indigents (people who are unable to meet their basic nutritional needs) rose from 1.2 % to 5.6 % in Trinidad and from zero to 4.6 % in Tobago.

So to put the situation of poverty and food insecurity into context, it is estimated that in 2014 there were approximately 800 million hungry people in the world and 7.5 million hungry people in the Caribbean. In 2012 the number of undernourished persons in Trinidad and Tobago was estimated to be approximately 100,000 persons (7.4 % of the population), that percentage is now estimated to be as high as 11 % according to the recent poverty assessment report. By comparison, the hunger levels in Haiti are 53.4%. So there is a direct link between poverty and food insecurity.

Who are the poor? Small farmers, fisher folk, people living in rural areas, the unemployed, the homeless, persons in single parent households – particularly female headed households. They spend as much as 75% of their income on food. In Haiti, more than 75 percent of persons in extreme poverty live in rural areas.

Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2 speak to eradication of poverty and hunger in the world by 2030. So what role or contribution can the church play in eradicating hunger and poverty in the country? Historically the church has played a role in providing food and caring for the poor. Through their various fund raising activities and food drives they are able to get much needed capital and food to persons who are most in need. The church therefore provides access to food and stability in food supply to the poor and the vulnerable – especially after adverse weather events.


But the church can do much more. Through your denominational schools you can promote school feeding programmes and school gardens which can be used not only to provide healthy, nutritious meals to underprivileged children, but also to teach healthy lifelong nutrition habits to our young people. (St Patricks RC church in Barbados had its own greenhouse where it grew fresh vegetables to feed not only the poor but also the priests who lived in the church compound and the greenhouse was used as a demonstration for parishioners to see new agricultural technologies).

Though the church’s linkages with the private sector, you can encourage the supermarkets and restaurants to donate food to the poor. Recently I was privileged to be part of an initiative called Nourish TT which was started by 4 young people, who developed an App for their cell phones and computers to link supermarkets that have food that is close to the expiry date to charitable organizations such as the Living Water Community. The food items which are close to expiry date are collected from the supermarkets and transported to these charitable organizations which then cook the food to feed the poor, thereby reducing food losses and wastage. Restaurants can also donate food which is not used at the end of each day.

The church can raise awareness of issues related for food and nutrition security which affect the congregation – as you are doing now – by preaching the gospel of Food and Nutrition Security. The church should be an advocate for the use of local foods and serve local foods in all its functions and all the institutions which it supports – nursing homes, hospices and senior citizens’ homes. By promoting the use and purchase of local foods you are supporting small farmers who are among the poor people in the country. The church w

The church can also influence decision makers and promote good governance through your sermons and private conversations with influential persons in society so that they promote policies which place more emphasis on agriculture and local food production. (Patrick Manning sought counsel from the Bishop). Pope Frances always speaks during World Food Day at hour headquarters in Rome on issues related to food and nutrition security.

What can we, as parishioners of All Saints do? First we should find out who are the poor in our communities and reach out to them. We can mobilize other parishioners to volunteer and help in our outreach programmes. It is all well and good to give food items but it will be even better if we give seeds and other inputs to encourage persons to plant their own food – (Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for life).

We can choose to buy local foods to support our small farmers and maybe once a month host a market where they can sell their produce on Sunday after church. During the summer holidays run summer camps for the children of poor households in the community, and teach the young people how to grow their own food – vegetables in containers and rear rabbits and chickens. Teach them healthy eating habits too – because chronic non communicable diseases are linked to eating imported foods which are high in processed carbohydrates, sugars, salt and fat. (18 year olds with Type 2 diabetes)

To our priests and lay ministers – continue to raise awareness among the parishioners and spread the gospel of food and nutrition security and wherever possible seek to influence our CEOs in the private sector, our Government Ministers, Parliamentarians and senior decision makers in government to put more of their resources into the agriculture sector. Show them that we, too, are worthy partners and we play an important role in helping to eradicate hunger and poverty in our communities and in this country.

Sustainable Development Goal 17 – calls for partnerships in recognition of the fact that the fight to eradicate hunger and poverty in the world by 2030 cannot be won by one agency alone – it must be done in partnership – government, private sector, research organizations, civil society (including churches) – we all have a role to play to ensure that “No one is left behind” – not even the poor.

In closing, I would leave you with a few words from the Deuteronomy 8: 7 – 10 “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. You shall eat your fill and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which he has given you”.


Brothers and sisters, let us all do our part to ensure that all people at all times have access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in our parish, our communities and in our country.

Thank you