February 6th, 2023
As we celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week, it is important to understand the need for religious coexistence and harmony to the multi-religious society that is Trinidad and Tobago.
World Interfaith Harmony Week promotes greater understanding of various religions and the idea that peaceful coexistence should be the ultimate objective.
Trinidad and Tobago should stand as an example to other countries as we continue to maintain tolerance of various faiths. In my own constituency of Couva South, there are mosques, mandirs and churches standing side by side. Religion should never act as a barrier nor be used as a means of oppressing a group of people or citizens.
Recently, we saw the ignorance of Randall Mitchell, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, as well as the Ministry of Toursim, Culture and the Arts, on full display, when in their condolence message about the late musical icon Anil “The Vocalist” Bheem, they referred to the holy, most sacred Hanuman Chalisa as a chutney socarendition. The Minister and his Ministry must hang their heads in disgrace. It is unacceptable for Minister Mitchell, as Culture Minister, or any other Minister in a cosmopolitan country and Trinidad and Tobago to be ignorant of the fundamentals of any religion in this country. The East Indian community and its sub-communities, including Hinduism, have been present in Trinidad and Tobago for the past 178 years since 1845. The memory of the late Anil Bheem was undoubtedly disrespected and the Hindu community has been severely offended yet again by a government which should be aware of the fundamental cultural and religious dynamics of the country, and which should be in defense of every creed and its culture.
Over the last few years, places of worship have been vandalized, desecrated and robbed of their valuables. I call on this PNM administration to put measures in place to ensure the safety of religious bodies and spaces, and to do better to learn of the intricacies of religious in this country.
It is not because the Prime Minister and his Government seem fascinated by Les Coteaux jumbies, that they should bear irreverence to those who respect God. Respectfully Submitted
Member of Parliament for Couva South and SHADOW RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE
MINISTRY OF LABOUR and TOBAGO AFFAIRS.