PRINCES Town MP Barry Padarath is calling on Minister of Culture Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly to clear the air on why there was no funding for 2018 Phagwa celebrations at the Aranguez Savannah. Padarath said the tradition has been around for more than 50 years.
He accused the government of attempting to create division in the country along the lines of religion, and slammed it for its lack of funding for this year’s Phagwa celebrations not only to the National Phagwa Council, but for groups throughout TT.
“We live in a multi-cultural society and on many occasions it has been observed that they do not support through financing and/or their attendance at these events. The government is not supposed to represent one group but rather all the groups in the country,” he said.
Padarath said while the government had budgeted more than $20 million for cultural events in Tobago and more than $1.6 million for Carnival celebrations, the Hindu community is being discriminated against, and has once again been disrespected while other events were prioritised.
He said in recent times the Poui Festival has been given more priority than religious events, with a bigger budget. “For Divali 2017, I raised the issue of poor funding by government for several organisations and it was only when the disparity was placed in the public domain, the government hastily attempted to do damage control.
“It appears that the government through their actions does not believe in the words of our national anthem that ‘Here every creed and race finds an equal place.’” He said the Hindu community and others have been faced with continued discrimination, “PNM style.”