Leader of the United National Congress (UNC) Kamla Persad-Bissessar is threating to bring a class action suit against the Government, for discrimination on behalf of families who were denied the right to cremate their dead according to the Hindu open-pyre tradition.
Last week, Government lifted the ban on open-air pyre cremation for covid 19 fatalities, after there were numerous calls for its revocation and legal challenges were mounted, one by the Maha Sabha, and another by a family who was prevented from cremating their loved one according to Hindu rites.
Speaking at the UNC Monday night Virtual Report, Persad-Bissessar said Government must not be allowed to do what it wanted and get away with it.
She said there was no justification for the ban and therefore Government must pay families who suffered greatly because they not only lost their loved ones to covid but had to forsake their sacred rites.
“I was horrified when I read on the newspapers Faris (AG Faris Al-Rawi) and others complimenting themselves for lifting the ban on open pyre restrictions. I was horrified that they pat themselves on their backs like they did something so great, when they were the ones in the first place who placed that restriction and they cannot provide a shred of evidence, a shred of science, a shred of data to say why they put that ban on open-pyre cremation.”
Persad-Bissessar said they should not be given a free pass.
“We should not praise them for saying the come to an agreement and they happy like pappy when for a year they lock down this religious ritual to make you feel like they give you something, when in the first place they took it away.”
Although the Maha Sabha has agreed to withdraw its lawsuit, Persad-Bissessar said there is a matter still pending, which former AG Anand Ramlogan brought on behalf of a family which will be moving forward.
“You (Government) would have to pay money, damages, and I would ask every citizen who has gone through that inhumane treatment by this Government to come forward. We will go to court. They would have to pay for your suffering because you could not open-pyre cremate your loved one. Every one of you has a case and there is no statute of limitation. Come to any MP’s office and bring the death certificate of your loved ones and we will take it up in court.
“We will challenge you in the Parliament, outside the Parliament and in the courthouse," she cahallenged the Government.
She demanded Government apologise to the Hindu community and others who used open-pyre cremation, which costs less than indoor cremation.
“Every rope has an end. Time longer than twine. So we are coming for you, Rowley, we are coming for your Government, and we will not stop until we move you from office by legal means.”