MP for Port of Spain South Keith Scotland urges citizens of TT not to take their personal, religious and democratic freedoms for granted, especially considering the wars being fought around the world for such freedoms.
“As I tried to understand how rich we are as a country, I grapple with whether or not we take it (liberty) for granted.
“Because in the world, crusades were fought for this very reason – because of intolerance and persons not having liberty. And in TT, I would want to say that we must not take our liberty for granted.”
Speaking at the Port of Spain Corporation's Divali Celebration at Woodford Square on Saturday, he told the crowd of multi-religious and multi-racial celebrants that TT was a light from which the world could take example.
Pundit Ganesh Maharaj, who earlier performed puja, said Divali was not just about the victory of light over darkness or good over evil. He said one light or lamp could dissolve darkness so individuals needed to be the light that would welcome others and lead them, and the country, to a place of peace.
“May your every meeting with others be such a kind of meeting that people you meet for the very first time leave with peace in their hearts and a smile on their face.
“Be able to control yourselves in such a way that you can know when you have to rise up like a flame to destroy negativity or know when to be a gentle light to help others.”
He hoped the happiness in people’s hearts would be able to transcend strangers and strange places to spread peace and joy.
Porto of Spain Mayor Chinua Alleyne said the event showed the corporation recognised the city was for everyone.
“We are committed to ensuring that as we go through our tenure as leaders of Port of Spain, we look after the needs, whether those needs are social, whether those needs are cultural, or whether those needs are religious, we ensure that we look after the needs of all of the burgesses, users and workers of the city of Port of Spain.”
He said it was fitting that the celebration took place at Woodford Square as it was a place pre-independence leaders used to “light a path towards self-determination,” and was a place for people to communicate, celebrate, and recreate.
Also present was Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell.