Princes Town MP, Barry Padarath has slammed the government for its lack of funding for this year’s Phagwa celebrations not only with respect to the National Phagwa Council but for groups throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
Padarath stated that the government has once again disrespected the Hindu community while it prioritizes other events. The MP cited that in recent times, the Poui festival has been given more priority than religious events in this country with a bigger budget.
The MP stated that while Government has budgeted over twenty million dollars for cultural events in Tobago and over one hundred and sixty million for Carnival celebrations in the 2018 budget, the Hindu community is being discriminated against.
Padarath recalled that for Divali 2017, he raised the issue of poor funding by government for several organizations and it was only when the disparity was placed in the public domain, the government hastily attempted to do damage control. He added that 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.” The Princes Town MP said that the Hindu community and others have been faced with continued discrimination, PNM style.
The Princes Town MP gave the examples of several Hindu Schools that are languishing and have been left incomplete since this government came into power such as the Parvati Girls and Shiva Boys College in Penal.
Padarath called on the Ministry of Culture to clear the air on why there was no funding for Phagwa celebrations at the Aranguez Savannah, a tradition that was broken after fifty years. He reminded government that we live in a multicultural society and on many occasions it has been observed that they do not support through financing and or their attendance at these events. He added that government is not supposed to represent one group but rather all the groups in the country.
He accused the government of attempting to create division in the country through the lines of religion and that this was evident as well with their approach to other communities.