A report from Trinidad’s Newsday.
President Anthony Carmona and his wife Reema both visited the Divali Nagar on Monday night with Carmona saying that Divali is a time of magic.
Addressing the audience, Carmona said he often tells people that Trinis have the solution to the world’s problems because, “we still live in great harmony with each other, notwithstanding our disagreements.” He said that it is moments like these (Divali) which gives him a sense of purpose and, “a sense of what we in TT are as a people.”
“Divali is magic. Divali is about light over darkness, Divali is about despair being overtaken by hope. It is about the power of good verses evil.” This is why, Carmona said, anywhere he goes throughout the Caribbean and the world he speaks about the unity in diversity. Like Derek Walcott, he added, on receiving the Nobel Peace prize for Literature, Walcott spoke about the power of Ram Leela and the longest running street theatre in the Americas.
“This is something we see and experience every year. That epic battle where the evil king Ravan is destroyed. Where in fact we read and we experience that entire celebration when Lord Rama came back to Ayodhya and streets of this city were lit with lights to celebrate the success of good over evil and time and time again we need to remember these things,” Carmona said.
“I am asking you all to invoke the power of Mother Lakshmi, the power of Vishnu and more importantly, to appreciate that we as a people are one and no one is leaving TT to go anywhere. Whether you are a Hindu, Muslim, Catholic or Christian you have a vested interest in this place and you can make it better. Either individually or collectively,” he said.
Carmona said he and Reema look forward to attending Divali Nagar as they view this site as a holy one. One that is blessed every year. It is a site, he said, where everyone gathers to pay reverence to our art form and more importantly to the strength of Hinduism and what it has done for TT and the world.
“I have a very distinct advantage because I have lived in the bush. In other words I have lived in the country area all my life and I am able to appreciate the traditional values of Hinduism and the traditional values of many races that live in the cosmopolitan villages of South TT,” he said.