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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has made an appeal to the nation for “more politeness, courtesy and respect in all interactions, with each other.” In his Divali message, the Prime Minister asked citizens to be more cooperative and more forgiving of each other. The following is a press release from the Office of the Prime Minister:

Greetings fellow citizens,

Today I bring you greetings on the celebration of Divali 2021 on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, my family and myself, as Prime Minister.

It is a significant commendation that as a people the centuries-old festival of Deepavali, now Divali, celebrated across India and other parts of the world, is observed in Trinidad and Tobago.

In contrast, in many plural societies around the world, dark clouds frequently ignite religious differences, tribalism, identity politics, ethnic nationalism, extremism, and violent conflict. Fortunately, in this country we consciously try to avoid such experiences.

To our credit, our society is identified by some indicators as among the happiest in the world, and we line up among the most successful multi-cultural and multi-religious peoples.

Trinidad and Tobago at its fifty-ninth year as an independent sovereign state, and its forty-fifth year as a Republic is identified as a people, a society, with much to be thankful for.

Yes, there have been challenges in our daily lives; protests, civil disturbances and unnecessary incitement, but our political system, although not perfect, has proven to be flexible, accommodating and resilient.

The Vedic traditions of Divali can be interpreted as a great confluence, a spiritual moment during which we can reflect on our individual lives.

This is the time in which we may see in the Deyas a symbolism of a triumphant light over the dark corners in our lives and our society; that moment in which we seek God’s purity, so it will overcome imperfection as his goodness overcomes evil.

Regardless of one’s religious affiliation Divali 2021 can be interpreted as another spiritual moment in which we can seek to purify ourselves. Let us use the experience of this moment of Divali to make progressive changes in our lives.

Let us become more cooperative, more forgiving of our fellow citizens, be more approving of sincere intentions, be more peaceful, selfless and non-judgemental. I appeal, as Prime Minister, for more politeness, courtesy and respect in all our interactions, with each other.

Overall, our country is at a vulnerable, crucial point in its history, yet as some may seek to exploit this moment for their selfish, personal agenda, your Government pointed out in Budget 2021 many indicators for opportunities and economic improvements on the road ahead.

Along with the Covid pandemic, this country faces other external challenges.

The decisions now being made at the UN Climate Change COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland have the potential to affect us in very serious ways.

The international supply chain crisis which is currently disrupting all supplies is likely to be felt in your own food baskets here at home as it is around the world.

However, all of these challenges are being monitored by your Government and its experienced team of public service professionals.

Finally, I urge again that you use this day to explore your inner self, so that your personal, positive light will create a new mindset across Trinidad and Tobago so that our society will collectively engage the many hurdles that we are called upon to overcome.

Notwithstanding the changing circumstances we must continue to have confidence in ourselves with the fervent hope that we can succeed together.

I wish all citizens a Happy Divali.