Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 21st 2017 Contents A12 news
guardian.co.tt Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Kamla defends Sat
from 'vicious attacks'
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bisses-
sar has praised Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha
(SDMS) secretary general Satnarayn Maharaj
for his outspokenness on marriage, age and oth-
er issues affecting descendants of East Indian
immigrants in T&T.
In the feature address at the Indian Diaspora Council
closing event at Maha Sabha headquarters, St Augus-
tine, on Sunday night, she condemned the "vicious
and untruthful attacks" against Maharaj.
"His name will well be recorded in the annals of
the history of Trinidad and Tobago as he who never
faltered in defence of his faith, his community and
his country," she said.
Persad-Bissessar said Maharaj had received unwar-
ranted criticism for the Maha Sabha's stance on the
marriage of persons under the age of 18. She reminded
the audience that the Muslim Marriage Act and the
Hindu Marriage Act, which allow for marriages under
the age of 18, came out of indentureship.
"So when you look at our laws there was a require-
ment under indentureship that marriages were to be
registered in one year of the male attaining 16 years of
age, or the female attaining 12 years of age, or with-
in one year of the marriage if one of the parties had
attained the previously mentioned ages."
Commenting on the current debate about changing
the age of marriage, Persad-Bissessar said 49 states
in the United States allow for marriage under the age
of 18 with parental or judicial consent.
Noting that 151 countries in the world allow the
marriage of persons under 18, Persad-Bissessar said
during the recent debate in the Senate, the Opposi-
tion allowed representatives of the Muslim and Hindu
faiths to state their positions.
Persad-Bissessar said the Opposition agreed that
18 should be the age of consent.
...he never faltered in defence of his faith
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha
(SDMS) secretary general Satnarayn Maharaj during Sunday's event.
PHOTO: SHASTRI BOODAN
"They will not say that. They continue to say Kamla
is a beast, Sat Maharaj is a beast and---I am sorry to use
this word to this distinguished organisation---some
of you are paedophiles.
"That's what they were saying. A different his-
tory, a different culture, 151 countries of the world,
49 states of the United States but no. Sat Maharaj is
an evil man because he spoke out of the history, the
culture and traditions."
Release seized shipment
The Customs and Excise Division has been or-
dered to release a $600,000 shipment of perfumes
and colognes seized from a businessman last year.
High Court Judge Frank Seepersad made the order
yesterday after ruling in favour of Wholesale Liquidators
Ltd, trading as Rattans, and its owner Ugrasen Rattan,
who had claimed that the division had not justified their
In his judicial review lawsuit, Rattan claimed that he
imported the shipment in January, last year and paid all
relevant taxes and duties. He claimed that two months
later, officers assigned to the division raided his ware-
house in D'Abadie and seized all the goods.
Rattan, who was not present during the raid, said he
was never informed as to the reason of the seizure. He
also alleged that the division breached section 220 of the
Customs Act which requires it to apply to a magistrate
to have seized goods forfeited from their owners.
In its defence, the division claimed that it was delayed
in following the procedure set in the legislation because
it had issues in testing the seized items.
The division's explanation was criticised by Seep-
ersad, who ruled that the continued detention of the
goods was unlawful and unreasonable.
"The failure by the State to ensure that there is a
functional testing facility and/or requisite processes
to effect testing does not and cannot justify the defend-
ant's failure to comply with its statutory obligations for
over 11 months.
As part of his judgment, Seepersad ordered that the
goods be returned within seven days. Rattan was rep-
resented by Jagdeo Singh, Kiel Taklalsingh and Lakhan
Judge orders Customs and Excise:
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