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The Divali Nagar promotes sharing and
togetherness of Indian culture and religion,
says president of the National Council of
Indian Culture (NCIC) Deokienanan Shar-
He said so at the opening of the 27th annual
Divali Nagar celebrations on Thursday night.
Theme of this year s Nagar is Shree Krishna
Avatar. The chief guest was Capt Pratima
Dharm, the first Hindu chaplain, United States
Army, who delivered the feature address.
"Divali Nagar provides us with the oppor-
tunity to celebrate our culture and religion in
a spirit of sharing and togetherness," Sharma
"While, therefore, we might stay at home
with our families to worship on Divali day,
the Nagar allows us to interact with everybody
who comes here uniting our spirit in a divine
oneness," Sharma said.
President Anthony Carmona is expected to
attend the celebrations tomorrow.
Dharm said Divali, more than anything,
confirms the truism that the more things
change, the more they tend to remain the
Sharma said Divali has been celebrated in
T&T "since our ancestors came here between
1845 and 1917 from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,
and while all around us changes have taken
place in every sphere of our lives at a breath-
taking pace, and while our own celebrations
have graduated to fireworks and modern-day
splendor, what remains eternal about it is the
simple deya and ritual lighting of it on Divali
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar says general election will be
held in 2015 when it is constitutionally
due and not before.
"We made several commitments to
the people of T&T and as long as God
gives me life, health and strength, I will
continue to do what I said, what I would
do, which is to put the needs of citizens
first, to call elections when they are
due, even if the pollsters predict it may
not be beneficial to my government
and I," she said.
She was speaking on Thursday night
during Divali celebrations at the Diplo-
matic Centre, St Ann s. The next general
election is due to be held in 2015.
Persad-Bissessar also promised not
when it's due---PM
Prime Minister Kamla
second left, presents
cheques to assist in
Divali celebrations to
secretary general of the
Sanatan Dharma Maha
Sabha, left, Forbes
Persad, PRO of SWAHA,
and Dr Akenath Misir,
second vice-president of
the National Council for
Indian Culture. The
Prime Minister hosted a
dinner to mark the
observance of Divali at
the Diplomatic Centre in
St Ann's on Thursday
Captain Pratima Dharm, the first Hindu
chaplain in the US army, tries her hand at
double tenors with the Nada Sangama Steel
Orchestra during the opening night of Divali
Nagar at Narsaloo Ramaya Marg, Endeavour,
Chaguanas, on Thursday night.
PHOTO: SHASTRI BOODAN
to negotiate the business of the country with "criminal
"We made commitments not to negotiate and
make deals with criminal elements, no matter how
politically expedient that may seem to be and to con-
duct the business of government in a fair and trans-
parent way," she said.
"No longer must we make governance decisions
in the interest of the privileged few but in the interests
of all citizens."
During her address she called out to other members
of the coalition government who were present at the
"I acknowledge my brothers and sisters of the
partnership who are here tonight and who have stood
with us to improve the quality of life of everyone,"
"All that we have accomplished over the past three
years are as a result of our unity. I want to commend
the members for staying true to the collective mandate
you gave us."
The Prime Minister also said the Government can-
not solve all the nation s problems on its own.
"Very often we get caught up in the illusion of a
superhero, of one entity being able to achieve it all.
But that is not the reality. One organisation, the Gov-
ernment, on its own can never solve the challenges
we face daily. But as a united force we can overcome
many things," she said.
Secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha
Sabha Satnarayan Maharaj, who also spoke at the
event, said since last year Hindu astrologers had
determined the date for Divali.
"This year there have been public discussions on
whether Divali should be on November 2 or on Sun-
day, November 3. Our local Hindu astrologers taking
into account the different time zones of India and
T&T, quite clearly decreed that Divali would be cel-
ebrated in T&T Saturday, November 2."
He said "political miscreants" are responsible for
trying to confuse the electorate on the date for Divali
and the election date for the St Joseph by-election.
"Political miscreants added a touch of political
conspiracy when the St Joseph by-election was
announced for Monday, November 4," Maharaj said.
"I wish to emphasise that our religious calendar
was printed November last year with Divali clearly
marked as falling on Saturday, November 2. This cal-
endar was released on November 28, 2012, long before
member of Parliament Mr Herbert Volney totally
miscalculated the politics of T&T."
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