Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 1st 2013 Contents A11
December 1, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
'India can learn from T&T'
• From Page A10
one single thread which has come in the case of
India, which comes from the Vedic civilisation. One
thread. But here it has come from Africa, India,
America, Latin America, from Europe, so some people
here may believe in it, some may not.
I don t know how much you have gleaned about
our crime challenge in the short time you have
been here, but is there anything we are not doing
which could put a dent on our situation?
(Slightly rubbing his chin) I think education and
social engagement are the two important things to
curb the crime; education plays a very important
role and so does the behaviour of the society. How
does the society engage the criminal elements to
convert them to good people, and this is the task
of both the Government and the NGOs.
There is the school of thought which says poverty
is the main factor in the activities of the criminally
minded. Do you buy into that?
I don t think there is a direct, proportionate rela-
tionship between the two. There could be some rela-
tionship, but it is not direct and proportionate.
If we should get to your assignment in Port-of-
Spain, what can we expect by way of trade between
our both countries?
Ok. (Adjusting his glasses) Trade between T&T
and India is comparatively small. It is in the range
of a hundred million dollars, which is not very sub-
stantial, but I think the potential is much larger.
How can we tap into that potential?
That s what I wanted to mention...One important
area is energy, where you have the resources natural
gas and petroleum, we need those products in our
country. I think it is one area where we can do some
collaboration. Some Indian companies came here in
the past and wanted to negotiate some long-term
contracts, but it did not work out. But we will continue
that effort, and I hope that we will reach some agree-
ment on that.
Why this specific matter did not work
You know these are commercial consid-
erations on both sides, so I don t want to
go in the precise details of those negotia-
tions. I am sure things will be better in the
future. Then we have IT cooperation and,
in fact, we are discussing certain proposals
which are in the pipe...
I don t want to give you the precise details,
but things will work out very soon. It can
bring in Indian investment, Indian knowl-
edge to benefit Trinidad and Tobago in this
field. There are also some proposals for col-
laboration in the film and music sectors.
You have highly developed music traditions
in this country including tradition of films
as well. Some Indian companies are con-
sidering serious proposals, and if things
work out well that can become a reality.
These are some of the areas we can work
What about the financial sector?
Of course, things can work out there as
well. You are well placed to be the financial
hub in the Caribbean and even linking the
North and South Americas. Then direct
shipment of goods; For example, we are
very strong in clothing, so I am looking at
these possibilities to boost our trading rela-
Your Excellency, as you spoke about
clothing, your immediate predecessor said
that your countrymen were bringing infe-
rior stuff here from India.
I don t want to say anything on that,
because India exports quality clothing all
over the world. The largest and best branded
stores buy Indian goods. If things work out
we will be happy to collaborate with stores
In terms of culture, things are working
quite well to begin with. We have the
Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Cultural Coop-
eration in Chaguanas, we also have cultural
troops coming here from India. Next year
we intend to do a cultural festival of India
in Port-of-Spain, and we are in touch with
the Culture Ministry on that matter.
Have you heard of the chutney genre?
(Eyes lit up with a big smile) Yes. I would
say it is a fusion of music between our two
countries. It has become very popular in
India, it is a great Trinidadian contribution
to our music world.
Are you aware that there are certain
Indo-Trinis who object to some aspects
of the chutney such as gyrating or, as we
Trini call it, wining?
(Laughs) I don t think we have that variety
yet, but we have the fusion of the two music
which is being used in Bollywood films.
Chutney is also an Indian word, you know,
which basically means a mix of many spices.
Mr Raphael, if I can mention this, I think
one area which India can learn tremendously
from you is how the fusion of ethnicities
and religions each work in your country so
beautifully. This is one area where not only
Indian but many other countries in the
world can learn. You are a small country
with a great fusion of all ethnicities, nation-
alities, so there are many areas we can work
to strengthen our ties.
India has been criticised by some more
industrialised countries for allegedly pro-
ducing inferior medications. Is this a fair
Not at all. Our pharmaceutical industry
is one of the best and the cheapest in the
world. Some of these accusations are
because they are posing a competition to
big pharmaceutical companies in the world.
We have been able to provide very cheap
medication for Aids, for cancer, for other
diseases which is not particularly liked by
these large companies so, therefore, the
accusations are based on the competition
they are receiving from India.
Mr Gupta, on the ongoing unsettled sit-
uation between India and Pakistan, do
you think there would be peace between
both countries in your lifetime?
I think so, because things are improving
slowly. We already have composite dialogue
process in place, but there are some periodic
incidents of terrorism promoted by our
neighbours. I hope our neighbours will
understand that terrorism is not the answer
to the problems.
Finally, Your Excellency, whenever I
happen to see images of India it always
strikes me that you cannot tell an Indian
from India and an Indo-Trini...that s
before they open their mouth. Has that
been your experience?
(Laughs) I agree with you, without open-
ing their mouth sometimes it is difficult to
say it is an Indian from India. We see that
to some extent in Mexico, as a lot of Mex-
icans look like Indians and unless they speak
you won t realise if they are Indian or not.
Finally Sir, what legacy do you hope to
leave at the end of your posting in Port-
(Chuckling) I don t want to say I want
to leave any legacy, but I will do my best
to promote relations between both coun-
...on fusion of ethnicities, religions, nationalities
"I think one area which
India can learn
tremendously from you is
how the fusion of ethnicities
and religions each work in
your country so beautifully.
This is one area where not
only Indian but many other
countries in the world can
learn. You are a small country
with a great fusion of all
ethnicities, nationalities, so
there are many areas we can
work to strengthen our ties.
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