Do we need a Diversity Ministry?
I find it puzzling, firstly, that in an established multicultural society such as T&T we should be consecrating the concept of "national diversity" with an official ministerial stamp.
Nationalism is, at least at the cultural level, the very antithesis of diversity and multiculturalism. I support a policy of nationalism in the political and economic spheres.
But at the cultural level T&T is irrevocably tied to a strategy and policy framework of just plain and simple cultural diversity or multiculturalism.
Secondly, with the existence of a Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism why do we need this expensive duplication inherent in the new Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration that will clearly overlap with the remit and mandate of the Multiculturalism Ministry? This is a bloated Government with 38 Ministers.
Will it produce turf wars?
I recall the PM in her Indian Arrival Day message underlining the need for the commencement of a dialogue on diversity. I felt that the appointment of a task force or a commission on diversity under the aegis of the Multiculturalism Ministry was the way to proceed.
I did not foresee the minting of a new bureaucracy with two ministers who firstly, do not represent the diversity and secondly, with no track record or credentials in treating with diversity in T&T.
In the very sensitive and emotive area of culture, identity and diversity that has produced many a local conflict with respect to state funding, cultural exclusion and recognition of the cultural streams flowing in T&T it is crucial and almost mandatory to ensure that these streams are ministerially represented at the critical policy and programme formulation and determination stages.
If not we may appear to be aiming for the achievement of social inclusion by adopting a strategy that is based on socio-cultural exclusion.
The configuration of the new Cabinet in treating with and addressing the cultural development imperative telegraphs a politically uninspiring message.
We may have regressed.