opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley is seemingly caught in a conundrum. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. In this case, it would be to attend the Divali Nagar. If he didn't attend, the situation would have been spun as him shunning and appearing aloof to the Hindu community, uncaring and callous towards their festivities.
However, when he did attend, he was promptly shot down by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Minister Jack Warner, based on a reaction from a past incident that involved Persad-Bissessar bowing at the feet of India's president. Either way, he would have been denigrated and further pushed into exile from the Hindu community.
By doing this, however, I believe Persad-Bissessar and company are alienating some of the same people who voted for them in the last election, especially those in the marginal territories. Religious occasions should not be used as platforms to score political points. During these times, we should not view ourselves as PNM (People's National Movement), UNC (United National Congress) or COP (Congress of the People) but as Trinidadians.
Divali has been around since before these people and their political parties were born, and its point has always been to embrace light and push the darkness into the shallow recesses, whether by inviting and reconnecting with kith and kin, sharing out sweets and food or even literal light as in physically illuminating our roads and yards with deyas.
Light, to me, is a virtue. It is a characteristic that makes you want to be near a person as you find them inspiring because they have the ability to show you new paths and new ways. It entails caution, yes, but also the ability to forgive and release any darkness that you yourself held within the recesses of your mind.
By holding such a petty grudge, Persad-Bissessar and Warner have both failed to do this, and it shows that no matter how much they speak of light over darkness, it just shows that while they try to hold the roles of our lamplighters, they still retain a degree of darkness that enshrouds the very light they want to exude.
By attacking the Opposition leader for attending a celebration that accounts for no political stance, the Prime Minister has stooped lower than she could bow.
Kevin Jared Hosein