Minister of National Security and Member of Parliament for Chaguanas West Jack Warner attended Divali Nagar celebrations in Chaguanas on Friday night.
But he steered clear of the political rumblings caused by his decision not to attend the Nagar's opening night last Sunday. Warner said he decided to stay away as Opposition Leader Keith Rowley and members of the People's National Movement were attending.
"I know I would have disappointed some of you, because some of you came tonight to hear some kuchoor and to hear some politics and to hear about politicians who come in here politicising Hinduism. That is not for tonight. There is a time and place for everything."
But Warner noted that in the People's Partnership Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the Divali Nagar and National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) had genuine friends.
"We are what you see is what you get. Our love and commitment remains as strong as it has been over the last two and a half decades."
Warner, however, urged citizens to love their country as the Hindu God Hanuman loved Lord Rama.
"And we must love our Prime Minister and her Government. We will do as Hanuman did and stand up in defence of that which is right no matter how painful it is," he said.
And leader of Government Business, Minister of Housing Roodal Moonilal, applauded the NCIC for opening their arms to members of the PNM at the opening ceremony of Divali Nagar.
Moonilal, who also attended the event on Friday, said the NCIC displayed the true meaning of Hinduism.
"I am so happy even at the NCIC...you have welcomed all. And you have welcomed persons who may not share your values," he told the audience.
"It was only earlier this year when the Prime Minister went to India and in receiving the blessings of the president of India, the Prime Minister bowed at her feet in one of our most sacred performance. There were those in the society who felt that was contemptuous and poured scorn on that Hindu practice of bowing at the elderly and taking blessings.
"I am happy now that they came to you to share your values at this time and I am pleased that the NCIC is so embracing in the approach to all."
Moonilal compared Persad-Bissessar to a deya.
"You can take one deya and light a million other deyas. And just as that suggests, all we need is one light to light up everything in our society. And where we have leaders we need one light and that light is the honourable Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar," he said.
Warner added that members of the society have a duty to be good citizens, never hypocrites.
He said as Minister of National Security, crime and poverty will be defeated.
"To do that we must look for the positives that are out there and we must get involved in supporting those positives, whether it is to help a needy child with meeting the cost of extra lessons, by becoming a corporate sponsor of a police youth club project, by volunteering as mentors, or by initiating or engaging in projects with your neighbours to create a more positive society," he said.
Warner's Divali message was to follow the example of Hanuman and walk on the side of righteousness.