Opposition to Ramleela centre at Divali Nagar
Louis B Homer
Primnath Gooptar, founding president of the National Ramleela Council of Trinidad and Tobago, said yesterday he was not in favour of plans by Government to construct the Ramleela centre at the Divali Nagar site in Chaguanas.
"The Nagar site is controlled by the National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) and if the Ramleela centre is built there we will have to get permission from the NCIC to use the site for our annual performances," said Gooptar.
He said the Ramleela Council is an independent body incorporated by law and it should not be subjected to the wishes of the NCIC.
Gooptar said what members of the movement need is a site that will be controlled by the Council where members can hold their meetings and other related functions in an independent setting.
"Just think for a moment what will happen if the Council decides to hold a function on the same day the NCIC is having one of their own, then we will become a tenant and may be forced to cancel the event."
Gooptar said the space that is likely to be allotted will be too small to hold their annual events. He argued that the movement is growing and space is an important factor.
"We have 35 groups in the country and lands are available close to the Sugar Museum. Why not put the centre in the sugar cane museum environment? Ramleela is a product of the indentured sugar workers. When tourists visit the site they will be in a position to relate the sugar industry to an event made possible from the early days of indenture."
Gooptar said the Council would like to have a museum and facilities for training a national troupe.
"All of this is not possible at the Nagar site."
Gooptar said the decision to have the site in Chaguanas was arrived at without any consultation with the Ramleela groups or the National Council.