Satnarayan Maharaj, secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS), yesterday blamed the death of Pennywise stores heiress, Dian Paladee, at the hands of her former husband, on an “anger” that has settled on the country.
Maharaj, a friend of the Paladee family, was at the time addressing a celebration and Hindu ‘satsang” (prayer) for the slain teacher, at El Dorado Hindu Primary School, where she taught.
It was a birthday turned memoriam for Paladee, who would have turned 49 yesterday. She was shot and killed last Thursday.
Maharaj harkened back to the 1990 coup attempt by the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen as a time when anger overflowed into the townships, where it has remained and for which no one has been made to pay up to today.
That anger is now being compounded by a continuation of a lack of discussion and justice and is overflowing into relationships, he said.
“We are in tremendous trouble,” Maharaj said, later remarking to members of the Paladee family that he knows they feel targeted.
“There are a number of reasons. But we are not strong enough as a nation to stand up and discuss it.
“Where were we when a second invasion of Parliament took place? A lady went in there and shut down the Parliament.”
Maharaj said that instead of having the woman arrested, the Speaker of the House (Wade Mark) shut down the Parliament.
Shortly after the killing in December of six-year-old Keyanna Noel of Maloney, activist and former Children’s Affairs minister, Verna St Rose-Greaves, went into the Parliament building on the Port of Spain Waterfront and shouted at Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to save the nation’s children.
This resulted in the Parliament being shut down until the commotion settled.
“What was the message in that,” Maharaj said, adding that the anger being displayed today comes as a result of not responding to “evil doers” as the law requires.
He stated further that there exists today a section of the population that is not from the land, which does not understand local culture.
Maharaj, who earlier said that he was not making a “political” statement, said another attempt is being made to illegally overthrow the Government.
“A quarter of the people in this land are not born in Trinidad,” he said.
“They don’t understand the evolution of the culture. When we say ‘no, remain in Jamaica’, they say ‘we will stop buying your soft drinks’. So we have no authority. People are coming in here who do not understand the culture, the various religions and the various ethnic groups and how we have lived together for 168 years. The end product is Dian Paladee.”
Maharaj then told members of the Paladee family present that he knows they feel specially targeted and added, “All of us are targeted.”
“If the Government collapses, if law and order collapses, all of us will be targeted,” Maharaj said.
“Let us abide by the law of the land, so we can say that another Paladee will not happen.”
A call for the Government to act on crime was made earlier by Raj Jadoo, manager and executive member of the SDMS.
In his address, Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj, who is also a member of the SDMS, said the Government can’t “put a police in every home”.
Maharaj went on to remember Paladee fondly and as a father whose children once attended the school where she taught, he said: “Her impact on my children’s life was immeasurable.”