Trinidad has a bogus democracy: Hindu leader

By Paras Ramoutar, IANS

Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago) : A Hindu leader in Trinidad and Tobago has termed the country’s democracy as “bogus” despite last year’s Nov 5 peaceful general elections.

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Satnarayan Maharaj, general secretary of Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS), said: “I say to you and I say to the nation, don’t congratulate yourself that we are in a democracy. We’re a bogus democracy, we’re a sham, only if you have millions and political power you enjoy democracy.”

Maharaj underlined his point at the annual New Year’s Day worship at St. Augustine. He told hundreds of Hindus at the prayer: “Yes, you may say we have survived, but we have survived in a bogus democracy. Trinidad and Tobago is a bogus democracy.”

The SDMS has control over 250 Hindu temples and schools in the country. There are over 350,000 Hindus out of a population of 1.3 million in this Caribbean nation.

He said: “We see on a daily basis our leaders going to court and coming from court, judges are being threatened, the senior judge in the land, the chief justice, for two years was tormented and almost destroyed.

“The brainpower in this land is moving away and I am saying, ‘yes move out’ as there is a glass ceiling, only the preferred should cross that glass ceiling.”

He charged that the biggest hypocrite – in denying the people their freedom and rights – is always the government and the state.

Maharaj said Trinidad had not yet degenerated into open warfare but “we are living in a country where we don’t know who is police and who is thief, this is a fact, this is stark reality”.

He reflected on 2007: “We see the rise in crime. There is more blood flowing on the streets of Trinidad than water through the pipes of WASA (Water and Sewerage Authority).”

“The prohibitive cost of food has now become a problem. We as a nation, we are starving in midst of prosperity, our healthcare is in disarray and as a people we cannot access proper healthcare services.”

“We want 2008 to be the greatest year in the history of Trinidad & Tobago. I call upon on the politicians, involve the people of the country in the administration of the land, this is our land.”

Indians came here in large numbers between 1845 and 1917 from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to work on the sugar plantations following the abolition of slavery in 1838 and have settled here adding to the national gross domestic product and wealth of this land.