Message from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on the occasion of Divali 2020.
I am pleased, as Prime Minister, to bring greetings to the Hindu community on behalf of the Government, and the people of all other faiths, within the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, on this special occasion of Divali.
I must add also that my own family extends its warmest greetings.
Every year, Divali celebrations, with its festival of lights, signal to us all the need for a deep, internal renewal of the Spirit and a new beginning.
It calls upon all of us to pause, and in a fundamental way, regardless of our beliefs, to transcend beyond the frenzied pace of our lives, to introspect and reflect upon whatever darkness, or those lower-nature anxieties, fears, hatred, anger and ignorance that may lurk within us. In some way, we may recognise our dying moral sense, our loss of respect for life, for humanity and God-consciousness.
It can take us back to the path in which we search for deeper spiritual awareness and renewal which is fundamental to life’s journey. It can tell us, too, that the search may lead us to sense the presence of God, and the inner light, which resides within us all, and its power to radiate outwardly through our positive thoughts, deeds and actions.
The members of the Hindu community see this time as an expression of the inner certainty of their faith in which they try to reach their higher selves, which is expressed also in the form of sharing of food and sweets with their families, friends and the needy.
In an earlier period, this festival was celebrated exclusively among the Hindu community. Today, it is a proud expression of our society that this festival of lights has been embraced as a national celebration.
Across the country, people of different religious traditions and ethnicities have been lighting their homes as part of this celebration, displaying, at best, our religious tolerance for each other, and the strength and beauty that is in the diversity of our people and our country.
This year the COVID-19 global pandemic has created a fundamental difference, instilling the practice of physical distancing as the norm among us.
However, we are a creative people. Our celebrations will not disappear; our nation has had challenges before, and we will continue to confront obstacles responsibly along the way, but the inner light that we possess as a people will always allow us to overcome them.
Let us all, in this very unusual and unprecedented period, celebrate the spirit of Divali, yet observing all the health protocols that are in force, such as the wearing of masks, in limited gatherings.
Let us continue, as a nation, to treat this day of joy, unity, harmony, and festivity as sacred, obeying the Public Health regulations, in the hope that Trinidad and Tobago will eventually overcome the COVID-19 challenge.
Let us all come together to illuminate in oneness of mind and shine our inner lights collectively into the darkest recesses of our nation.
We each have a light. Let us all ensure that this personal glow of our inner light helps us to create a brighter and better Trinidad and Tobago.