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Statement delivered by Senator the Honourable Dennis Moses at a Reception at the High Commission of the Republic of India on the occasion of the Festival of Divali

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Your Excellency Gauri Shankar Gupta, High
Commissioner of the Republic of India and Mrs. Gupta;

Distinguished Ministers of Government and Members
of the House of Representatives and of the Senate;

Your Excellencies Heads of Mission and other
Members of the Diplomatic Corps;

Sir Dennis Byron, President of the Caribbean Court
of Justice;

Members of Staff of the High Commission of the
Republic of India;

Specially invited guests;

Members of the Media;

Ladies and Gentlemen;     

Good evening

Your Excellency, High Commissioner Gupta,  it is a pleasure for me to be present here
this evening to extend Divali greetings to you, your family and your specially
invited guests. As I conveyed to staff of the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM
Affairs during the Ministry’s commemoration last week, our national anthem’s
reference to “every creed and race find
an equal place
” resonates with our nation’s celebration of Divali. This
event today provides us with yet another opportunity to increase our knowledge
and share in the enlightenment of this festival.

Divali – also known as Deepavali, the Hindu Festival of lights, which
signifies light over darkness, good over evil, and hope over despair – came to
our shores 170 years ago with the arrival of indentured labourers from India. From
1845 to present day, Divali has undergone many changes to become one of the
biggest festivals celebrated by citizens throughout our twin-island republic.
Divali, which was officially declared a public holiday in 1966, allows us as a
people to draw inspiration from this religious festival as we strive to develop
our beloved country.

Yesterday we joined with the Hindu community in Trinidad and Tobago to
celebrate Divali. The 2015 theme selected by the Trinidad and Tobago National
Council of Indian Culture is “Devi Maa – The Divine Mother”. Celebrations this
year in Trinidad and Tobago welcomed artistes from India as well as from other
countries. In this regard, participants were afforded the opportunity to enjoy
performances by students of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Cultural
Cooperation and were thrilled with the appearances of well-known Bollywood
actors. World-renowned Shah Rukh Khan conveyed special greetings to Trinidad
and Tobago via satellite during the 29th Annual Divali Nagar which
was broadcast for the first time to international audiences by the Zee TV
network. 

India’s involvement
in this country’s observance of Divali is a further testament to the strong
historical and cultural ties that have continued to grow from strength to
strength since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 1962. Within
recent years, cooperation between Trinidad and Tobago and India has transcended
the traditional spheres of cultural cooperation, technical cooperation and
trade. These traditional bonds have expanded to include agriculture,
information and communication technology, energy, science and technology and
traditional medicine, among others.

Excellency, in Hinduism, Divine Mother is the first manifestation of
Divine Energy. It signifies omnipotence, omnipresence, love, intelligence and
wisdom. Just as a child believes its mother to be all-powerful, and capable of
doing anything for the child, a devotee believes the Divine Mother to be all
merciful, all-powerful and eternally guiding and protecting him/her with her
invisible arms.

Excellency, for this festival of lights, I hope that the warm and
friendly relations that exist between our two countries can continue to be
nurtured towards increased collaboration and cooperation. May the light that
shines within each and every one of us guide our way to the greater prosperity
and well-being of the people of both Trinidad and Tobago and India.

Shubh Divali 

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