‘Who must tolerate whom?’ former prime minister asks

Basdeo Panday

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad  – Former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday is calling for  a change of  Trinidad and Tobago’s watchwords of ‘Discipline, Production and Tolerance’ and suggested that ‘Tolerance’ be replaced with ‘Appreciation’ or ‘Respect.’

According to Panday, the word ‘tolerance’ reeked of a superiority/ inferiority complex.

Panday was speaking at the National Council for Indian Culture (NCIC) Hall of Fame induction at the Divali Nagar in Chaguanas in Central Trinidad on Saturday..

In his address, Panday who was an inductee, said the world was a global village which is seeing a constant struggle for space and recognition by various communities, tribes, ethnicities, clan and religions.

He  noted that persons have suggested that the proliferation of commemorative public holidays in this country was perpetuating divisiveness in the society.

“They advocate instead the abolition of all existing holidays and celebrations that divide our people such as Indian Arrival Day, Emancipation, Corpus Christi, and Eid-ul-Fitr.

The replacement suggested must be a single, all embracing, all inclusive, national holiday in celebration of, and emphasis on, unity instead of the multifarious schism in our nation,” he said.

“While we call for a peaceful and harmonious society, the answer for the establishment of a peaceful and progressive society it is not to put them into a melting pot and deny them their identity, the beauty of their uniqueness,” he said.

“Our history is replete with denial, debasement, and demeaning of one group by and against another. Even our national watchwords insinuate the debasement,” he said.

“Who must tolerate whom?” he asked.