To: All Editors
Date: 25th October 2023
From: The Office of the Leader of the Opposition
𝗢𝗽𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗲𝗿: 𝗢𝘂𝗿𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗿𝘆 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲𝘀, 𝗺𝗼𝘀𝗾𝘂𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗵𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗵𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗲𝗳𝘂𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝘀𝗶𝘁𝘂𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗻𝗲𝘅𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿, 𝘀𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗰𝗮𝗿𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗸𝘀, 𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗳𝗮𝗰𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝘀𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗲𝘀. 𝗪𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗰𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗯𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿’𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗮𝗹𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗯𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗮𝗰𝗿𝗼𝘀𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗽𝗼𝗹𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹, 𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗻𝗶𝗰, 𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗼𝗿 𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀 𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘀. 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗲, 𝗶𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗱𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗿𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗲𝘁𝘆’𝘀 𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗹 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗰𝘁𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗹𝗮𝘇𝘆 𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗴𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗵𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗼𝘂𝘁, 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗮𝗻 𝗶𝗼𝘁𝗮 𝗼𝗳 𝘀𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲. 𝗪𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝘃𝗶𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝗰𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗶𝘀 𝗼𝗻𝗴𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝗺𝗼𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗻 𝗧𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗱𝗮𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗧𝗼𝗯𝗮𝗴𝗼 𝗶𝘀 𝗡𝗢𝗧 𝗮 𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗲𝘁𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗼𝗿 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝗵𝗮𝘁𝗲, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗜 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗼𝗻 𝗰𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘇𝗲𝗻𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗴𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗿𝗲𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝗰𝗸𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗼𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝘀𝘂𝗴𝗴𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀.
Modern Trinidad and Tobago has a crime problem, we do not have a problem of religious intolerance or religious hate. Our society is one of the most tolerant in the world regarding the acceptance of religious and cultural diversity.
Recently, there have been crimes at some Hindu temples, but these must not be viewed in isolation as an attack on the Hindu community. In July this year, the Church of the Assumption parish office at Maraval was broken into, and previously, there were robberies or vandalism at the Mt St Benedict monastery, San Rafael RC church, St Francis of Assisi RC church and the Claxton Bay SDA church, among others. We have had robberies or vandalism at mosques in
Sangre Grande, Carapo, and Tableland to list a few.
The fact is that none of these robberies or acts of vandalism have been proven to be committed due to religious intolerance or hate. Some of these were crimes committed by drug addicts, mentally disturbed persons, mischief makers, or petty thieves.
Some acts of vandalism have turned out to be fuelled by disputes within the congregation or community, land disputes, noise complaints, bad parking issues, and even petty family quarrels. Places of worship are often soft targets due to the lack of physical security and the belief by opportunistic criminals that there may be valuable alms and offerings on the premises.
Ours is a country where temples, mosques and churches are situated next to each other, sharing carparks, service facilities and recreational spaces. We all celebrate and partake in each other’s religious festivals and celebrations across any political, ethnic, race or social class lines.
Therefore, it is dangerous to our society’s peace and civil stability when intellectually lazy allegations of hate crimes and religious intolerance are thrown out, without an iota of supporting evidence.
While there is a violent crime crisis ongoing, modern Trinidad and Tobago is NOT a society of religious intolerance or religious hate, and I call on citizens to categorically reject those wicked and provocative suggestions.
Citizens must immediately move to stop this unwarranted and divisive theme from gaining any traction by cooperating with the TTPS to bring these petty thieves and vandals to justice.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition
25th October 2023