The Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) and the Islamic Relief
Centre Ltd filed a constitutional motion seeking the enforcement
of our fundamental human rights and freedoms as guaranteed
in the Constitution of T&T. High Court action No CVS 2065/2004
was heard before Justice Peter Jamadar.
Justice Jamadar wrote:
In my opinion, leaving aside the savings clause argument
for the moment, the respondent has shown no accommodation
whatsoever to ameliorate the indirect adverse discriminating
effects of the award of the Trinity Cross on the applicants
as Hindus and Muslims and as corporate citizens representing
Hindus and Muslims in T&T.
Prime Minister Patrick Manning moved to correct the discrimination
by appointing an Awards Review Committee to examine a new
national award to replace the Trinity Cross in addition to
the present official days and festivals. For the benefit of
the general public we would like to share the proposals we
have submitted to the committee that is chaired by Prof Bridget
The executive of the SDMS, after due and extensive deliberations,
humbly recommends for your committees consideration
its thoughts on the national holidays and observances as a
subset of national symbols and observances.
Outlined in the schedule (above) is a listing of the present
festivals/ holidays and juxtaposed thereto is a listing of
SDMSs proffered choices. The SDMS will submit its views
on other subsets of national symbols and observances in due
course upon its conclusion of discussions among its membership.
At No 2 we recommend that Carnival Monday and Tuesday be
officially recognised as public holidays. It is a great pretence
to have them considered working days when nobody works on
At No 7 we recommend that Corpus Christi be maintained as
a public holiday but the name be changed to Thanksgiving Day.
All sections of the national community will be asked to offer
thanks to the Almighty God for all the bounties that we enjoy.
Every group will observe its own religious and cultural traditions.
At No 9, Emancipation Day should be changed to African Emancipation
Day. It is hypocritical to argue that emancipation does not
refer specifically to the emancipation of the African slaves.
We emphasise that at No 6 the name Indian Arrival Day be
maintained. In this way the two major groups that form 85
per cent of the population are provided the opportunity to
celebrate their presence and arrival in T&T.
At No 11, Republic Day should be changed to Heritage Day.
Replacing the queens ceremonial governor general with
a president is an historic event but not of significant importance
to be placed on a calendar of important days and festivals.
This new Heritage Day will provide an opportunity for all
the smaller racial groups to celebrate their heritage.
At No 15, Boxing Day (December 26) is totally insignificant
in our calendar of events and irrelevant to our history.
With the exception of festivals that rely on lunar calculations
(Divali, Eid-ul-Fitr) and other fixed-day festivals, Good
Friday, Easter Monday, Christmas Day, all other public holidays
should fall on the nearest Monday or Friday. Citizens will
enjoy a long weekend of three days and the economy will not
suffer a disjointed week.
Present Holiday Proposed Holiday
1. New Years Day New Years Day
2. Carnival Carnival Mondayofficial
3. Shouter Baptists Day Shouter Baptists Day
4. Good Friday Good Friday
5. Easter Monday Easter Monday
6. Indian Arrival Day Indian Arrival Day
7. Corpus Christi Thanksgiving Daychange
8. Labour Day Labour Day
9. Emancipation Day African Emanci-
pation Dayadd African
10. Independence Day Independence Day
11. Republic Day Heritage Dayall groups
12. Divali Divali Day
13. Eid-ul-Fitr Eid-ul-Fitr
14. Christmas Day Christmas Day
15. Boxing Day remove
MAHARAJ is the Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha