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Rowley slammed for plan to remove Diversity Ministry

Saturday, June 21 2014

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National Diversity and Social Integration Minister, Rodger Samuel...
National Diversity and Social Integration Minister, Rodger Samuel...

National Diversity and Social Integration Minister, Rodger Samuel, has questioned statements attributed to PNM Political Leader, Dr Keith Rowley who has reportedly signalled his intention to abolish the Ministry. The Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration was established in June 2012. The Opposition Leader is reported to have said: “We are going to abolish the Ministry of Diversity and whatever else nonsense that exists in that Ministry.”

However, in an emailed statement yesterday, Samuel called on Rowley to define his meaning of the word “nonsense.”

“Clarification is therefore necessary as to the reference of the “nonsense” mentioned in the statement by the Opposition Leader, Samuel stated, and pointed out that according to the Webster’s Dictionary, the term nonsense means — “words or language which have no meaning, or which convey no just ideas; absurdity.”

Samuel then sought to outline the need for the Ministry saying for “decades, agencies charged with the responsibility for preserving, securing, protecting and managing our nation’s heritage have been neglected, with no functional administrative guidance to champion their true focus.” “Due to the abandonment and abrogation of the responsibilities by these dispersed agencies, our national identity was becoming endangered and our heritage forgotten. There was a decay in our social fabric due to a lack of awareness and appreciation for our history and heritage,” he added. He noted that the Ministry also serves as the umbrella organisation and oversees the operations of the National Museum and Art Gallery (Royal Victoria Institute); the National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago; the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago; the Inter-Religious Organisation; and the Archaeological Committee.

“Do these bodies constitute the nonsense being referred to by Dr. Rowley?’ Samuel asked, adding, “As the keeper of the National Treasures (in all forms and formats), the Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration, works to document, preserve, secure/protect and manage on behalf of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago — its greatest national resource — the value of its diversity, inclusion and heritage.”

Samuel said abolishing the Ministry would result in an “orphaning” of those “indispensable agencies with responsibility for preserving, protecting and managing our heritage.”

“The threat of our society falling into a crevice of ignorance and indifference could become the status quo, if we do not impart the knowledge that our past, equips us for our future,” he added.

“The Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration has been taking the necessary steps to correct the wrongs of the past Government due to the mismanagement and abandonment of our history and heritage which have plagued our nation for far too long. This Ministry fully embraces the Prime Minister’s vision for its establishment as we offer the nation an all embracing and all inclusive approach to our heritage and identity,’ he added.

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