Port-of-Spain: Trinidad and Tobago’s President Anthony Carmona has called for the adoption of the Indian panchayat system to bring about amicable redress in the national society.

He was delivering the message marking the 172nd Indian Arrival Day, May 30, which is a public holiday like Divali. “Because of the indentureship, a traditional method of amicable redress is available to us in the form of the panchayat system. The panchayat system is one of the earliest manifestations of mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution. It represents a cultural solution to resolving conflict in our communities,” he said

President Carmona said that panchayat was, indeed, a forerunner that actualized a restorative justice that can ameliorate individuals or community-enveloped in conflict and burdened by discord, and it is one of the hallmarks of indentureship, is a way of resolving social conflicts through the power of mediation and alternative dispute resolution.

He said that the emphasis and care traditionally placed on the environment and “Dharti Mata” (Mother Earth) in the East Indian way of life, should be mirrored and pursued aggressively with our nation, adding that the philosophy of self-sustainabilty and that buzz expression, food security may well have emanated from the planting culture of the East Indians involved in sugar, rice and cocoa production.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said in a statement that Indian Arrival Day must, therefore, be considered as an opportunity for all of us, as citizens of Trinidad and Tobago to recall our history as a nation and determine how we may all continue to positively impact our future.

“These events have impacted every aspect of life in Trinidad and Tobago and are evident in the ethnic and cultural diversity of our people,” he said.

Indian High Commissioner, Bishwadip Dey, in his message, noted that relations between India, and Trinidad and Tobago are deeply rooted in history and culture. “During the colonial era, after the abolition of slavery in 1833, the British faced extreme shortage of labour for sugar in producing colonies and India became the source for this manpower resource.”

“The Government and People of India take pride in their association and remain engaged with the diaspora. Such engagement is to fulfill the diaspora’s emotional needs and maintain nuptial bond, recognizing the fact that they remain citizens of their country of residence and their loyalties remain there. We cherish our relationship with the diaspora which is aimed to bring benefits to the members and to their adopted countries,” Dey added.

Mayor of Chaguanas, Alderman Gopaul Boodan said that the dynamism of the experience on Indian indentureship is evident in the multifaceted customs of Trinidad and Tobago. “For these reasons, our celebration of days such as this must be more than simply a formality, but rather an active affirmation of our commitment to ensure that every creed and race, finds an equal place in this land of ours.”

Public Relations Officer of the National Council of Indian Culture(NCIC) Surujdeo Mangaroo, said that as we celebrate the 172nd Indian Arrival Day, we must not forget the determination, courage and commitment of our forefathers to this land, and their families as they claim it was their destiny to come here.

A network of religious, cultural and social activities has been planned through the country, especially marking the centenary of the abolition of indentureship 1917 to 2017. Several groups have planned these activities which include Ajeet Praimsingh Mere Desh, the NCIC, the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha(SDMS).

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