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SDMS SECRETARY GENERAL MUST CEASE AND DESIST

Published: 
Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha Satnarayan Maharaj continues to taint the image of Trinidad and Tobago and all right-thinking citizens. His persistence at retaining outdated, gender-biased and pedophilic legislation, which flies in the face of children’s rights, must be of serious concern to the population at large, inclusive of those who accept his regressive persuasion and rhetoric.

The youth of today respect tradition in as far as there is a proper rationale for its continuance. History shows that child marriage was once somewhat accepted globally as it tended to have several benefits for a minor whose family wished them a better life when opportunities for progress was scarce. However, this must no longer be an option. Respected societies periodically take the time to assess its traditions and practices that have the potential to either facilitate or stymie growth.

On behalf of the youth of Trinidad and Tobago and the movement for a more progressive society I urge Secretary General Maharaj to cease and desist as it relates to any move to reverse the position of the duly elected Parliament to prohibit the marriage of children. Having debated and voted in the Senate on this issue, I stressed the dangers of retaining legislation which promotes slavery or child labour; a forgoing of opportunities; unhealthy physical, mental and emotional development and forced marriage. Today my position remains the same.

While over the years many have left the Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha to publicly make reckless statements, with only a slap on the wrist at most, it must be acknowledged that he has a following and therefore has the potential to poison efforts to move the twin island republic forward.

While Trinidad and Tobago makes provisions for free speech through its constitution, citizens must stand up against statements and actions that are divisive, hateful, destructive and counterproductive.

On behalf of the Commonwealth Youth Council, the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Convention and the young people of Trinidad and Tobago who share similar views, I wish to commend fellow Members of Parliament for taking the most obvious decision to protect the children of this country and to positively shape the environment in which future generations will be raised.

Nikoli Edwards

Vice Chairperson Policy Advocacy and Projects

Commonwealth Youth Council