Sunday, November 19, 2006

Chatham residents demand apology from Larry Achong

Residents of Chatham are demanding a public apology from Point Fortin MP Larry Achong for his behaviour at a recent public symposium held to discuss construction of smelter plants in their area.

Yesterday, residents, who joined together in the hosting of a Hindu puja in honour of Hindu deity Lord Hanuman, expressed disappointment at Achong’s un-apologetic behaviour.

A broadcast of Achong’s apparent use of obscene language at a public symposium in Chatham, which was held two Thursdays ago, has caused a public outcry.

Yesterday one resident called Sundar, addressing villagers said:

“I want to endorse that we are totally against people abusing people.”

The resident said Achong should immediately apologise—not only to citizens of T&T but to “the world, because this has reached the world (through) CNN.

“He has abused the whole country; we don’t condone this behaviour,” he added.

The Sunday Guardian learnt that pundits in the area had refused to perform the puja at the campsite, fearing reprisals.

But one pundit, who only gave his name as Pundit Maharaj, agreed to perform the puja. He admitted, though, that he, too, was afraid of reprisals and requested that his photo and name not be published. He said this was a condition for his participation in the puja.

He said the puja was being done out of love and that “this is not a protest or demonstration; this is devotion, devotion to the Lord.”

Father Wilfred John, together with pastor Muriel, delivered words of prayer and solace to the embattled residents.

John also petitioned God to give the residents strength “so they will not lose heart.”

Pundit Maharaj told the residents that “one of the worst situations can be turned into the best.”

He warned that “what you do with this human body, what you do with nature and creation is your gift back to God.”

The pundit also said, let the flags hoisted “fly for victory and protection not only for Chatham but for the whole of T&T.”


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