Trinidad's PM and Senior Officials issue Ramadan messages
Alim Ali

By Alim Ali
Published on 08/11/2010
Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago;  Mr. Jack Warner, Minister of Works, Transportation and UNC Chairman; Mr. Winston Dookeran, Minister of Finance and Political Leader of the Congress of the People; each issued Ramadan messages to the Muslims and people of Trinidad and Tobago.

Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar message urges all to be caring citizens
"As Muslims across the world prepare to observe the Holy month of Ramadan, the month of fasting; on behalf of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, I extend Ramadan greetings to the local Muslim community.

Fasting is an institution that is almost as universal as prayer. It involves some level of privation from sunrise to sunset for an entire month. This rigorous exercise in self control and discipline brings the individual closer to those who are poor and under-privileged in the society. It serves to soften the hearts of those who have towards those who are in need.  Fasting also helps to develop the noble qualities, which bring people of all walks of life together to help the less fortunate in the society.

Recently, during the flooding in many parts of our country, we witnessed the outpouring of support and generosity from both corporate citizens and individuals.  It is this capacity to empathise with and reach out to the less fortunate which will distinguish us as a truly caring nation.  Let us never forget that we are our brothers’ keeper.

As our Muslim brothers and sisters engage in extra prayers and perform charitable acts during the month of Ramadan, let us join with them in spirit. Let us follow their example and extend a helping hand to those most in need of our support.

Once again it is my wish and prayer that all those who engage in the fast during this month will be richly rewarded by Almighty God for their efforts.

Ramadan Mubarak
Kamla Persad-Bissessar
Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago."

Jack Warner: Ramadan is a lesson in brotherhood
"The holy month of Ramadan is upon us.

Two weeks ago we commemorated Emancipation Day. A few months from now, Hindus would begin their holy fast for Divali. And in a few months time again, our Catholic family would once more come together in the Christmas spirit in remembrance of Lord Jesus Christ.

The observance of Ramadan in Trinidad and Tobago, fast on the heels of Emancipation celebrations and before Divali is a reminder that we thrive on our diversity.

It is this very cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic and multi-religious background that makes our nation so dynamic; one that forever reminds us that God ...... is the one who is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.

The Holy period of Ramadan unites all Muslims in fasting, worship and prayer. It is a time for reflection, spirituality, brotherhood and unity. During this time Muslims recite the two-fold Creed (Shahada, profession of faith) ; there is no God but Allah' and 'Muhammad is his Prophet'.

They engage in Salat or prayer; at least five set-times a day while facing towards the city of Mecca. Muslims are expected to give "zakat"; 'purification', an act of worship. This is a voluntary giving to the poor. It is a time of unpolluted reflection on creating a better and purer life for all. It is a time to contemplate on the struggles of the past and to ponder the victories of the future.

Our Islamic family has exhibited acts of kindness, fellowship, brotherhood, charity and service to God which are very much admirable and should be emulated by the wider community.  Muslims have also contributed to all aspects of societal development; in politics, law, business and sport.

It is now important for all of humanity to remember the significance of the principles such as faith, repentance, truthfulness, simplicity, equality for all and concern for the dispossessed and the poor.

At this time of prayer, it is unfortunate that many have had to go undergo the hardship of dealing with unprecedented rains and floods, but they are assured that their Government is working assiduously to rectify these problems.

The response from the national community in giving and caring for the affected is the very essence of Ramadan. Collectively in prayer our woes can be turned into our victories.

In my capacity as Chairman of the United National Congress and on my own personal behalf as MP for Chaguanas West, I do extend sincerest greetings to our Muslim family and all of Trinidad and Tobago on this very auspicious occasion of Ramadan.

May we all be blessed.

Jack Warner
UNC Chairman

Winston Dookeran's - reiterates Gov't commitment to poverty eradication
The leader of the Congress of the People has extended greetings to the Muslim community on the occasion of Ramadan, noting that the month-long daily fast presents lessons in discipline and self control for the wider society.

"Through fasting, a Muslim experiences hunger and thirst, and sympathizes with the unfortunate ones in the world who have little to eat every day. Our recent floods with its devastation and suffering, attest to this," Winston Dookeran said in a Ramadan message.

The Finance Minister added, "Through increased charity, Muslims develop feelings of generosity and good-will toward others," noting that poverty eradication remains a priority objective of the People’s Partnership Government.

Addressing the meaning of the fast, Dookeran said it teaches good manners, good speech, and good habits - values that lead to a better society.

"During the month, Muslims establish a healthier lifestyle, particularly with regards to diet and smoking. Obesity and smoking are having a negative impact on our healthcare delivery in Trinidad and Tobago.  Through increased family and community gatherings, Muslims strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood, in their own communities and throughout the world," Dookeran said.

The Congress of the People leader said the teachings, the sacrifice and the discipline in the observance of Ramadan provide inspiration not only for Muslims but also for all of Trinidad and Tobago.

"I look forward with the rest of the national the Eid-Ul-Fitr celebrations at the end of the fast," Dookeran said as he wished everyone "Ramadan Mubarak".