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Resolution on Managing Diversity
Posted: Sunday, October 10, 2004

By Stephen Kangal

The following resolution was tabled at the post-Lecture discussions at the Divali Nagar on Thursday 7 October 2004. It will be considered at a Resumed Session of those who took part in the discussions.

Civic Society Resolution

The National Council of Indian Culture and participants assembled at the Lecture on Multiculturalism held on Thursday 7 October 2004 at Divali Nagar hereinafter referred to as civic society;

Expressing their deep satisfaction with the interactive format and the enthusiasm demonstrated in the widespread and active participation in the post-lecture discussions on the theme of: Multiculturalism: The Key to the Management of Ethno-Cultural Diversity the of Integration in Trinidad and Tobago on The Way Forward in a Multicultural and Multi-religious Society held at the Divali Nagar Auditorium on 7 October 2004;

And Bearing in Mind the urgent need to forge new visions to guide and direct the future development of T&T by according priority attention to the multicultural, diverse composition and varied human potential of the society;

And Taking note of the commitment contained in the Vision 2020 Statement to value and nurture the diversity and creativity of our peoples;
And expressing their outrage at the traditional gap that separates Government's policy statements from the means and modalities of genuine and effective implementation strategies;

Emphasizing the desirability of managing and harnessing for national progress and welfare the totality of the abundant high grade diverse human capital as well as our well endowed physical renewable and non-renewable resources;

And Aware of the widespread extent of the disappointment and damage caused to the multicultural fabric occasioned by 42 years of state nationalism that contributed to an ethnically polarised society and relegated large components of our cosmopolitan cultural heritage from mainstream culture and that were largely untapped;

Supportive of the principle of unity/equality/fairness in diversity as espoused by the Gordon Group of Eminent Citizens and NGO's and underlining the consequent need to introduce institutions and arrangements to achieve a viable, stable, cohesive and integrated society; and

Convinced that the introduction of an official Government policy on multiculturalism reinforced by legal and institutional arrangements would manage and efficiently transform our ethno-cultural diversity to our common good;

The Assembly of Civic Society has agreed as follows:

1. This forum of civic society accordingly calls on the Government of T&T to set in motion the requisite arrangements and mechanisms geared to formulate a White Paper on Managing Diversity in T&T to serve as a public document to mobilise public response and promote healthy and constructive national dialogue among the stake-holding communities;

2. Government may wish to make available the requisite resources, manpower and supporting Secretariat facilities to intensify research and dialogue on racio-ethno cultural issues geared to improving inter community, race and cross cultural relations in Trinidad and Tobago;

3. Calls upon Government to set in motion transparent processes and /or procedures that would culminate in the conceptualisation of an all-embracing, composite National Cultural Policy as well as a Multicultural Commission and including a Ministry on Multiculturalism;

4. Decides also to refer this Resolution to relevant bodies whose endorsement and/or support for its objectives may contribute further to evoking the requisite positive response from Government on this most issue that is a sine qua non to national integration and internal cohesiveness;

7 October 2004

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