Split in Trinidad and Tobago
newly elected executives of GOPIO-Trinidad Chapter were formally installed
at a very prominent event held on the evening of Friday, February 29, 2008
at the HCU World Select Gem Convention Centre in Freeport, Trinidad. The
event was very well attended by over 300 that included high ranking
officials of the government and opposition parties as well as foreign
representatives, well wishers, the press and the general public.
feature speaker was the Indian High Commissioner Jagjit Singh Sapra. Newly
elected executive officers of GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago were inaugurated
by GOPIO Secretary General Ashook Ramsaran and GOPIO's Caribbean Region
Vice- President Ambassador Krishna Nandoe.
new officers are: President Deosaran Bisnath; Vice President Reuben
Girdhar-Niranjan: Secretary Rajnie Ramlakhan; Asst. Secretary Sacha
Mahabal; Auditor Davindra Singh; Directors Pandit Jaganath Seeram Maharaj,
Doolarchan Hanoomansingh, and Niranjan Bhaggan.
High Commissioner Sapra delivered the keynote address and praised GOPIO's
community. Minister Lenny Saithin the Prime Minister's Office
congratulated the newly elected officials of GOPIO of Trinidad and Tobago
and extended greetings from Prime Minister Patrick Manning. Albert Ramdin,
Assistant Secretary of the Organization of American States (OAS) remarked
that GOPIO's effort on local and international levels are quite admirable.
remarks were made by Deosaran Bisnath, newly elected President of GOPIO of
Trinidad and Tobago chapter; Ashook Ramsaran, General Secretary of GOPIO
International; Ambassador Mr. Krishna Nandoe, Caribbean Region Vice-
President of GOPIO International; Mr Yesu Persaud, a founding member of
GOPIO and currently Chairman of Guyana; Mr Basdeo Panday, Leader of the
Opposition Party. Also in attendance was Suriname's Ambassador to Trinidad
and TobagoFidelia Graande-Galon; as well as Ramesh L. Maharaj,
Parliamentary Whip. Prominent civic and religious leaders were also in
of Trinidad and Tobago recognized the contributions of the following
persons who have made significant contributions in various segments of the
society: Ramdath Jagessar; Rev. Ralph R. Umraw; Phoolo Dhany-Maharaj;
Zahir Baksh; Pundit Capildeo Maharaj and Valene Maharaj. The awards were
presented by High Commissioner Sapra and assisted by Ashook Ramsaran.
for the evening was provided by the Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Cultural
a meeting with Minister of Culture, Donna Cox, Deosaran Bisnath elaborated
on some of the community programs being planned by GOPIO T&T. These
include educational seminars on alcohol abuse, diabetes and education.
MinisterCox welcomed the efforts
and offered the support of the Ministry of Culture.
meeting with India's High Commissioner Sapra was held in the office of the
High Commissioner and attended by the delegation of Ramsaran, Nandoe,
Persaud and Bisnath. Discussions included GOPIO's request to increase the
number of scholarships, promoting "Get To Know India" program
and including GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago in the selection process. Sapra
also elaborated on future collaboration with trade exhibitions and
full press conference was held at City Hall. Members of the press met with
the delegation of Ramsaran, Nandoe, Persaud and Bisnath, and posed
questions relating to GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago, GOPIO International and
how the chapter plans to work with others in its efforts to address
community issues, working in close collaboration with other civic groups.
GOPIO delegation of Ramsaran, Nandoe, Persaud and Bisnath then met with
Prime Minister Patrick Manning. While Ramsaran and others in the GOPIO
delegation re-iterated GOPIO's position of being non-political and
secular, Prime Minister Manning welcomed the change in the executives of
GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago.
release from the Office of the Prime Minister stated that Ashook Ramsaran
General Secretary of GOPIO International met with Prime Minister Manning
and assured Manning that to “guarantee that no such misunderstandings
would reoccur”. The Prime Minister’s release further stated that
“Prime Minister welcomed the new local incarnation of GOPIO”
International by meeting with the Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago,
Patrick Manning, essentially sold out the Indian community with one fell
swoop, alleges the former President of GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago (GOPIO
T&T), Devant Maharaj.
declared independence from the International body and launched GOPIO T
& T vowing to continue to defend Indians against discrimination by the
State. He stated that GOPIO has sold out the Indian community with this
move given the history of discrimination by the government.
newly-formed GOPIO T &T alleges
that the move by GOPIO International the local chapter will no longer
defend discrimination against Indians in Trinidadians.
Trinidad and Tobago chapter had for the past six years challenged the
Manning Administration for discrimination against the Indian population on
issues such as national housing, public service employment, national
security, and other areas.
chapter in Trinidad and Tobago had also taken the government and state
agencies to courts on the issue of discrimination successfully. The
government of Trinidad and Tobago stands out in the Caribbean as having
lost many cases of discrimination from the high courts of Trinidad and
Tobago to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.
of the local chapter of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin
(GOPIO) Trinidad and Tobago Deosaran Bisnath has disassociated his group
from the "press release factory" of GOPIO T&T, which he says
has misrepresented the policies and principles of GOPIO
claimed that GOPIO T&T was serving the political purposes of one man,
its president' Devant Maharaj, who had been issuing news releases on a
number of "nonsensical" issues which have nothing to with GOPIO
and do not benefit society.
gave the latest example of a news release from the group in which they had
called for an investigation into claims of withdrawal problems at the
Hindu Credit Union (HCU).
said his group is the only authorised chapter of GOPIO International in