President Granger calls for an understanding of all cultures at Interfaith Service
Speaking after an interfaith ceremony to mark the beginning of Indigenous Heritage month, President David Granger called on all Guyanese to take the time to learn about each other’s cultures and religious practices.
“Recently I was at Blairmont to a Hindu masjid and there was a ceremony, I learnt a lot…and I think other ethnic groups should do that, learn about the rights, the customs. I am a Christian I’m sure there must be people who do not understand the Christian rituals …and it’s only the education system we could apply to enhance understanding of each other’s cultures. We can’t take these things for granted,” the Head of State said.
He noted that the different ethnic groups have been living together for long enough, hence he advocated that each gets to know and appreciate the culture of the others, without jumping to conclusions.
The President also called for an understanding of the various religious sects, which would lend to the process of unity.
Meanwhile, Granger expressed the view that the best people to explain a specific culture are the people themselves, noting that in instances when persons go outside their cultural boundaries, some practices may not be fully understood.
The President made these comments in reference to statements made by Pandit Deodatt Tillack, who during the interfaith service, condemned what he believes is a perception of aspects of the Indigenous culture.
“Their culture, being a woman at just 12 and a man at 16 conflicts with the constitution because while it is ok for you to get married at 12 for a 17-year-old boy to marry a 12-year-old girl our constitution speaks against that …is considered statutory rape,” Granger posited.
These comments by the Pandit was met with rejection by some officials belonging to the Indigenous Community. This is what President Granger had to say, “I agree with his comment that we are one people and that we should understand each other better, but in the particular matters he referred to I would prefer the Indigenous People speak for themselves.”
The interfaith service was held at the Indigenous Village, Sophia on Wednesday evening , to mark the beginning of Indigenous Heritage Month with the theme: “Our Culture, Earth’s future.”
Prayers were made by the representatives of the various religious groups and Indigenous faiths.