Thursday, October 19, 2006

The View From Port of Spain - and why don't we have public holidays for Eid and Diwali?

Just had to get that in!!!! Sitting in my temporary office at the Central Bank, overlooking the harbour, sun shining brightly on the sea following a thunderstorm, just having found out we can't get a flight to Tobago on Saturday since everyone is taking a long weekend, the public holidays for Eid and Diwali falling over the next few days. In Trinidad they love an excuse for a party and being a very ethnically diverse country that means everyone celebrating each other's festivals. Last week was a public holiday for Chinese arrival day. At lunch today they had started on the Christmas carols and tomorrow there will be lunchtime Diwali celebrations in the bank. Whilst Trinidad has other issues (political parties being largely ethnically based) it is so refreshing to be somewhere where diversity is a cause for celebration rather than moral panic. So, it occurs to me that, given we seem to be behind most other countries when it comes to public holidays, maybe we should include this in our next manifesto - at least two extra public holidays???! It may also give the opportunity, clearly needed, for us to begin to invest more in understanding one another and celebrating what unites us rather than this constant British emphasis on what it is that divides us.

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