See below for a statement from the Ethnic Relations Commission:
The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) has taken keen note of the public event that promotes the use of alcohol and of the viral Facebook posts and comments that disrespect the reenactment of a Hindu God ‘Vishnu’ on a motorcade.
Reference is made to an event entitled “Festival of Lights Linkup” which is scheduled to be held in Charity, Essequibo on the 13 November 2023, the date set aside as the National Holiday for Diwali.
The various acts flagged are contrary to the observances of Diwali, a Hindu religious holiday set aside for reverence, self-introspection, and worship.
The ERC is empowered under Article 212D of the Constitution of Guyana to, among other things, “Ensure and create respect for religious, cultural and other forms of diversity in a plural society.”
In this regard, the ERC is conducting a thorough investigation and will take stringent measures to hold those accountable for their acts of religious intolerance.
From a religious perspective, Diwali is a festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil but, moreover, it is also a day dedicated to abstinence from meat, alcohol, and vices.
The ERC is calling on promoters to be more cognizant of the religious insensitivity that comes with promoting events that venerate the consumption of alcohol and partying under the same banner of religious holidays.
The Commission wishes to also remind everyone that Diwali and all other religious holidays are of great spiritual significance. As such, using these occasions to desecrate the beliefs and practices of our brothers and sisters erodes the moral fiber of our Guyanese society.
Let us all do our part to promote harmony and good relations among all the people of Guyana.