As World International agencies and World bodies attempt to pay greater respect to peoples of African people worldwide and our contributions to world civilization and culture , the government of Republic Trinidad & Tobago seem to believe that orisa devotees in this country are not a significant sector of our national community.
The upcoming Census to be conducted to count heads and to garnish other information does not have a category of spirituality called Traditional African Religion, Shango, Orisa devotee or any such nomenclature that designates a person whose spiritual belif, practice or knowledge is outside of the recognised categories of HINDU, CHRISTIAN and MOSLEM or MUSLIM.
Is it that despite the platitudes of equal rights before the law and equality and justice for all, ALL of the ” MAJOR RELIGIONS’ here still categorize African Traditional Religion as some ” demonistic cult ” and therefore not worthy of consideration to be computed in a national count that advertises itself as wanting to know who we are so that they can better serve / or help ?
We hope that this is not the case and this has been an oversight.
Recent experience has shown that orisa devotees wishing to marry under the Orisa Marriage Act cannot sometimes acquire the appropriate forms to make the applications to post bands as is required by law.
We know that hundreds of years of looking down on African Traditional Spirituality/ Religion can often make it difficult for persons accustomed to such discriminatory practices to turn aroun and treat such Spirituality with immediate respect. However all effort at all levels of civil and legal society must be made to ensure that Africans who have been the victims of such discrimination be allowed to enjoy the comfort of the reversal of such inhumane practices as we have been subjected to for several centuries.
So we write this article with the firm conviction that the legislators and writers of legal documents will take into consideration the need to immediately redress these imbalances and injustices in our legal and legislative frameworks and ensure that the African population here are given the respect that they deserve.
May results make themselves manifest during the term of office of the current government.