Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha secretary general Sat Maharaj remained defiant yesterday in the face of a furore over his contentious comments about the people of Tobago and a call from Minority Leader Watson Duke to apologise or face a hate campaign.
“I have intentions to respond to Watson Duke and the critics, I will reply at a time of my own choosing and the medium of my own choosing,” Maharaj said when contacted for comment hours after Duke called for an apology.
Maharaj, however, stood by his statement, saying it was the truth but said his response would come “after the season of goodwill is over.”
Maharaj drew the ire of many after he attacked Tobagonians during on his TV Jagriiti programme on Monday.
“Nothing going correct in Tobago; they’re lazy. Six out of ten of them working for the Tobago House of Assembly, getting money from Port-of-Spain. They don’t want to work, and when they get a job, they go half past nine and 10 o’clock they go for breakfast,” Maharaj said during the programme.
He also suggested that other able-bodied Tobagonians who were lazy preferred to only run crab and goat races and target white women on beaches whom they robbed and raped.
A clip of Maharaj’s comments was soon shared on social media, prompting angered responses on those platforms.
Yesterday, Duke called a press conference at PSA headquarters in Port-of-Spain where he condemned Maharaj, saying the SDMS leader and his followers should apologise or face a hate campaign from Tobagonians.
“I wanna tell Sat, anytime I know, anytime as Minority Leader in the Tobago House Of Assembly, I know that you are in Tobago, we will give you a serious unwelcome and we will make your stay in Tobago hell,” Duke said.
He added, “Some things you can leave silent, some things you have to lift your heel against. This is one.
“He is looking for relevance in a country that is far becoming too large and too educated for his riffraff and his old chat. He has to find relevance by attacking any and everyone. Do the honourable thing and apologise or you will face a hate campaign against you and against your organisation.”
Duke pointed out that many Tobagonians work in Trinidad, particularly those who had developed skills which were not useful in the Tobago job market.
In a Facebook post, Spiritual Head of the Satya Anand Ashram, Pundit Satyanand Maharaj, slammed Maharaj’s comments as obscene and disgusting. He said the SDMS general secretary had described the Tobago community in the most derogatory terms and the Indian and Hindu community must be offended and condemn his statements. He added that if Hindus do not speak out and up against Maharaj, Hinduism would be adversely affected, adding the Maha Sabha secretary general should also retire.
Duke lauded Pundit Maharaj for his stance on the matter and called for more in the Hindu community to follow suit.