PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, August 31, 2017 (CMC) – Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley, has urged the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago to be “focused and fearless” as the nation seeks to implement progressive strategies and policies.
Today, in his address to mark 55 years of political independence from Great Britain, Rowley said that in order to continue on the path of growth and development, “we, the people, are mandated to foster a strong patriotism as well as our own capacity to take full advantage of opportunities, through clear focus, grit and determination.
“Despite our challenges, I believe that Trinidad and Tobago continues to live up to the promise and potential we demonstrated in 1962, and we can ill-afford to falter now. We must strengthen our democratic institutions and implement policies that are tailored to our specific conditions and developmental objectives. In so doing, we will increase our chances of success, exponentially.”
The Prime Minister made reference to the success of the country’s athletes at the recently concluded World Championships in London.
“Fellow citizens, perhaps there is no better message that I can share with you on this Independence Day, than the words of our athletes. I noted the remarks of the young men as they spoke to the media after their races. When asked about their achievements, the young men described themselves as being ‘focused and fearless’. They declared that they had ‘made up their minds’ and that ‘our country can achieve if we work together’.
“I believe that we are a winning team of capable, enlightened citizens. Let us come together as a winning team,” he said. “Our nation’s motto says it best: together we aspire, together we achieve. I implore you to re-commit to these words, daily, as we build a better nation.”
In his message, President Anthony Carmona said the diversity of the twin-island republic is its strength.
The president urged special acclaim for one of the country’s national symbols, the Scarlet Ibis — as well as the athletes .
“In this regard, I make a clarion call to protect our national flora and fauna, especially our national birds. One such beautiful symbol is the Scarlet Ibis in flight or nesting on the mangrove trees of the Caroni Swamp. There must be no compromise in our fight to protect the Scarlet Ibis,” President Carmona said.
His words came after three men recently appeared before a Chaguanas magistrate, charged with poaching the national bird.
Carmona also paid tribute to athletes who represent the nation.
“It is with great pride that I salute the remarkable achievements of all our Paralympians and our athletes, especially gold medalist, Akeem Stewart, and the ‘never say die’ quartet 4×400 metres gold medalists at the World Championships in London, together with the astounding victory of the West Indies cricket team against England a few days ago.
“These athletes have all become our lightning rods in our social and human darkness. This imposing display of youth success and prowess on the international stage is a timeless and timely gift to a nation celebrating Independence.
“Here in Trinidad and Tobago, we celebrate our differences and we rejoice in diversity, simply because we understand that it is our differences that make us ‘Trinbago’.”
He added that “if we are all the same, then the same disappointments, the same challenges and the same obstacles could devour us whole.”
For her part opposition leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, said Trinidad and Tobago is in a state of crisis.
The former Prime Minister said “there is a sense of hopelessness in the country” and attributed this to “another sharp decline in our economy”.
However in spite of all of these negatives, Persad-Bissessar says the citizens “are capable of greatness in every area.”
She said the opposition is currently, “developing policy proposals to build our economy, create sustainable jobs and to continue to develop our nation’s human capital.”
Persad-Bissessar added, these proposals include the development of a knowledge-driven diversified and growing economy.
She urged all citizens to play their part in rebuilding the country’s sense of patriotism and nationhood, and reminded them that it is incumbent on all people to build a society which is one of “acceptance, tolerance and equality”.