PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Sunday August 31, 2014, CMC – The twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago is celebrating its 52nd anniversary of independence from Britain with Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar asking citizens to embrace change.
In her message to the nation, the Prime Minister said Independence allows an opportunity to embrace change and pointed to the Government’s recent proposals towards Constitutional reform.
“The passion, interest and dialogue elicited by my Government’s proposals for Constitutional reform have been unprecedented, clearly negating the view that our citizens are lukewarm on matters of national governance.”
She said while there will always be dissenting voices on issues of political reform, economic thrust or social policy, democracy allows for “reasoned debate and a multiplicity of views.”
“As citizens of an independent, democratic nation we have the responsibility to ensure that in the practice of our democracy, each and every citizen holds the right to determine how they are governed and by whom. We cannot allow fear and intimidation to impede the progress of our Nation,” she added.
“In 2014, fifty-two years later, we have again displayed the confidence in ourselves and the temerity to forge a new political path. We now have greater power to choose the representatives, best suited to serve and service the needs of community and country.”
She said all sectors must play a role in the sustainable development of the country as citizens possess the “ skills, intellect and talent to achieve every goal and task that we set ourselves”.
The Prime Minister added that it is not business as usual.
“My Government understands that expectations are high among our citizenry in all aspects of national life. Areas of health, personal and national security, governance, job and wealth creation all dominate the national psyche. I give you the assurance that in our policies, programmes and projections; my Government will continue to seek the best interests of all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
Let us together make this 52nd Independence Anniversary a celebration which signaled the dawn of a new stewardship of our great nation,” she said.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Dr. Keith Rowley has urged the nation to reflect on the journey since Independence.
“As a young developing nation, Trinidad and Tobago has come a long way. We have experienced the proverbial highs and lows along the way. However, through it all, our people have demonstrated formidable will and strong resilience, with the ability to work together to overcome challenges”.
“Our dedication to our democratic rights and freedoms serves as the cornerstone upon which our nation is built. Trinidad and Tobago was, is and will always be forged from the love of liberty.” Rowley said as the country faced what was seen by many as an interference with fundamental democratic principles he remained confident that the majority of the people of T&T are “right-thinking and are ready, willing and able to work steadfastly towards a better, brighter future.”
He added “at this independence time, even as we face what many see as interference with fundamental democratic principles I continue to have confidence in the people of our young nation. I still hold out that the majority of us are right-thinking and are ready, willing and able to work steadfastly towards a better, brighter future,” he said.
And US Secretary of State John Kerry has congratulated the people of Trinidad and Tobago on the anniversary of independence.
“On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Trinidad and Tobago as you celebrate the 52nd anniversary of your independence on August 31.
“Today our two nations co-operate not only on security issues, but also on clean energy, controlling the HIV/Aids epidemic, and exchanges in science and art. We are committed to strengthening the bonds of friendship as we celebrate our shared values of democracy and diversity,” Kerry said.