On August 31, 1962, the twin Republic of Trinidad and Tobago gained its independence from Great Britain. Celebrating its 59th Independence Anniversary on August 31, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley stated that as the Independence Day holiday approaches, people should use the time to reflect and be grateful to be citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
Addressing the country on Brighter Morning with Bhoe on MCTV, Dr Rowley said that while significant progress had been made in 59 years of independence, there were also some missed opportunities along the way.
“If we had been better savers during the two periods of boom when there was a lot of money coming into the country, even though we had made significant improvements in quality of people’s lives and developed significant infrastructure, we would have been in a better situation in periods like the current one where we are short of revenue.”
“I am also concerned that we did not place enough store in our value system. We have given up a lot of very valuable traditions, and a vacuum exists, especially for young people who are growing up with no appreciation for the role of respect and patience and other things that are important to society.”
With the current changes in the energy industry threatening avenues of revenue, Dr. Rowley explained that the most formidable challenge facing the country was the obligation to maintain the benefits that had been accrued.
“I don’t think people are taking the challenges we face seriously. There’s a certain amount of frivolity, and we need society to appreciate its circumstances and get serious on serious matters. There is a blame game accompanied by a sense of entitlement.”
Wishing the people of Trinidad & Tobago a happy Independence., Dr. Rowley’s message was clear:
“We should acknowledge and be grateful for being citizens of this country, one of the most comfortable to live in. We should be as patriotic and appreciative as we can to call ourselves citizens of TT. Those who went before us did make significant contributions. Let us go forward with boundless faith in our destiny and defend our ramparts against invaders, whether they be a virus or migrants seeking help.
“Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. We will celebrate independence not only for 2021 but for all the years to come.”