Fellow citizens, on this most auspicious occasion of the 49th Anniversary of the Independence of our beloved Trinidad and Tobago one cannot help but reflect on our journey in the context of where we’ve been, where we are at present and where we hope to go in the future. The written history of our nation began with Amerindians settlers and continued with Spanish, French, Dutch and British colonization.
The population was also infused with slaves and labourers from Africa, China
and India so that today, Trinidad and Tobago is a virtual melting pot of culture,
races and religions. It is this diversity which gives us our strength and our
harmony must never be taken for granted.
Whilst nature has blessed us with a bountiful and beautiful environment of natural resources, it is still undeniable that our most precious resource is our people. Over the years many sons and daughters of the soil have distinguished themselves on the world stage and brought pride and glory to our young nation so that today Trinidad and Tobago can hold its own in fields such as academics, sports, the arts and
At age 49, we are a youthful but resilient nation. We have experienced some thrilling highs and have had some agonizing lows. However, our people have always been able to pick up the pieces, band together and travel along the road to further growth and development in that quest for a better life.
Today, we continue to face various challenges which threaten our economic, social and psychological well being on both the macro and micro levels. As political leader of the People’s National Movement, the party whose founding father steered our nation to independence, I urge all the people of our country to hold fast to the hopes and aspirations of 1962. I exhort all our people to believe in ourselves and live by the principles of respect for each other and fair play in the governance of our land.
I have every confidence that notwithstanding the challenges which we face at this independence time that our future is bright and our confidence in ourselves is not misplaced. It is in this spirit that I wish a happy and thoughtful independence to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.