Opposition leader, Dr. Keith Rowley, has called on citizens to be more knowledgeable of the significant of Trinidad and Tobago’s Republican status…
As we commemorate the Thirty-Seventh Anniversary of Trinidad and Tobago attaining Republican status, it is incumbent upon us as citizens to reflect on the true meaning of being a Republic. When Trinidad and Tobago became independent in 1962, the Queen of England continued to be our Head of State to whom all citizens owed allegiance. However, on August 1st 1976, our nation gained Republican status and as such, we were able to have our own Head of State, the President.
The day is commemorated annually on September 24 as this was the date in 1976 when the Parliament first met under the Republican Constitution.
According to the Webster Dictionary a Republic is “a state or nation in which the supreme power rests in the citizens entitled to vote (the electorate) and is exercised by representatives elected, directly or indirectly, by them, and responsible to them”. This, my fellow citizens, is the basis upon which our Republican Constitution was built.
I believe it is imperative that all citizens be mindful of the significance of this day in our nation’s development. It means that our allegiance is now owed to our nation, Trinidad and Tobago. We now have our President as the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces and the repository of executive power. These powers are exercised within the provisions of the Constitution and usually with consultation and advice of the duly elected Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition. Since it is you, the citizens, who elect these individuals directly and or indirectly, it is with you that the true power resides.
Even as we approach yet another election season, I urge you all to remember this; we are a Republic, supreme powers rest in the electorate, those who you elect to represent you are ultimately responsible to you. I urge you to not be fooled by those who pose as servants to become masters but be ever cognizant that as of September 24th 1976 the supreme powers of our nation rest with you.
On behalf of the People’s National Movement, I wish each and every citizen a safe and happy Republic Day.
Finally, on behalf of my family and on my own behalf, I wish all citizens, both here and abroad, a Happy Republic Day 2013.
May God continue to richly bless our beloved Republic.