Congress of the People Political Leader (COP), Prakash Ramadhar,

Congress of the People Political Leader (COP), Prakash Ramadhar,

On Trinidad and Tobago’s 37th anniversary of Republicanism, Congress of the People (COP), Political Leader, Prakash Ramadhar, calls on the nation’s political leaders to make changes to the constitution to prevent leaders from being corrupted by power…

(full message)

In 1976 Trinidad and Tobago changed from an independent to a Republican constitution. A very bold step.

Today one may ask, was it a changeover or was it principally a paper switchover? Do our achievements during the last 37 years justify this decision?

To our credit we have democratically and peacefully chosen several governments .We have established a sound energy industry. Citizens live in true racial harmony .We can claim to possess some aspects of developed nation status.

Singapore is a country with a smaller size and population than ours .They gained their independence from England in 1965, three years after ours. Anyone can do an honest comparison between the two countries.

Sixty-two billion dollars annually is a lot of money for a nation of only 1.3 million.

Yet our people show more frustrations, anger, indiscipline, and dependency than many poorer nations’ states.

Some time ago the Black Stalin sang, “oil money come and oil money go but poor people remain in the pavement and ghetto”.

In the ensuing years, how do we go about resolving this paradox?

As a democratic state our constitution provides us with a great leverage to chart a better future for all citizens. Leaders come and leaders go but the business of the nation must unfold.

We must therefore clearly understand that leadership cannot be absolute, and hence in designing a new constitution we would endeavour to deliver one which fosters a devolution of powers, least we fall victim of the warning that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Tomorrow we celebrate our 37th anniversary of Republican status. Let us make a solemn pledge to revisit our constitution with the sincere  intention of creating one which will ensure that everyone, irrespective of their geography  or socio- economic status  are motivated to build themselves and their country to the best of their abilities.

Today citizens’ expectations are diverse and urgent.

The role of the state is to promote the empowerment of each citizen so that the individual can have the maximum influence in creating his or her own opportunities, self-fulfillment and success.

Our political leadership is well advised to move away from raw political urges .National interest must come before self-interest. This is indeed true independence; the hallmark of Republicanism .

The rise in coalition’s governments globally, is evidence of a more discerning electorate, demanding that their voices must be heard. Young people are becoming increasingly nervous about their nation’s rising debt, one that they will have to settle in the backdrop of rising cost of education, homes, cars, food and other life basics which they cannot afford.

Our approach to these challenges in the years to come will determine our eventual success.

Happy 37th Republic Day to all.