THE EDITOR: I am of the view that if it is the intention of the authorities to add some “fire” to the Republic Day activities by simply transferring the national awards ceremony to September 24, this would be an abject failure in terms of realism.
Indeed, I have always felt that, given that TT did not “fight” for its independence, it would be more fitting and certainly more realistic to abolish independence activities and shift the emphasis decisively to Republic Day. In this regard, I am aware this suggestion would not now find favour with most Trinidadians, given our disposition, in the mole of Oliver Twist, for more and more holidays. However, let me explain.
While countless Trinidadians (even including this writer), were supportive of and, to some extent in their own way, had participated, especially in London, in activities of the Anti- Colonial Movement of the 1950s, TT, as a country, was not in the forefront of these activities. Indeed, one would be aware that it was not until the advent of Dr Eric Williams and the PNM in 1956 that any meaningful “move” towards independence for this country was taken.
However, prior to this, countries of the former British Empire, especially in West and East Africa, as well as colonies of the former Dutch Empire of the East Indies, had, as it were, already “set the tone” for, and had achieved, their independence.
It was thus that TT, like our British Caribbean sisters, was subsequently able to “piggy back” on a situation which saw the British, in their own British interest, imposing “limited” independence. Of course, this British interest was to be eventually “rounded off” with the skillful formation of the (British) Commonwealth.
On the other hand, the foregoing is but one side of the picture as, to our indubitable credit, TT, unlike our sister States of the former British Caribbean (most of which have not even at this time done so) was to take the more meaningful step towards “genuine” independence by transforming itself into the Republic of TT by figuratively cutting the British monarchical “embryological chord.”
Herein, in my view, lies the indubitable argument for transferring the now-heralded independence activities to a more meaningful and forward-looking Republic Day celebration.
ERROL OC CUPID