LAUREL V WILLIAMS
IF TT must be described as a jewel, it would best be described a diamond, said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Monday night at the close of the Divali Nagar celebrations at Chaguanas.
The prime minister said pressure and heat in the earth convert carbons into diamonds which are resilient, tough and indestructible.
Rowley said in the face of great trauma and even great danger due to the recent floods, people from all walks of life immediately helped those in difficulties. That, he said, was the nation at its best.
"If we in TT acknowledge ourselves and pattern on that gem, we would know that we are choosing the best. If we look at our history, our components and our outcome, we will have a lot that is good to say about ourselves," Rowley told the gathering.
"The people of TT are blessed but often take too much for granted such as their blessings and the quality of life. Even acknowledging the differences from which people draw their strengths, is taken for granted."
Saying there was strength in diversity, Rowley said there was no place in TT for racism or discrimination.
"There ought to be no place for oppression and no place for us to think that some can succeed while others fail. In this assignment of building this nation, we are all in this together. The success of one must be the success of all," Rowley said.
The Government in recent times reduced contributions to the various organisations because of affordability issues. Some people felt that the reduction in some way reflected a lack of appreciation or a lack of importance, but that is not so, he said.
Among the cutbacks were the grounding of four national security helicopters because the Government could not afford to keep them in the air, he said.
The Government reduced expenditures across the board but maintained a significant contribution to organisations, he added.
This is because the Government, he said, understood that events like the Divali Nagar celebrations contributed significantly to nation building.
Speaking before the prime minister, chairman of the Divali Nagar, Deeroop Teemal, thanked the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, and the Government, for being a major financial contributor to the event.
"So, it not a question of reducing our contributions to TUCO or to Pan Trinbago or to the Emancipation Support Committee or to the Divali Nagar. It is a reduction across the board in every single area of expenditure to maintain our involvement in every area until better can be done," Rowley said.
With reference to the magnitude 6.9 earthquake in August, the prime minister said people of TT must be "grateful souls" in many ways.
"When it was all over, we could not point to one injured citizen. We must be a grateful people. Regardless of whom we look to as our God, we must be grateful," Rowley said.
On his arrival at the compound, Rowley visited several booths while in the company of other government officials.
Divali Nagar celebrations began on October 28 and ended on Monday night with many performances followed by a massive firework display.