Justice Frank Seepersad has said TT cannot ignore the happenings in nearby Venezuela saying as members of the global village, the country had to “advocate against injustice and human rights and constitutional violations” even if the nation attracts “adverse economic consequences” because of its stance.
He was speaking at Naparima College’s Founder’s Day observances at the school’s auditorium Wednesday.
He said the world has become one without borders where the “rate of scientific development is rapid and the lives of all humanity are inextricably linked.”
“Today’s reality is such that security, peace and prosperity cannot be isolated and have to be viewed as being elements which must be common to all nations and peoples.”
“We cannot disregard discord, dysfunction or the destruction of democracy beyond our borders. It must always be remembered that democracies are premised upon the principle that the legitimacy of government rests upon the consent of the governed.”
“As global citizens, we cannot ignore what is happening in nearby Venezuela.”
Seepersad also criticised the education system saying it has “co-opted the true concept of learning” and had replaced it with the attainment of certification and credentials.
He said critical thinking skills and innovation were essential in today’s world as students seem to be “tethered” to obtaining knowledge and skills more relevant to previous generations instead of equipping them with “skill sets” to confront life in the 21st century.
Seepersad said the role and place of the teachers should be redefined as they are “taken for granted’ and their professional development placed on the national agenda.
“There must be a shift in the way teachers are perceived and they should be afforded the same degree of respect and remuneration which is afforded to doctors, lawyers and engineers.”
“This profession should be remodelled to ensure that the brightest and most competent feel compelled to respond to the call to fashion the future by moulding the minds of our youth.”
He said the present era seemed to be focused on the acquisition of material wealth at the expense of living an ethical life.
“Sadly we live in an era where heroes are few and fading. Institutional ethics are constantly questioned by cultural relativists and traditional values are consistently undermined.”
And quoting US civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King, he said the nation needed leaders who are “not in love with money but in love with justice. Not in love with publicity but in love with humanity.”
Also attending the function was Presbyterian Church moderator Annabell Lalla- Ramkelawan who said “mechanisms” have to be put in place to help students deal with illegal drugs such as marijuana.
The school, which celebrated its 125th anniversary, was founded by Canadian Presbyterian missionaries in 1894.