INTERIM political leader of the Progressive Party Nikoli Edwards says citizens must feel empowered to contribute to the development of the country.
In his Independence Day message, Edwards said TT had a lot to celebrate and be grateful for.
“Too often we take for granted the beautiful flora and fauna of our land, the diverse faces and skin tones of our people, the ability to freely practice our various religious beliefs, our longstanding
democracy and the fact that despite our most devastating circumstances every individual has a chance at success,” he said.
However, he added, “As we celebrate 57 years of Independence we can no longer use the excuse that we are a young democracy and so an imperfect system of governance is expected.
“It may well be a blessing in disguise that we are a developing country as it gives us an opportunity to learn from our more developed counterparts about what has worked and what hasn’t so that we may not repeat the mistakes of the past.”
He said perhaps because TT did not have to fight for independence in the way other countries had to “we fail to see the need to fight every single day for a better Trinidad and Tobago.”
However, Edwards said a better TT required every citizen, despite philosophical and
superficial differences, to work together to end corruption, crime, violence, all forms of discrimination and prejudice, the organised retention of power and authority, and the exploitation of people by those entrusted to serve.
“It can easily be felt that we have not fully emerged out of colonial times due to regular instances of decisions being made by a handful of leaders, contrary to the views on the ground and in the name of national development, that too often fail to truly develop the nation holistically.
“We cannot continue to look out of ourselves for a hero or a savior,” he said.
Edwards also said TT had not enjoyed the levels of development commensurate with the wealth earned since 1962, and this raised serious questions about what forms of targeted transformation was necessary.
“Our national infrastructure, utilities, public services and social and environmental preservation efforts are nowhere close to where they need to be and immediate action is necessary to
correct this,” he said.