Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles has hailed Akeem Stewart’s gold medal and world record performance at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru as a fitting Independence gift to the nation.
Themed: "An island in flight: Soaring to greater heights of patriotism," Charles was speaking during his Independence reception on Thursday at the Division of Community Development, Enterprise Development and Labour, Scarborough.
“Our spirits soar high when the wind of victory blows and the name of TT globally reigns. They elevate even higher when the victor of the battle hails from among us right here in Tobago.
"So, like many of you, I was extremely thrilled on Tuesday when our very own Akeem Stewart won the men’s discus final at the 2019 Parapan American Games. With his golden throw, he smashed the world record and also delivered to this nation an outstanding Independence gift,” he said as he called on Tobagonians to remember the significance of this country achieving independence 57 years ago.
“How many of us here can truly say that we are a people loyal and patriotic to TT?
“Let’s take our minds back for a moment. Fifty-seven years ago, at the stroke of midnight, our beloved nation of TT was born. To the fanfare of trumpets and the tolling of bells, the Union Jack of Great Britain was lowered and for the very first time, the national flag of TT was hoisted and unfolded. Pride and joy and hope permeated the occasion, as we received the reins to steer our own future and to shape our own destiny.”
Charles added that he wants to see citizens display more love for the nation, which is important for the country to be successful.“Are we ready to change our mindsets and instil in our children and youth, a new way of thinking about our island and country?
“As we recognise another anniversary of our Independence, I remind us all, that for us to succeed as a nation, we must place country above self. This is a clarion call for greater loyalty, patriotism and pride. In short, fellow citizens, a greater love for country.”
He said over the past two years, Tobago has been slowly developing, despite financial constraints. He mentioned a number of projects: among them the Roxborough Administrative Complex; the construction and completion of the long-overdue sports administrative complex at Shaw Park; repairs to the Syd Gray Complex in Roxborough; the rehabilitation of the Claude Noel Highway – a two-kilometre stretch from Rockley Vale to Orange Hill, the Thompson River Bridge in Lambeau and the newly revamped Barbados Bay Jetty.
He said the country should maintain gratitude, optimism and hope and celebrate achievements and milestones, rather than becoming dejected and overwhelmed by its trials and challenges.
“TT has surmounted periods of uncertainty before and remnants of that tenacity still abound with us. I believe that with a genuine love for our nation, we will be more inclined to put country above self. And with our watchwords of discipline, production and tolerance firmly rooted in our hearts and souls, we shall be able to boast of being a people who have answered the clarion call 'country above self' as we acknowledge that Tobago is an island in flight, soaring to higher and greater levels of patriotism.”