President's Republic Day message: Change in attitudes needed for the future

File photo: President Paula-Mae Weekes. Photo by Angelo Marcelle
File photo: President Paula-Mae Weekes. Photo by Angelo Marcelle

Amidst the challenges encountered in the covid19 pandemic, the President is urging citizens to take note of the progress made by individual citizens and institutions during such difficult times.

In her Republic Day message, Weekes said this year's observance was especially significant, as it marked a transition from the past to the future and encouraged all citizens to take stock of their lives while making the necessary adjustments to move forward.

She said disagreement and conflict were inevitable in the process of nation-building, but it was important that any effort and discussion on improving the quality of life in TT were guided through logic and evidence and goodwill.

She also urged citizens to avoid ole talk and conjecture, as this would be counterproductive in achieving these goals.

"We must make a frank, dispassionate and thorough assessment of where we are as individuals, institutions and a people and, equally important, the part we played in getting here. Only then can we have any hope of arriving at a realistic and shared vision for Trinidad and Tobago.

"There is no getting around it, a sea change in attitudes at all levels is necessary to propel us forward; and while we look at the big picture of much needed development and transformation, we must not lose sight of the fact that it is individuals working together that will bring about the desired progress."

Weekes said for this occasion it was important not only for citizens to revisit the past, but also to learn from past difficulties, noting that some public commentators suggested that TT might have been better off remaining a British colony. She reminded them of the importance of TT's indepence.

"We must be careful to avoid putting on those rose-tinted spectacles which encourage 'misty watercolour memories of the way we were,' while erasing the less salutary experiences of our past.

"Many commentators, unhappy with the present state of affairs, wax poetic about bygone days and go so far as to suggest that we were better off under monarchical rule. They forget the heavy toll of colonialism and the signal significance of our tiny nation severing the umbilical cord once and for all, and daring to go it alone."

She said it was important to learn from past difficulties while making the necessary changes to lives and behaviours to adapt to life in the future.

Weekes also said she was optimistic that TT had all the resources and potential to build a better future despite the challenges ahead, and implored citizens to work together to make this a reality.


"President’s Republic Day message: Change in attitudes needed for the future"

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