THE Prime Minister has said vaccinated and unvaccinated people in Trinidad and Tobago have responsibilities to keep each other safe during the covid19 pandemic. Balancing these rights and responsibilities is the only way people can protect themselves from the virus and its variants and the world could reach a "spring of hope" that could guide it out of the pandemic.
Love, compassion, decency and morality are the best gifts the people of TT can give to each other and the entire nation as continues to battle the covid19 pandemic, which began last March.
Dr Rowley made these observations in his Christmas message to the nation.
"Human civilisation was built on the basic values of love, compassion, decency, morality – all positive qualities."
Christmas is a time when these values must be renewed to further TT's true strengths to survive the pandemic. With covid19 underscoring the interdependence that people across the world have on each other, regardless of their differences.
Rowley said, "In this pandemic, all citizens, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, hold rights and responsibilities for, inter alia, the care and safety of each other in this country."
During the Christmas season, he continued, "We should not, at any moment, think about asserting our rights, without acknowledging our responsibility to the person standing within arms’ length and, overall, to the nation-state of TT."
While all citizens have individual rights and these rights are not negated by the pandemic, Rowley said citizens must also accept that their individual rights are connected to their individual responsiblities for the safety of all citizens in TT.
"Let us all believe in the indomitable human spirit and its limitless capacities, and believe that Christmas is a time for renewal, a time for each one of us to look inwardly, with the hope of ridding ourselves of the dark tendencies of rapacious individualism, selfishness, jealousy, and hatred."
Rowley, who had covid19 in April, appealed to citizens to spare a moment during Christmas to "remember all those families and communities who have experienced the loss of loved ones along the way and for whom the pandemic is more than the daily news but the source of the pain that they would continue to suffer."
He prayed that God woukd comfort and strengthen them as they overcome their grief.
Referring to Charles Dickens's novels A Christmas Carol and A Tale of Two Cities, Rowley opined the latter teaches the world more appropriate lessons at this time in its history. In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens wrote about "the best of times; the worst of times; ages of foolishness, belief and incredulity; a season of darkness, winter of despair and a spring of hope."
"Dickens could have been describing the world we now know, which is in chaos and becoming smaller, because of technological advances, international trade, transnational relations and unique, even frightening challenges."
Rowley said A Christmas Carol, the tale of the fictional miserly businessman Ebenezer Scrooge, and its connection to mistakes and failures in people's lives, also teaches citizens valuable lessons at Christmas time.
He urged citizens to use Christmas as a time to renew the values and strengths they hold dear. Rowley believed the chaos into which covid19 has plunged the world will ultimately lead to"the birthing of a new order in TT's journey as a nation.
"At this time, I hold out to our nation that 'spring of hope' which Dickens wrote about."