THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine believes that it is time for Tobago to start celebrating its people and its achievements.
Augustine was speaking after a wreath-laying ceremony at James Park, Scarborough, on Wednesday in remembrance of the attempted coup on July 27, 1990.
Augustine said, “Those who are unaware of what that means, it really was an attempt to take over the governance of the country by illegitimate and undemocratic means.
"After 32 years, we have the privilege of celebrating parliamentary democracy. The story of TT could have been different, we could have all risen out of our beds to a different country, to a different world – to a world where militants are in charge.
"But today, we all rose up to a country where we have democratically-elected leadership and so we must never fail to pause to say thanks to God for preserving parliamentary democracy in TT."
He said TT enjoys a stable democracy, free and fair elections every cycle, and in some instances two and three elections per year as might be required.
“But we have always been able to work out our differences. The kind of democracy we have is so robust that people even have the right to be rude to each other, people have freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom in terms of worship and religious liberties and so we must never take those things for granted.”
He said Tobago is fortunate to still have alive Pamela Nicholson who was an MP during the coup. Former prime minister ANR Robinson, known for his brave declaration to the army to "attack with full force," died on April 9, 2014.
Augustine said. “We had businesses that were looted, we had deaths, we had journalistic freedom – freedom of the press – challenged, because a television station was overrun by the miniature group, as what should have been our Panorama news at 7pm became very eventful. So all of these events require us to pause on a day like today.”
He said very often, sadly, heroes are only honoured after they have died. This, he said, needed to be changed.
“Mr Robinson, Dr Winston Murray, Pamela Nicholson, some of our cultural icons such as Lord Nelson, Calypso Rose, the Mighty Shadow – they are due for some honouring. Next year as we get towards Tobago Day in December, we want to honour our heroes. There is a committee that is in place that is considering what is the most appropriate form of honour.”
He said he expects that it may result in engaging artisans to build statues of some of these heroes. Some, he said, may be honoured via plaques, some would get their names on buildings and even streets.
“In a few days, we would be approaching Emancipation (Day) and we think it is about time we rename them after our own heroes – it is part of a broader decision to help teach Tobagonians to glory in the castles of their own skin, to enjoy who they are, to be happy and proud, to be patriotic, to love their island, to love their country, to love our own heroes.”