President: We have become a savage people

President Paula-Mae Weekes - File Photo
President Paula-Mae Weekes - File Photo

PRESIDENT Paula-Mae Weekes lamented that the people of Trinidad and Tobago seem to have descended into savagery on many levels.

In making this lament, Weekes appealed to every citizen to play their part to return TT to a state of "grace and peace."

She expressed these feelings in her New Year's Message to the nation.

This is also Weekes' final speech before the Electoral College meets on January 20 to elect her successor.

Weekes said, "My overarching wish for us as a nation is for grace and peace. I fear we have become a savage people."

Lines have been drawn between ethnicities, political affiliations, the haves and the have-nots, worker and employer, citizens and migrants have solidified into intolerance, impatience, unkindness, vitriol and downright nastiness in many cases.

Weekes said, "No longer do we seem to be able to have differences of opinion without descending into vicious no-holds-barred attacks on the individual rather than a debate or discussion on the issues."

Courteous good will, civility, decency and respect seem to be disappearing as TT is fast becoming a brutish and hostile society.

Weekes said, " I wish and pray for a quick return to graciousness; to giving people a fair hearing and a carefully considered response instead of a rush to judgement."

She slammed people she described as "keyboard warriors" who use anonymity and social media to inflict harm on other people from a distance but would never commit such acts in person.

Weekes called for people to respect public offices in TT and not confuse the officeholder with the office.

She prayed that people would seek wisdom and discernment instead of accepting "hook, line and sinker all that those who have a platform feed us."

Weekes said people must show more desire and ability "to seek out and acquire knowledge on matters which affect the nation and then apply good judgement:"

Through discernment, she continued, people can separate sheep from goats when it comes to sources of information."

Weekes said, "With careful attention and patience we can come to recognise reliable sources, distinguish guile from candour, suss out agenda and differentiate mamaguy from straight talk."

She wished for safety and security for TT, in terms of crime and natural disasters.

On the former, Weekes said, "I would like to be able to see friends off at my gate with leisurely continuing old talk, not with their scurrying fearfully to their cars as I lock and bolt my gate behind me."

On the latter, she said, "I want the pattering of rain on rooftops to mean that we can roll over in bed and squeeze in another few minutes of rest, not be anxious and terrified that we are going to be flooded out yet again."

Weekes wished for economic stability, better job prospects and pay for the average worker.

She also wished more to be done to address issues of mental health and domestic violence.

Weekes expressed her thanks for people extending good wishes to her and her mother who contracted covid19 last month. The President tested covid19 negative but stayed in quarantine in keeping with covid19 protocols.

Weekes said, "Happily, we both tested negative on her 94th birthday and are at large."

She added that her personal wishes for 2023 were no different from the wishes of other citizens.

Weekes advised citizens, "Rather than focusing exclusively on what others need to do, let us also concentrate on our duty and responsibility and strive to make the life and society we want for ourselves."

She also reminded citizens about two things when it comes to wishing and change

Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it.

"The more things change, the more things stay the same."


"President: We have become a savage people"

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