PM urges citizens: Help build your country

Dr Keith Rowley -
Dr Keith Rowley -

THE Prime Minister urged each citizen to check their personal values and their contribution to Trinidad and Tobago, in his message for Independence Day being celebrated on Thursday. Conversely, Dr Rowley urged MPs to connect with citizens, who might feel marginalised.

He said TT has experienced crime, drugs and violence, plus the covid-19 pandemic.

"Another significant area is the recent local government elections, which, in conclusion, may be offering us some interesting insights into the mindset of some citizens and, probably, the mood of our republic."

He said reforms will devolve certain government powers to municipal bodies, to help citizens to participate in the democratic process.

"I feel assured that these reforms will improve the lives of citizens and build new lines of communication among neighbourhoods and communities, creating new avenues for people’s involvement in the process of government.

"Some citizens have been complaining, for some time, that they feel far removed from 'the Government' and, overall, they hold a sense of being remote and excluded."

He said legislators must now acknowledge the many citizens who feel marginalised and alienated, seeing their lives as having little value to the majority.

"We need to reach out to them by giving them hope and the very real prospects of a better tomorrow.

"The proposed local government reform measure is one response."

He said reform would build citizens’participation, confidence in democracy, and sense of nationalism.

Rowley said while citizens may make demands of the Government, they must accept some responsibility for their personal choices.

"This country is at a crossroads in an increasingly difficult world, where every citizen should now look, inwardly, asking him or herself some deeper questions about our very existence in TT. Today, as we celebrate our sixty-first Independence this is a good point to begin"

The PM said each person's daily mantra should be "Who am I? What am I doing here? How am I contributing to my land?"

That introspection would help define us and our world view, he said, plus shape our ambition, attitude and behaviour.

Rowley said people should consider what ethical principles do they embrace daily.

"As a citizen do I show respect for others and the law and its regulations? Do I respect the rights of my neighbours and others? Do I give an honest day’s work?

"Am I punctual, at all times? Do I pay my taxes? Am I saving and investing enough from my earnings?"

He asked people to consider if they were each conscientious, productive, patriotic citizens.

"How do I contribute to improving TT?

"Do I build something or plan to leave something for my children and grandchildren?"

The PM urged people to reflect on their time on social media.

"How much of that is an engagement in learning and truth or is it only or always about hate and anonymous misconduct?

"It is said that many countries become failed states, not because of an absence of resources, but because of the mindset of citizens, in spite of their education, training and wealth."

Rowley said the people of TT can boast of greatness.

"Given our historical experiences, as a people we have achieved a lot.

"Overall, we enjoy a quality of life that, in some areas, meets world standards."

He said TT had the world-class Point Lisas energy complex as emulated elsewhere in the world; the world’s first gas-based economy; and successes in the arts such as the steel pan, Carnival and literature including a Nobel Prize winner.

"This September, we assume the presidency of the UN General Assembly, and the list goes on and on.

"Our education system created a productive generation and is now under review, which will prepare the next with perspectives for the 21st century."

Rowley urged more local content on the airwaves.

"I want to appeal to the broadcast media – radio and television – to review their programming, with a more indigenous cultural perspective in mind.

"We can find many positives if we look in their direction and grant them a little space to grow into our support bases.

"Fellow citizens, I salute our great Republic, saying to all citizens, have an enjoyable and reflective Independence Day 2023."


"PM urges citizens: Help build your country"

More in this section