Despite the wide range of celebrations, Robinson-Regis described the jubilee as being “muted” given the ongoing pandemic and new threat of monkey-pox.
“There were some other possibilities that I had placed before the cabinet, like a children’s rally and things like that and we opted not to go towards those expressions because of those very issues,” Robinson-Regis said.
“We still feel that it is a time of celebration and consequently, we should still do something taking the COVID issues into consideration, so that’s why to a large extent, some of the things have been scaled down and they’re easier to manage. We will also expect that the citizens will take charge of their own safety as it relates to the pandemic because the pandemic is still with us.”
She said there will also be a return of the Independence Day Parade and fireworks show.
When the country’s Scrap Iron Dealers joined in condemnation of the arrest and charge of one of their own for stealing material from the TSTT compound last week, it was as if – in keeping with the elevated spirit with which our people were celebrating their Emancipation, Trinidad and Tobago had subtly begun to move to a new level.
This shift of collective consciousness can be discerned in a number of events, including:
- The playing on the T+T invented Steel Pan for the very first time, – July 5, 2022 , of any anthem during an Olympic medal ceremony by T&T’s National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO) at the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Medal Reallocation Ceremony, at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, with their recorded version of Forged for the Love of Liberty.
- The documentation of Trinidad and Tobago being the first country in the world to declare Emancipation as a national holiday to mark the freeing of African slaves;
- The bold announcement by T+T’s Energy Minister Stuart Young about this tiny Caribbean Republic’s offer to help the world’s largest energy producers to maintain stability in the energy market in light of fluctuation in food supply against the background the Ukraine war;
- The guaranteed release of a man who had been incarcerated for 12 years on a murder charge, based on a decision by the Law Lords of the Privy Council in a move which can open the flood gates for suspected murders to be freed a en masse in Sweet T+T, and the various consequences which can arise therefrom.
For a country now celebrating its 60th year of Independence and consistently affording a very high standard of living to its well educated, very demanding citizenry, the challenge is: how to balance the good, the not-so-bad and the extremely ugly.
T+T Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley took a direct shot at the key problem gnawing away at the very fabric of this beautiful little model nation when he referred to Crime as a “national public health emergency”.
“I think in TT, the time has come for us to declare violence as a public health emergency and we need to find solutions for treating with violence in our population,” Dr Rowley said. He compared the situation to how people would react if there was a deadly disease going through the population.
Whether he meant the phrase “public health emergency” in a legal sense or more figuratively is open to dispute, Newsday commented.
Check You Tube for our Video Change Your Mind and Stay Away From Crime by Rudolph Williams
Dr Rowley did not elaborate on how such an approach could be concretely realized, perhaps saving such an explanation for another occasion.
National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds in Parliament expressed his understanding of the PM’s resolve, couched in slightly different language.
“I understood the Prime Minister to have said that sometime in the near future, he considered that it might be a useful thing for Trinidad and Tobago to consider crime and violence being treated as public health issues,” Mr Hinds said in reply to a question from Opposition Senator Wade Mark.
The month of Independence celebrations will feature the country’s “premium artistes” in areas such as calypso, soca, chutney, spoken word, parang, parang-soca, rhythm sections and steel orchestras.
Guyana President Irfaan Ali and Jamaica’s Prime Minister Holness will be coming to join in the celebrations.
Whatever the tenor of the celebrations, it’s clear that – coming on the heels of the Emancipation Day celebrations On August 1, Prime Minister Rowley is optimizing opportunities to massage the Afro-Trinidadian base which is the strong platform on which the his people’s National Movement (PNM) government has been established since 1956 when started by Dr Eric Williams.
Sixty years and two generations later, Trinidad and Tobago is a very different country, especially in terms of:
- Significantly changed demographics where a number of the young people are not only cynical about politics and politicians, but do not hold to the strong ethnic loyalties as their parents did.
- As young professionals and skilled persons who are beneficiaries of largely free education because of government policies, they are more concerned about their personal progress and uplift – as opposed to “country first”
- Against the background of a scarcity of jobs here, many who are busy looking abroad for work opportunities, do not have time to even consider the problems that exist in their homeland.
This was evident in the over-subscribing by thousands of “over-qualified” nationals responding recently to a call for by a Cruise Line for workers. In this regard, a number of applicants said they saw it as a window to “go abroad and broaden horizons”
Even so, those who stay are not without a sense of honour as they find encouragement in the appointment of outstanding young individuals such as Foster Cummings and Marvin Gonzales as government ministers to take up heavy responsibilities in these fast-changing times.
As these two men join the ranks of ministers Stuart Young and Faris al-Rawi therefore, we can find comfort in the idea that Sweet T+T is moving to the next level in our quest to be among the leading nations in the world.
Which is where we can do with all the help we can get or, as the Mighty Sparrow sang:
You put a hand and I put a hand
And we will see
In no time at all
For big and for small, Prosperity
There’s no other way to do it
Show your patriotic spirit
If Trinidad ever needed you, it’s now