Persad-Bissessar: Make Trinidad and Tobago a model for the world

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Kamla Persad-Bissessar –

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is calling on citizens to commit to making TT a model for the world and fulfil the country’s promise of Independence. She also asks that they prioritise unity and collaboration in these challenging times.

In a statement on Wednesday, Persad-Bissessar recalled the good and bad of being under British rule. She said the biggest negative was the underdevelopment, keeping the people in a subservient state and not recognising the greatness of TT.

She said from 1960 through the first oil boom in the 1970s and onto the 1980s, at various points TT’s GDP per capita was the same as or higher than Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Chile, Greece, Spain and many other countries. So much so that in the early 1980s the World Bank gave TT developed country status.

“Sadly, since then, these countries have now leapt far ahead of us. Troublingly, we were derailed by mismanagement and corruption and pushed back down to Third World status.

“Our destiny was to be the Dubai, Singapore, and Monaco of the Caribbean. We had and still have all the ingredients. We were supposed to create a prosperous, advanced, happy, peaceful and harmonious society with all the blessings God had given us to inherit.”

She said smaller islands with less resources should not be better off than TT and citizens should not want to migrate and “abandon” the country. Instead, TT should be showing other nations how people from diverse ancestry, backgrounds and religions could live together in prosperity, harmony, safety, joy, creativity and hope.

“Let us not ruin and abandon the blessed inheritance that we have been gifted. Our Independence project is not yet over. We must fulfil the promise and potential that Trinidad and Tobago has to be a model and example for the world. I know in my heart that we can achieve this.”

In a separate message on the United National Congress Facebook page, she said while high crime rates and economic hardship cast shadows on the country, history showed that TT’s people had the ability to rise above adversity and shape a brighter future.

“Though times may be challenging, we must not lose sight of the countless success stories that have emerged from our communities. Our citizens’ determination to excel, innovate, and support one another is a powerful reminder that challenges cannot dim the spirit of TT. Together, we can address the root causes of crime, build a more robust economy and create opportunities for all.

“As we forge ahead, let us prioritise unity and collaboration above all else. By embracing dialogue and working across party lines, we can develop comprehensive solutions that address the concerns of every citizen. Only through such inclusive efforts can we bring about meaningful change and ensure a brighter future for generations to come.”