PM offers message of hope on Indian Arrival Day: Trinidad and Tobago will overcome obstacles

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley

THE Prime Minister is reminding the country of the hard work of the indentured labourers who helped shape the country saying that the strength to overcome in the past is the same the country has now.

In his Indian Arrival Day message, Dr Rowley took time to reminisce on the words of Dr Eric Williams, the country’s first prime minister, on the impact of the indentured labourers.

“I stand, strongly, in defence of the late Prime Minister against any distortion of history. Dr Williams is on record, back in January 1955, stating: ‘Every step in the education of Indians is a step in the production of that well-informed body of citizens… on which democracy depends.'”

He highlighted the resilience of the people as he commemorated the 177th anniversary of Indians arriving in Trinidad and urged citizens to live the words of the national anthem to make Trinidad and Tobago a place where every creed and race can find an equal place.

“Today, the whole country acknowledges the cultural and religious differences of the Indian community and, more so, its contribution and rightful presence in TT. The population recognises the ‘toil and sweat’ of the indenturers in the early years and continues to admire the work ethic, thrift and varied traditions of the entire community– all of which have added to the greatness of our nation.”

Looking towards a post-covid19 era, Rowley said citizens must prepare themselves with the understanding that TT cannot confront the coming challenges with divisiveness and misinformation, “designed to create political mischief and fears.”

Rowley said he greets the holiday, each year, reflecting on the experiences of the first travellers; thinking about their fears, trepidations, regrets, or their expectancy before leaving their homes for a three-month journey to the Caribbean.

“Since then, the world has evolved radically, in profound ways, from that colonial period to the future-smart, future-ready world of the 21st century, which is now being defined by such junctures as pre covid19 and post-pandemic era with unfolding psycho-social effects.”

He said there are some analysts painting a bleak picture of the future. Included in that are global challenges such as worldwide inflation, more food shortages, unsteady supply-chain situations, heightened fuel and energy prices and deteriorating climate changes, he noted. Added to these are other challenges of crime, violence, human, drugs, arms, and ammunition trafficking, he said.

Rowley said while the country was negatively impacted by covid19, and can further be impacted by the ongoing dispute between Russia and Ukraine, just as TT was able to overcome obstacles in the pas, it will do so again.

“We are, however, a resilient people, who have overcome obstacles and blockages in the past; as such I have no doubt that citizens will not allow any disruption or destruction of our social fabric. We are a creative people, with a love for beauty and truth, and I believe that citizens, recognising their responsibilities, will confront this new world with their inner strength, elation and buoyancy.”