Tobagonians enjoy return of Independence parade

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The Tobago Cadet Academy salutes during the 60th independence anniversary parade along the Claude Noel Highway, Scarborough, Wednesday. – David Reid

PAGEANTRY, style and precision marked Wednesday’s 60th anniversary Independence Day parade in Tobago.

After an absence of two years, owing to the covid19 pandemic, the event returned in fine style to the parade ground alongside the Dwight Yorke Stadium, Bacolet.

The parade, which took place under brilliant sunshine, saw eight armed detachments from the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, Coast Guard, Defence Force Reserves, Police Service and Cadet Force, march before a large crowd of spectators, many of whom had gathered at the site long before its 8.30am start.

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine is led through the ranks as he inspects the various armed detachments at the Indpendence Day Parade, at Parade Grounds, Dwight Yorke stadium, Bacolet, Wednesday. – David Reid

The armed detachments were led by the Bands and Corps of Drums of the Cadet Force.

Five unarmed detachments from the TT Fire Service, Prisons Service, Scouts Association and Pentecostal Crusaders also participated in the parade. They were accompanied by the Bands and Corps of Drums of the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade.

“Is a whole two years I wait for this. I doh really go much things but ah doh miss this,” one woman told Newsday

THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine and his wife Takyana Nedd, headed the list of dignitaries.

They were joined by THA Presiding Officer Abby Taylor, Deputy Chief Secretary Watson Duke and his wife and other assemblymen.

PNM Minority Leader Kelvon Morris and councillor Petal Daniel-Benoit also attended, as did Tobago MPs Shamfa Cudjoe and Ayanna Webster-Roy and former chief secretary Kelvin Charles and his wife Catherine.

Former assemblyman and Tobago Organisation of the People leader Ashworth Jack was also there.

Members of the public line the Claude Noel Highway on Wednesday to enjoy the Independence Day parade. – David Reid

The announcement of Augustine’s arrival drew loud applause from the crowd.

Augustine, who inspected his first Independence Day parade as chief secretary, was accompanied by Brigadier General Dexter Francis. The classic song, Come Leh We Go To Tobago, was played during the inspection.

During the parade, the audience applauded the immaculately attired service men and women, who marched to the music of Blaxx’s Same Way. It featured, for the first time, an all-female detachment from the Cadet Force

Many said they were pleased with the general standard of the marching and the large number of young people who participated in the event.

They were also impressed with the parade of the mechanical units, comprising cars, motorcycles, trucks and appliances from the TT Fire Service.

After the formal event at the parade ground, the various detachments marched along the Claude Noel Highway, onto Wilson Road, then to Garden Side car park, Scarborough.

Hundreds of onlookers from Calder Hall, Darrel Spring, Bagatelle and other neighbouring communities, lined the roadway to take in the impressive display of skill and discipline.

Many of them used their cellphones to capture the event.

“I real miss this, boy,” said a Bagatelle woman. “If is one time of the year ah does feel national pride is for Independence. But this year is a milestone.”

A member of the fire service blows his trumpet during the Independence Day parade along the Claude Noel Highway, Scarborough, Wednesday. – David Reid

During the march, police on motorbikes performed stunts on the road to the delight of many young men.

Firemen also used a spout on one of the appliances to spray water on the spectators along the route. This was the highlight of the street parade.

While some people tried to get away from the truck’s path, others, particularly children, urged the firemen to spray them with water.