Saturday, August 31, 2013
On behalf of the Central Executive, General Council and general membership All Trinidad General Workers Trade Union, I wish to extend my sincerest congratulations and best wishes to the people of Trinidad and Tobago, as we celebrate fifty-one years of independence. The message is exactly as last year’s because the issues and sentiment remains the same.
Fifty-one years of Independence have seen us, as a nation achieve much in terms of infrastructural, political, economic, social and cultural development. Our people have accomplished so many great achievements in the realm of sports, science, law, education, music, social sciences and the humanities, that Trinidad and Tobago is now a household name in many parts of the world.
It is however quite easy, to fall into a delusional state of celebratory rhetoric and by so doing become taken up with the superficial symbolic trappings of independence celebrations, while forgetting the monumental task that was required to begin the process and continuing today, of forging a nation out of the diversity that is ours.
We must always reflect on the struggles of the past and the sacrifices of our forefathers as they emerged out of the plantation fields to which they first came and sacrificed to carve a niche not only for themselves but also for us, in this land, that is Trinidad and Tobago. We must never do them the injustice of forgetting the battles fought, the tears shed and the victories won, to deliver unto us the land that we now enjoy.
Let us remember that ours is a nation built on the extermination of indigenous peoples, European conquest and rivalry, economic exploitation, cultural imperialism, a deliberate creolisation process emerging out of slavery and indentureship and the emergence of a diverse society, loosely based on physical and cultural differences, co-existing to form a unique Trinidad and Tobago flavour, held together by the shared history of the plantation experience.
Slave trade, amelioration, emancipation, indentureship, the hosay riots, the camboulay riots, the numerous strikes and demonstrations, the water riots, the dock workers strike, the 1934 upheaval in sugar, 1937 riots, the changing dynamics of the 1960’s, the revolutions in thought and acts of 1970, bloody Tuesday 1975, significance events that created the nation we know today.
Fifty-one years after Independence let us continue to work together to construct a nation built on the principle of unity in diversity. Let us continue to strive to develop the will, the determination and the process necessary to increase the patriotism and nationalism necessary to bind us as a people and so truly to become one nation, one people that is Trinidad and Tobago.
I thank you.
NIRVAN MAHARAJ (ATTORNEY-AT-LAW)
ALL TRINIDAD GENERAL WORKERS TRADE UNION