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By Avellon Williams

As a tribute to Trinidad and Tobago, one of its leading entertainers, Slinger Francisco; aka Mighty Sparrow sang these words, “Trinidad and Tobago will always live on. Colonialism has gone; our nation is born.”  

Mighty Sparrow

These words also echoed the sentiments of all those who witnessed the lowering of the Union Jack (British flag) and the hoisting of the Red White and Black flag on August 31, 1962.

A nation was indeed born under the leadership of Dr. Eric Eustace Williams; the Prime Minister and Dr. Rudranath Capildeo, Leader of the Opposition.  These distinguished gentlemen were just two of the main architects of the birth of this nation. 

Former Prime Minister, Dr. Eric Eustace Williams

Since that glorious and momentous occasion 59 years ago, this country has been through a great in its quest for developed nation status. There have been many bumps along the road, not least the Black Power revolution of 1970 and the attempted Coup in 1990. But the nation has also experienced two major oil booms; one in the mid-’70s and the other at the turn of the century. 

The Education system has evolved from vying for a place at Secondary school via the college Exhibition exam, to free Secondary education and free tertiary education. Indeed, the words of our founding Father, the late Dr Eric Williams, ring true as it relates to Education, “there can be no mother Africa, mother India, mother China or mother Syria, but only mother Trinidad and Tobago and a mother does not discriminate against her children.”  Opportunities for Education are open to all citizens.

Today, 59 years later, there’s much that this country can be thankful for despite the many hiccups along the road.  The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has indeed impacted this country more negatively than all others in the past. But according to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, “we are battered and bruised, but we are not defeated.”  He expressed confidence that due to the resilience of our people, this country will emerge victorious from this Pandemic. 

Trinidad and Tobago, PM Dr. Keith Rowley

President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Her Excellency Ms. Paula – Mae Weekes, in her address, reminded citizens that, “growing pains is part of this country’s development.”  However, Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, “citizens are witnessing a great threat to our democracy.”

This picture of gloom and doom has become an insignia of the Opposition Leader. Commissioner of Police (Ag), Gary Griffith, in his Independence Day message, reminded the population that for the second consecutive year, officers of the TTPS and other branches of the security forces will not be able to parade. However, he assured citizens that despite the COVID- 19 pandemic and the effects it has had on his officers, “they will do all that is required to keep the country safe.’ 

TT, Commissioner of Police (Ag) Gary Griffith

So, what lies ahead for this slice of paradise on earth? While we battle COVID- 19, this reporter is confident, like the Prime Minister that, the situation is not hopeless. 

We will emerge from this as a stronger and better nation. Like the good book says, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Happy Independence to all citizens at home, or abroad.  Long live Trinidad and Tobago!

Africa Equity Media (AEM) took the opportunity and reached out to the following individuals via telephone; 


What Does The 59th Independence of Trinidad and Tobago Mean To You?

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Social and Welfare Association (TTPSSW) Insp. Gideon Dickson, this year’s Independence celebration is totally different from any other in our countries history. Because it symbolizes the celebration of life and its fragility. There burden experienced by all citizens in the light of the COVID and SOE. However, I hold the view the fact that we can still celebrate life and our livelihood Trumps the setbacks caused. So on behalf of the TTPSSWA, we would want to wish everyone a blessed and joyous Independence.’

Caribbean Union Conference of Seven Days Adventist, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Director, Pastor, Clive Dottin, in spite of the challenges posed by COVID-19 and all the negative repercussions we have an excellent opportunity to pause for a moment of reflection to think about nation-building. We must demonstrate an unprecedented level of empathy, nobility, and integrity to save this nation.  The focus should be on getting the youth out of the morass of drug addiction and crime.”

Member for Parliament for Oropouche East, Dr Roodal Moonilal,’ we live in very challenging times. Our generation has experienced a global pandemic which has cost millions of lives and unimaginable pain and suffering. Towards this end, it is necessary for all citizens’ young and old alike to seek self-preservation by accessing the available vaccines. Citizens at a time like this can honor our country’s history and achievements by simply wearing our national colors or flying a flag and offering a prayer for our nation at this time-critical juncture in human civilization.’

National Patriot of T&T Wendell Eversley, ‘ how could we celebrate independence and a lot of leaders in Trinidad and Tobago dishonest! For Trinidad and Tobago to move forward, we need honest leaders and leaders we can trust.’ Trade union movement calling for freedom walk the only time I would support a freedom walk is when we get rid of corrupt and dishonest trade union leaders.’ As we celebrate independence 59 years as an independent country we must not be fooled by speeches of politicians and trade union leaders, they don’t have Trinidad and Tobago at heart.’

General Secretary of the National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) Micheal Annisette, “What is there to celebrate?” The society is more divided than it has ever been. Front line workers have not received any wage increases for years. The words of our national anthem, here every creed and race find an equal place rings hollow at this time because of the level of discrimination in the country.”

Citizen and patriot Clyde Weatherhead, ‘The celebration of Independence does not depend on parades and mass gatherings. It must be about the sovereignty of the People, the Right to determine our own future and the advance of the nation-building project and meeting the needs of the People and all-round economic and social development and guaranteeing the Rights of All citizens.’

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Avellon Williams

1 Comment

    Well written as per usual…
    As I read the comments of those who was interviewed I have a lot of mixed feelings and reservations, however, this is the freedom and beauty of democracy…
    Happy 59 Independence to all…❤🖤🤍

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