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Carmona lauded at Patriotism Week

Wednesday, March 20 2013

PRESIDENT Anthony Carmona’s inauguration speech was echoed throughout yesterday’s Patriotism Showcase which the Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration held as part of the launch for Patriotism Week at the Central Bank Auditorium.

According to National Diversity Minister Clifton De Coteau, President Carmona’s speech exemplified what it means to be a true patriot. He read parts of Carmona’s speech to the audience, reinforcing the necessity for unity in a multi-cultural country like Trinidad and Tobago.

“We are diverse and dynamic. We are the sum of two islands. We are one!” De Coteau read.

He described the new President’s words as “out-of-the-box” thinking that champions the cause of diversity and social integration. De Coteau said Carmona’s words encouraged the practice of empathy, compassion and respect for others.

The Minister stated the qualities the President highlighted in his speech are needed if the country wants to establish a more humane civil society. The Minister went on to say “Patriotism is our armour against the pestilence which threatens the moral fabric of our society”

De Coteau said a more patriotic society should foster volunteerism, nation-building, reduce crime, increase economic growth and development, improve local productivity and a sustained future.

The showcase featured vocal performances, dances and speeches from “Patriotic Champions” who exemplified what it meant to be a “Trinbagonian.”

Olympic athlete Andrew Lewis was named a Patriotic Ambassador for his dedication to Trinidad and Tobago, in and out of competitions. Lewis revealed that while he has dual citizenship and currently holds a French passport, he refuses to compete for any other country other than Trinidad and Tobago – his home.

Top SEA student, Rebecca Jattan, also spoke about the overwhelming amount of support she received from many people in the country, when she learned of her top marks.

She told the audience the love she felt from everyone in the country is the same love she holds for Trinidad and Tobago.

Disabled Youth Ambassador Shamla Maharaj, spoke about the potential citizens of Trinidad and Tobago have to become leaders of innovation and excellence in the society.

“We can be legends and not followers. We can be innovators. I want to produce change for people like me,” she said.

Maharaj has cerebral palsy, but her physical disability never impaired her from achieving success. Currently she is reading for a Master’s degree. The love and support from the people in her village made her become more patriotic. She says Trinidad and Tobago’s potential for excellence could only become known if citizens become more patriotic

The audience was treated to patriotic performances by Mavis John, who sang her rendition of “God Bless Our Nation,” Kees Dieffenthaller, who sang the Olympic theme song “We are Conquerors” and Denyse Plummer who got the entire audience to their feet with her loyalty song “Nah Leaving.”

While many of the speakers defined what patriotism meant to them, De Coteau said “Patriotism is that inexplicable, intrinsic, love and loyalty for your country.”

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