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PM: It’s not business as usual

Sunday, August 31 2014

Independence means “stepping out of our comfort zone” and embracing change Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said in her Independence Day message.

“In 2014, it is not business as usual,” she said noting that “Government understands that expectations are high among our citizenry in all aspects of national life.”

Areas of health, personal and national security, governance, job and wealth creation all dominate the national psyche, she said.

Reflecting on the 52nd Independence Anniversary, she said Government was prepared “to take leadership and ‘do’ rather than speak about change, with the courage to see it through.”

Asking the questions, “how do we as citizens of a maturing democracy approach our next 52 years of Independence? To what shall we continue to aspire? What do we want to achieve? How determined are we to walk the talk and firmly take control of our destiny?” she said “Over the past few weeks many of those questions have been answered.”

The passion, interest and dialogue elicited by Government’s proposals for Constitutional reform, she said “have been unprecedented, clearly negating the view that our citizens are lukewarm on matters of national governance.”

The response demonstrated, she said “that we truly are the deserving inheritors of the courage, will and fierce determination that brought our ancestors out of bondage into the light of freedom.”

There will always be dissenting voices on issues of political reform, economic thrust or social policy, but she said “the mechanics of the democratic principle allow for reasoned debate and a multiplicity of views.”

In the practice of democracy, she said that every citizen has the right to determine how and by whom they are governed, and fear and intimidation must not be allowed to impede progress.

In 1962, she noted that TT took the bold step to chart its own destiny and 52 years later, “we have again displayed the confidence in ourselves and the temerity to forge a new political path.”

With greater power to choose representatives best suited to serve the needs of community and country, she said, “We stand on the threshold of an exciting era in our political history.”

Noting that much has been bestowed on TT over the past 52 years, she said, “our history, cultural legacy, resources, economic success and the contribution of our people in many international fora often appear inconsistent with the geographic size of our country.”

Boasting world-class athletes, cultural icons, diplomats and academics, all of whom have ensured that TT maintains a positive and enduring presence on the world stage, she said, “We have impressed visitors with our policy of free education for all from early childhood to tertiary level.

“We have attracted the attention of high-profile foreign leaders and dignitaries, who recognise the potential of TT.”

TT’s creativity, innovativeness and enterprising spirit, she said have brought much acclaim, and stories of success will continue to be born out of resolve, determination, and unity of vision.

Celebrating together many accomplishments and collectively mourning the loss of “our great leaders and ordinary citizens,” she said TT will continue to stand as a beacon of harmony in diversity, religious tolerance and multicultural acceptance.

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