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What Republic Day means to me

Sunday, September 24 2006

AS the nation celebrates Republic Day, some citizens share their thoughts on the significance of today’s observance.

San Fernando Mayor, Kenneth Ferguson "It reminds me of the literal end of the liberation, which saw us officially coming out of any dependency of the British colonials and our first step towards us becoming a country. Our constitution was written and was designed to facilitate our democratic constitution and negate any attempt and move by pretenders to gain control of these two gems we call Trinidad and Tobago. Also it is a very special day for me as it is the day I celebrate my birthday."

President of the San Fernando Business Association, Daphne Bartlett "Republic Day is not celebrated in Trinidad and Tobago as it ought to be. I don’t think that we give it the recognition that it is due. However, Republic Day gives one a guide as to the stage of development where we have attempted to stand on our own as a developing nation. We are making strides in some areas, for example, manufacturing sector and regressing in some, for example. handling of crime and crime detection. I am proud to say that I am a Trinbagonian and I wish all the citizens of the country God’s richest blessings and pray that we continue to grow from strength to strength and solve our crime, poverty, education and judicial problems."

Gail Merhair, President of the San Juan Business Association “On September 24, Trinidad and Tobago celebrates 30 years as a Republic. This achievement is not only noteworthy but it represents a fundamental accomplishment by us as a people of our desire to govern
ourselves through self determination. Many of our citizens fail to realise the significance of this occasion. They fail to appreciate the fact that it symbolises a break with the colonial past in which our destiny was determined by outside forces. We now have the ability to shape our destiny, creating a society that is inclusive and represents the very many facets of our diversity.”

Akins Vidale, Trinidad and Tobago Youth Council “Republic Day in terms of formality is a final break to build a Caribbean nation. We have the opportunity to do that. What has not happened, however, is the sensibility of Republic Day being passed on to the people of country and because of that I think a lot of work still needs to be done. If the country is given the right direction, the whole thing can create a structural change in society. I am an idealist, so I am still hopeful.”

Muhammed Muwakil, writer “Republic Day does mean a lot to me and many people. One of the reasons is we have truly broken down areas from the British regime in terms of us being able to draft our own constitution. What we in society needs to do is to really stop and look at ourselves and the environment and see what needs to be changed. With respect the current school system, we have maintained the same system that was here so many years ago. We should reflect on what opportunities are available to us and ask ourselves are we truly a leader of the region?”

Dr Austin Trinidade Medical Chief of Staff, San Fernando General Hospital, Dr “Austin Trinidade Republic Day has is a major landmark in the country’s short history. It is very nice to see that our country has matured, but, clearly, it has a long way to go still. Happy Republic Day.”

Fraulein Rudder, artist and founder of Women in Art “I think it is a matter of maturing as a nation and being able to handle our affairs and I have seen that happening over the years in terms of the Caribbean Court and also the Judiciary is quite independent which is a sign of our maturity. We have also matured in the education system. Now in our society we have a literate public and an increase in the standard of education resulting in a rise of expertise in certain areas, example engineering which can result in high technology. I think our country is heading in the right direction especially with the majority of young people who are becoming more aware of what is happening around them.”

San Fernando West MP, Diane Seukeran “Republic Day is surely the independence of a nation. I am old enough to have a knowledge of a time when Trinbagonians did not have the ability to exercise the right of free movement, the right of full participation in the country and therefore for me Republicanism is a great feeling. Trinidad and Tobago is a very young country and sometimes I think that all of us need to understand that each of us have a role to play in the shaping of the nationhood and that we cannot simply enjoy the freedom enshrined in the constitution without accepting the responsibility that comes with the exercise of freedom.”

Fraulein Rudder, artist and founder of Women in Art “I think it is a matter of maturing as a nation and being able to handle our affairs and I have seen that happening over the years in terms of the Caribbean Court and also the Judiciary is quite independent which is a sign of our maturity. We have also matured in the education system. Now in our society we have a literate public and an increase in the standard of education resulting in a rise of expertise in certain areas, example engineering which can result in high technology. I think our country is heading in the right direction especially with the majority of young people who are becoming more aware of what is happening around them.”

Hazel Brown, social activist “I think Republic Day is significant to me because it is a new era of governance of ourselves. We have not quite achieved that vision of governing ourselves properly. Each year we should take the opportunity to evaluate how far from independence we really are to better govern ourselves.”

Wendell Manwarren, member of 3 Canal “What Republic Day means to me is self determination, self actualisation, belief in self. What the problem is, is that Republic Day has never been broken down for the people. People just consider it another one of those holidays. At the stage we are in with respect of the society, we need to reexamine what Republic Day means.”





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