PM said despite social-economic political challenges, “We must give ourselves positive grades”

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PM said despite social-economic political challenges, “We must give ourselves positive grades”

Trinidad and Tobago is a country populated by “exceptional people” in a “global ball of chaos and confusion.”

So said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, in his Republic Day message to the nation.

He said, “(Two islands) at the southern end of the Caribbean archipelago, facing, of course, its own socio-economic political challenges – yet its people, in their various ways, thank the Almighty, hold to their unique spirit and idyllically celebrate the joys of just being alive, and live on with ‘boundless faith in our destiny.'”

Dr Rowley said TT “can point to its many social ills, the current crime wave, the short-comings in our infrastructure, the buckling and impeded education system, our institutions, our faltering work ethic, disregard, in some places, of the environment, et cetera – but on the other side of the national balance sheet, we must give ourselves positive grades as being a people, with a confident pride in ourselves.

“We, the nationals of this country, confidently believe that we are as good as the world’s best – and in many spheres, we have proven that we are.”

Rowley said Trinidadians “(are confident) whenever we interact with the developed world… There is a pervading Trinbagonian spirit, something which is still giving birth to what will be a distinctive national character, which is showing traits of flowering into world-class successes and achievements.”

The country, he said, has been constructing a Republic, although ” probably not strictly according to Dr Williams’ designs plans, but within the traditions of Western democracy,” notably the citizens’ tolerance for each other’s differences, rather than holding to rigidity and inflexibility.

“We can talk about instances of general acceptance, rather than rejection and alienation of another group.

“We can move our discussion to the general acknowledgement of an individual’s rights, and now on to the promotion of individual responsibilities.

“Modernised societies, it is said, are also characterised by downsides where citizens feel stressed, chronically-bored with experiences of insecurity, anxiety, burn-out and depression.”

The PM appealed to parents and children to utilise services offered by the new Ministry of Youth Development and National Service and other state agencies and to search for one’s calling in life “from very early.”

He said, “Look out for those areas, the signs, subjects, specific activities, which may catch their attention.

“Let them know that their individual life’s calling is all within them; help them discover their purposeful energy, and follow its potential to a better life.

“Help your children to search for a purposeful life, rather than be adrift, without meaning – then turning to crime, violence and ultimately early death.”

Rowley added: “I do wish to remind that on my return from my recent visit to Europe in which I met the major energy players in our country, I emphasised some truths about our continued dependence on our oil, gas and the energy sector, with the hope that citizens, when they demand wage and salary increases, will understand clearly that this country is only a small vulnerable unit, in a large, volatile international market.”

The PM also reminded citizens of the “now pervasive dangers of misinformation and disinformation, and the forces, within our nation, who deliberately and calculatedly set about on social media to put their destructive spin on every bit of information in the public space – all to their hopeful advantage.”

He said a democratic Republic caters for alternative points of view “but not those that deliberately distort and undermine the legitimacy and effectiveness of its own political system.”