- 30 MAY 2019
Indian Arrival Day 2019
On May 30, 1845 the Fatel Razack arrived in Trinidad bringing with it the first Indian indentured labourers from a port in Calcutta. This marked the start of a wave of immigration from India to these shores which resulted in well over 100,000 brave individuals leaving their homes in search of new opportunities.
The journey here was dangerous and arduous. The ships, from all reports, were often cramped and dismal. There were frequent outbreaks of diseases which led to high mortality rates on some of the journeys. For the indentured labourer life toiling on the estates when they got here was onerous and exploitation was an enduring aspect of the system of Indian indenture.
Through it all the indomitable spirit of these indentured labourers persevered long after the scheme that brought them here ended and many of those who journeyed here made Trinidad and Tobago their home.
We are all truly appreciative that they stayed. The East Indian community has significantly contributed to the overall socio-economic development of Trinidad and Tobago. More than one hundred and seventy years later, this community has become an integral element of not just the national but the Caribbean landscape.
They’ve made their mark as bearers of a rich cultural legacy which has been adapted and adjusted to reflect the truly cosmopolitan ethos that defines who we are as a people.
As we celebrate Indian Arrival Day let us always remember the sacrifices of all those who ventured here so many years ago.
Let us forever cherish the interwoven complexity of our multicultural society and be proud that we can hold it out as a great example of harmony. This is especially important in today’s world where we hear almost daily news of the turbulence caused by divisiveness and intolerance.
On behalf of the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago I wish to extend warm greetings to the East Indian community on the observance of Indian Arrival Day and express sincere gratitude for the contributions that all have made in shaping our twin-island Republic into the beautiful nation that we love.