• 14 OCT 2018

Message to the Nation on the Occasion of First People’s Day

Today, I join with my fellow citizens in paying special homage to our indigenous community as we commemorate First People’s Day.

The theme of this year’s First People’s Heritage Week which runs from 5th – 16th October 2018 is: Strengthening National and Regional Indigenous Identity.

Over the years the Santa Rosa First People’s Community has been at the forefront of strides to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago’s culture remains infused with the rich legacy of our indigenous people.

Every strand of our cultural tapestry is important. The courage and tenacity of our First People’s is woven into our identity. Their dedication to preserving and revitalising Amerindian history and traditions is beneficial to us all.

In Warrior Chief Hyarima we can find characteristics worth emulating. Hyarima devoted himself to preserving his people’s way of life and to expelling the Spanish invaders from his ancestral lands.

No doubt the beloved late Carib Queen Mrs. Jennifer Cassar also found inspiration from this great warrior as she too dedicated her life to service in like fashion.

The Carib Queen and Chief Ricardo Bharath Hernandez were key advocates who worked with Government to secure a one-off holiday in 2017 to formally recognise their Community’s presence and contribution to our country.

It is becoming increasingly important that the elders of the community pass on their knowledge and experiences to the next generation. I am pleased that strides are being made in this regard.

I would note however, that the duty to preserve our historical legacy is incumbent on us all and not just the duty of one segment of the population.

On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, my family and myself I extend best wishes to our indigenous people during this time of celebration.