- 28 JUL 2017
National Awards to be held on September 24
The Following is a Release from the Office of the President
The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Annual National Awards Ceremony will now be held on Republic Day instead of Independence Day. These National Awards will be presented to awardees on Republic Day – September 24th and not Independence Day -August 31st.
His Excellency Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona ORTT, SC President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago announced the change today.
His Excellency had previously written to several stakeholders articulating his views that it was more appropriate that the National Awards Presentation Ceremony should be held on Republic Day.
In his letters of consultation, President Carmona stated: “The President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, by his Office, is the Chancellor of the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago which is that Society of Honour established in the Constitution for the recognition and awarding of what are commonly referred to as National Awards. As Chancellor (of the Society), the President is responsible for the administration of the Order, which includes the ceremonial presentation of the National Awards.”
His Excellency’s letter noted that when Trinidad and Tobago achieved Republican status fourteen (14) years after Independence, no longer owing allegiance to the Queen, this paved the way for National Awards to be conferred in the name of the Head of State, the President, whose constitutional and ceremonial authority, legitimacy and remit are embedded and rooted in the Republican Constitution.
His Excellency’s letters also recalled, “In my Republic Day Address to the Nation on September 24, 2013, I stated ….in the minds of many of us there exist some uncertainty and ambivalence about the significance of Republic Day…. Perhaps the key difference between Independence Day and Republic Day is that Independence Day commemorates the road to freedom from colonial rule – which in our case was a relatively peaceful one – while Republic Day celebrates our achievements born out of our thirst for self-governance and the desire to determine our future. Independence Day celebrates the birth of our Nation but Republic Day celebrates our adulthood, our coming of age. “
The letter concluded, “I therefore would like to propose that as a Nation we celebrate our Republican status meaningfully and with great honour by hosting the Annual National Awards on Republic Day rather than on Independence Day. This is not meant in any way to minimize or trivialize the historic significance and importance of Independence Day. No doubt, however, the National Awards Ceremony on Republic Day would raise the national consciousness of our people, deepen our sense of patriotism and pride in ourselves, give added credence to the Republican Constitution, and bring greater awareness of the true meaning and importance of Republic Day. I hope that these humble sentiments meet with your national expectations as to the Annual National Awards Ceremony being hosted on Republic Day.”
The Office of the President with the rest of the national community look forward to celebrating on Republic Day the achievements of our esteemed awardees who will be receiving National Awards for distinguished or meritorious service or gallantry to this great Republic.