• 24 SEP 2023

Prime Minister’s Republic Day Message 2023

Fellow Citizens,
Greetings on this day, the forty-seventh year of the founding of our Republic.
These Greetings, extended on behalf of the Government, my family, and myself, as Prime Minister, come with deep feelings of pride for our country, which, in spite of its many challenges, continues to evolve into a great Republic.
Last week, our country assumed the Presidency of the General Assembly of the United Nations – a position we will hold over the next year. This singular honour proves that though we are geographically small we are not insignificant.
Presiding over the world body, during this period, which analysts have described as “the most fraught and dangerous, since the end of the Cold War”, is expected to be “extremely demanding” for Trinidad and Tobago.
Our presidency of the UN, therefore, should hold every citizen’s personal and daily attention, as it validates our Republic’s status on the world stage – a place that once encouraged cooperation and globalisation is now becoming increasingly fragile and fragmented, with minute-by-minute messages on, wars, climate changes, food crisis, rising poverty, migration, inequality, the universal pandemic, economic pessimism, disappearing opportunities, fake news, social tensions and identity politics.
On your behalf, last week I extended the Republic’s appreciation, sincere best wishes and support to His Excellency Dennis Francis, the Ambassador of our Republic to the United Nations, who will sit in the President’s chair over this country’s term.
Almost immediately, following this achievement at the UN, your Government was able to sign an historic, inter-institutional agreement with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which will promote joint projects in gaseous hydrocarbons in the Dragon field located in that country’s territorial waters.
Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, the Hon Stuart Young, signed on national television in that country on our behalf, alongside Venezuela’s Minister of Popular Power, and President of PDVSA national company, Pedro Tellechea.
Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro hailed the agreement, stating that the signatures meant the strengthening of relations between Venezuela and our Republic, and carried a message of complementarity, solidarity, and shared sovereignty, and, most importantly, peace for the entire Caribbean.
During my visit to the UN, Venezuela extended another hand of cooperation. Our Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs, Senator the Hon Dr Amery Browne met with his counterpart, His Excellency, Dr Yvan Gil Pino and a delegation for further discussions on energy cooperation, migration, security and airline connectivity.
I should also indicate that our Republic has also finalised negotiations with Bp and Shell for exploration and production of natural gas in three deep-water blocks – a frontier development project.
Fellow citizens, we should also pay tribute to the outstanding performance of our athletes at the recent Commonwealth Youth Games which we hosted, an event attended by over 1,000 performers from seventy-one countries.
Praises must be extended to Nikoli Blackman who won three Gold Medals in Swimming and later broke the national 50m freestyle record.
The haul of medals of these young citizens was our largest ever at these games.
We must also acknowledge Nicholas Paul, the Republic’s most decorated cyclist, internationally, for his most recent achievement, the silver medal in the men’s sprint at the World Cycling Championships in Scotland.
These recent events are plumes, which should bring us all moments of pride and jubilation — but there remain, menacing issues of crime, violence, the scripted promotion, by some elements, intended to create mischief, apathy, institutional distrust, and societal discord.
All patriots must become alert. We must speak out against, those among us, who are bent on lives of crime, and those who will never encourage citizens to accept both their individual and collective, social responsibility.
We must be reminded that every Republic, at its birth, is a creative, political experiment among its citizens for their common good, a work that is continuously in progress. Along the way, we will be tested sometimes painfully but we are committed to confronting all the demons and overcoming all obstructions however and whenever they come.
We are, as young Senator, Helon Francis sang in a calypso this year, “a Mighty People”. There are social support systems for the needy, educational, and training facilities, modern medical healthcare and numerous opportunities for personal advancement, business and community development.
Fellow citizens, let us hold fast to what is good and positive as we continue the fight to relieve ourselves of the negative downward influences.
Let us all celebrate our holiday as we continue to love our country and exude pride in the nation that we are building.
Happy Republic Day.