PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Aug 31 – Trinidad and Tobago is observing its 51st anniversary of political independence from Britain with the traditional military parade, presentation of national awards and a warning from President Anthony Carmona that the country’s biggest hindrance to progress may well be “ourselves”.
In his first Independence Day address since becoming head of state earlier this year, Carmona, a former High Court judge, said that he could still “remember that feeling of purpose and destiny” he felt as a nine-year-old school boy in 1962, the questions now after five decades are “What use have we made of our Independence? In what ways are we better off now than we were before we became self-governing?” He said while few could argue that the country has produced some outstanding individuals who have distinguished themselves, both here and overseas, “who are we as a nation?.
“Have we, as a nation, been true to our watchwords of Discipline, Production and Tolerance? “What characterizes us as a people? What do we stand for? What do we bring to the Commonwealth of Nations?”
President Carmona said that the central issue of 51 years ago, the pursuit of Independence, “is not the central issue today.
“After half a century of self-governance, the colonial master is no longer a formidable hindrance to our growth and development as a people and as a nation. Our main hindrance may well be ourselves.”