Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Independence Trinidad and Tobago

National Anthem of Trinidad and Tobago Forged from the love of liberty, In the fires of hope and prayer, With boundless faith in our destiny We solemnly declare. Side by side we stand Islands of the blue Caribbean Sea, This our native land We pledge our lives to thee. Here every creed and race, Find an equal place, And may God bless our nation. Here every creed and race, Find an equal place, And may God bless our nation. It’s been said that Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) is barely more than a dot on a map of the world. For a small (population of 1.3M), nation, on its 47th anniversary of independence, the country has undoubtedly made its mark on the international scene. This developing country, the most southerly island in the Caribbean, has created several historical first. We are the homeland of steelpan, calypso, soca and Brian Lara the greatest batsman the world has ever seen. T&T boasts of having two Miss Universe winners in Janelle Commissiong Chow (1977) and Wendy Fitzwilliam (1998), and a Miss World (Giselle La Ronde West) in 1986. Add to these Hasely Crawford’s 100 metres victory at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, a slew of world-renowned writers, academics and athletes who continue to make an impact on the international scene — including the four who won T&T a silver medal (4x100 men’s relay) at the recent World Championship games in Berlin. While it is good to celebrate the achievements of citizens on the world stage, there must be follow-up mechanisms for continuity. To date T&T has not done anything to concretise such excellence so as to impact the entire society. After 47 years the number of negatives of our society includes the following: • Over the past few decades, T&T has made significant material progress, by way of its wealth and in education. However, while we are intellectually more dependent today than 50 years ago we have gone backwards in terms of self-esteem and self-reliance. • We have more foreigners than ever doing things that we ought to be doing. We have also fallen woefully short in the area of innovation. • Yes, we have oil and gas. But what do we create. We still look to the outside world for comfort and encouragement. • The moral fabric of society is decaying at a rapid rate. The murder rate in T&T has almost doubled in the last two years. • Longstanding traditions are falling apart. • The ideal of racial unity in our national anthem, no longer exists. • The multi-ethnic and religious nature of the society is still grappling with the issue of tolerance. • While the education system has opened up by way of more schools, teachers and curricula, this has not translated into more literate citizens. There were many disadvantaged children during the forties and fifties but a person could read and write perfect English. Nowadays, the system is churning out too many illiterates. • After 47 years of independence, TT still has too much poverty. Statistics suggests that 12 percent of the population is living on less than US$2 a day. • The country is in a poor state even though it is materially rich. In fact, it is no longer a failed State where lawlessness abounds, but a dying society. Despite the negatives however, our country is still blessed by Almighty God and there must be hope in the hearts of all who desire good for Trinidad and Tobago. I thank God for the following: • Our country was named after the Blessed Trinity by Christopher Columbus when he discovered the island. • Freedom to worship • Abortion is still illegal • Prayers are still being prayed in our schools • Sweet Pan and Calypso • I see a people creative who must overcome • Hospitality so special like a natural instinct • Thirty-eight percent of the population is Christian (26% catholic) and once we can accept and submit to the Word which has been planted in us, we can save souls and our country. May we truly live the words of our National Anthem and may God Bless our nation.

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