Trinidad and Tobago is celebrating its 60th anniversary of independence this week with a series of events which started in earnest a couple of weeks ago. T&T became an independent country on 31 August 1962, three weeks after Jamaica (6 August) celebrated its own independence from Britain too.
Housing Minister Camille Robinson-Regis is one of the main organisers commemorating the Diamond Jubilee which includes an Independence Day parade and fireworks. All events are free to the public.
Robinson-Regis is urging citizens to continue to strive to be patriotic and civic-minded. The events are also featuring the Black Power events of 1970, and the 1990 attempted coup.
Other highlights include official visits by Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness and President of Guyana Dr Irfaan Ali.
Robinson-Regis said: “We are a small nation, but we have done well. We have been a top producer of ammonia. We have over 100 years in the oil and gas industry. We have produced artistes and sportsmen. For 1.4 million people, we have done exceptionally well. For 60 years, we are still very excited.”
There are ‘Together Concerts’; on 31 August, the night of Republic Day in Trinidad – 24 September and on 23 September in Tobago.
She said last week: “These concerts are expositions of our cultural manifestations comprising of our indigenous expressions, signposts to our deepest and most sincere aspirations for unity and solidarity as a people. Reminiscent of our national watchwords ‘Together we aspire, Together we Achieve’. These celebratory events will provide moments of reflection on what it is to be a Trinbagonian as stepping stones to generating and nurturing national pride.”
Cultural, art exhibitions and other events include a Patriotic Song Competition, a Patriotic Essay Competition for school children and other young people to participate. The Cultural Caravan is crossing the entire country and features nationally acclaimed artistes.
In Tobago there is lighting up of the Shaw Park Complex and the Buccoo Boardwalk and Tobago is also hosting its inaugural Independence Dinner along with a series of exhibitions.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says while this country has an unacceptable crime rate, he’s standing by National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds and his work in fighting the issues.
Dr Rowley addressed calls from the public and the opposition that he should change the Minister of National Security in a bid to address the crime levels.
He said: “How we could change the Minister of National Security and crime rate will change? If that was so it would have changed under the UNC, they had six National Security Ministers and when all of that failed, add to that a State of Emergency.”
According to Rowley, the crime rate is not unique to T&T alone as several other Caribbean countries including Jamaica and St Vincent have the same problems. He added: “But all of us are buckling down to fight this phenomenon.”