This Independence Day, let us remember that the United National Congress represents the true spirit of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the UNC that represents all of the poor, humble working people, farmers, small business owners, ordinary men and women, from north, south, east, west, central, the urban, the suburban, the rural, the swampland, the coastal, the floodplains, the hills and the lagoons. We are the only Trinidad-origin party that truly respects the distinctness of the island and people of Tobago, working with them as true partners and equals.
The UNC is truly the party which respects the real diversity of Trinidad and Tobago, religiously, culturally, ethnically, geographically and otherwise.
More than any other party or organisation, the UNC understands that it is this fundamental diversity which makes Trinidad and Tobago truly what it is. Diversity, not uniformity, and the celebration of this diversity — even the defense of this diversity — constitutes the very soul of Trinidad and Tobago. Those who wish to crush this diversity, our very vibrancy of life, with uniformity, with authoritarianism, with States of Emergency, with oppression, with conformity are the enemies of Trinidad and Tobago.
One of the terrible legacies we have inherited and must correct is the PNM’s version of independence.
The PNM have always tried to hijack our country, arrogantly presuming to tell us who or what is patriotic, who or what is Trinidadian or Tobagonian, who or what are our national heroes and culture, and who or what is not. By doing so, they have stifled our creativity, stifled our productiveness, stifled our prosperity, and prevented us from truly fulfilling our destiny as being the gem of the entire Caribbean — whether independent, dependent, French, Dutch, British, American, or Spanish.
There is no good reason why Trinidad and Tobago should not have become the brightest jewel in this blessed Caribbean Sea which we are privileged to call our home.
We must not ever succumb to the smallness of vision, or the pettiness of the politics of partisan supremacy that our country has been plunged into.
Indeed, we must debunk the notion once and for all that Eric Williams is our country’s father, a false idea ideologically pushed on our people every Independence Day.
Trinidad and Tobago existed long before Eric Williams did. He was merely one of her sons. Trinidad and Tobago will exist long after his party passes and fades. We are not their dependents and owe no allegiance to them.
The PNM did not fulfil the dreams of our ancestors, they perverted it.
Our job in the UNC is to fulfil the dreams of our fathers, mothers and those generations that produced them. Collectively, our ancestors toiled on this land for generations, built their homes, indeed, built the villages and towns throughout every nook and cranny of these two islands. We continue their work.
This Independence Day let us in the United National Congress reclaim our Independence project. Let us build, and not allow the destruction to continue. In doing so, let us resolve to demonstrate to the rest of the Caribbean, and to the world, that our independence was indeed worth it, and that the society we create here will truly be a model nation of peace, beauty, prosperity, and harmony, the envy of the whole world.