SPEAKING NOTES OF THE HON. KAMLA PERSAD-BISSESSAR, SC, MP
POLITICAL LEADER OF THE UNITED NATIONAL CONGRESS
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
UNC 34TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION AND LAUNCH OF THE NEW UNC HEADQUARTERS
SUNDAY APRIL 30TH 2023
UNC family and friends, it is an honour to stand before you today on the occasion of our party’s 34th anniversary and the opening of our new headquarters here on Mulchan Seuchan Road in Chaguanas.
I start off, like all anniversaries should, by giving thanks.
First of all, we give thanks and praise to the Almighty. We have called on religious leaders from our major faiths to give thanks and praise to God for allowing us to survive for 34 years so that we can live to fight another day to help him bring about His will and His justice on this blessed land of Trinidad and Tobago.
I also want to thank our great party’s Founding Fathers – Basdeo Panday, John Humphrey, Kelvin Ramnath, Raymond Pallackdharrysingh, Trevor Sudama, and Govindra Roopnarine and many others.
They were brave, visionary souls. They stood up for what they believed in. They stood up for what was right. Even though they had powerful enemies all around them, in the highest places, they were able to prevail and take Government 6 years after forming the UNC.
For their sake, and the sake of our country, let’s Stand Our Ground together and push forward on the road to victory!
Thanks to all the officials of our great party over the years and up to the present day – NATEX, MPs, Senators, Councillors, Aldermen, constituency executives and co-ordinators, for their service to our party and country.
RANK AND FILE
Finally, thanks to all of you, our rank and file members. It is for you our party exists. The most important members of the UNC are you.
Without you, we wouldn’t be here. Everything we do is for you, your betterment, the betterment of your family, the betterment of your children, of your elderly parents, of your neighbours, of your communities, of your incomes, and of your environment.
Without your support, your love, your activism, and your loyalty, we would not be able to do any of this for you NOR FOR OUR BELOVED COUNTRY.
To our general secretary, Peter Kanhai, and the organising team for making this event the grand one it is today.
We thank you. I love you all.
As we celebrate this momentous occasion, we must take a moment to reflect on the incredible progress that we have made as a party and the tremendous impact that we have had on the lives of the people of our great nation.
For 34 years, the UNC has been at the forefront of the fight for social justice, economic progress, and equal opportunity for all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. We have fought tirelessly to promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, and we have always stood up for the most vulnerable members of our society.
We must always be proud that the UNC has provided this country with the best Governments Trinidad and Tobago has ever had in its history!
No administration has ever done more for the salt of the earth people of Trinidad and Tobago than the UNC.
We improved this country in every way when we were in Government, and we will do so again.
Crime went down, incomes went up, savings went up, investment went up, roads, bridges and schools and hospitals were built or repaired that hadn’t been done so in decades, sometimes never been done before! Water supply, electricity, everything was improving and progressive.
In Government, we have always expanded your rights, rather than take them away.
We passed transformation laws such as the Freedom of Information Act, the Judicial Review Act, the Equal Opportunities Act, the Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act.
These laws changed the face of the country and our politics forever! That is something we must be proud of.
The UNC is an institution, a National institution, of national importance. And WE have built it!
WHAT THE UNC STANDS FOR
In the House of the rising sun there is only one people, the people of T&T. That is why today we can boast of being the most diverse party in our nation.
In the last thirty-four years the UNC has never based its politics on race, colour or creed but we have cemented it on a mutual love for every single group that makes up this beautiful twin island of Trinidad and Tobago.
Many times, our party has faced tribulations as we did when others tried to break us, but you have stood strong ensuring we become the second oldest party in our nation. You have always stood with the UNC because you know, the UNC is the only political machinery that is fighting for our citizens.
WHAT THE UNC MEANS FOR ME?
Today is a special day for me because my greatest joy in life is serving you the people of our party and the citizens of our nation.
Today I want to tell you what the UNC means for me. The UNC for me means fighting for the father that doesn’t have a job to put food on the table.
The UNC for me means fighting for those young children who have to study without electricity of even without a proper roof over their head.
The UNC for me means fighting to ensure mothers don’t have to cry over their murdered children.
Thirteen years ago, when I became your leader, I didn’t do so for the position. I did so because I wanted to serve you. I wanted to fight for a better way of life for you. I wanted to ensure that your dreams, your goals, and your potential as a people was recognised.
Thirteen years ago, when I became your Leader, I did so because I wanted to ensure that no child was left behind. I wanted to ensure that no community was abandoned. I wanted to ensure that no constituency would be neglected.
I wanted to ensure the children of the UNC and Children of T&T were given equal opportunity.
Together we have grown this party into the most diverse political party in our nation’s history.
Together we have ensured that every UNC member has an equal opportunity to get into our Parliament. We have made the UNC the only viable political institution of hope.
And, as we look to the future, we know that there is still so much work to be done. Now, more than ever, our nation needs the United National Congress. We need to continue fighting for the people, working to build a more just, equitable, and prosperous society for all.
We must recognize that the UNC was made for this moment.
This is a moment of darkness for our country, in every sphere of life.
From education and schooling, to crime and safety, to the economy, to our national assets like the oil and gas industry or agriculture and the environment, it almost feels like we are reaching a point of no return.
But this is the moment that the UNC was made for. Only WE can rescue Trinidad and Tobago –
We have the experience, the track record, the intellectual capacity, the people, and the true love for our country, and love for ALL our people, not just a select few!
With our new headquarters, we have a renewed sense of purpose and a powerful symbol of our commitment to the people of this great nation. We are more committed than ever to building a brighter future for Trinidad and Tobago, and we are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
Today, as we open our new headquarters and celebrate our party’s 34TH Anniversary, let’s recommit to our founding aims and objectives, ie:
(i) To provide and/or ensure good government to the people of Trinidad and Tobago;
(ii) To inculcate an abiding appreciation and respect for the ethnic, cultural and religious diversity of our society
(iii) To eliminate all forms of discrimination, whether based on race, colour, origin, religion, gender, class or region and to ensure that equal treatment is meted out to all citizens
(iv) To nurture a society in which opportunity is availed of and advancement is achieved on the basis of merit, ability, competence and integrity
(v) To strive to ensure a just and equitable distribution of state resources as between groups, communities, classes and regions
(vi) To foster the ethos, substance and processes of democracy in all spheres and aspects of national life … and to encourage the implementation of the principles of economic and industrial democracy and the most widespread ownership of economic assets;
(vii) To struggle against any tendency towards authoritarianism, autocracy and dictatorship
(viii) To promote active citizen involvement at all levels of decision making as the foundation for a participatory democracy and as a prerequisite for self-reliant development
(ix) decentralized exercise of power and decision making;
(x)To encourage creativity, productive endeavour and discipline in all spheres of activity and enterprise
(xi) To facilitate the attainment of a higher standard of living for all
(xii) Generally, to promote the political, social and economic development of the people of Trinidad & Tobago.
So, let us redouble our efforts, let us work tirelessly, and let us never forget that the United National Congress is the party of the people, by the people and for the people.
We look forward to the future with hope, despite the darkness that we have been put into.
Only the UNC has the ability to prevail and bring about positive development in Trinidad and Tobago, for all.
I call on all of you to Stand Your Ground!
We are on the Road to Victory!
Let us be renewed in spirit and resolve! Let us fight with renewed strength!
We are UNC and Proud
YOU HAVE HAD LEADERS BEFORE ME, YOU WILL HAVE LEADERS AFTER ME, BUT YOU WILL NEVER HAVE A LEADER WHO LOVES YOU MORE THAN I DO.
Thank you all for being here today, and here’s to another 34 years and more of progress, prosperity, and justice.