Friday, January 25, 2013

President urges Tobago to keep identity, sees bright and productive future ahead

President Max Richards - "a daunting task but not impossoible"
The 9th Tobago House of Assembly was inaugurated Thursday in Scarborough with the usual pomp and circumstance with Orville London and the Tobago People's National Movement making history.

It was historic for London who become the first person to win four consecutive terms as leader of the PNM in the island and to be elected Chief Secretary four times; for the party it was the first time since the THA was born in 1980 that the party has won all 12 seats. 

And for the assembly it was the first time that there was no minority leader and no opposition councillor.

Hilton Sandy, the man who made the infamous "Calcutta ship" statement, was removed from the post of Deputy Chief Secretary and replaced by a woman - Tracy Davidson-Celestine. 

And in an obvious attempt to heal wounds and mend fences the organisers of the event invited a Hindu woman from Tobago to deliver the opening prayers along with representatives of the Muslim and Christian faiths.
Guests at the ceremony included Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Tobago Development Minister Delmond Baker, the presiding officers of both houses of Parliament, Opposition Leader Keith Rowley and other members of Parliament.

President Max Richards, in what is likely his final official duty, administered the oaths of office to the 12 members of the assembly and other officials. And in a brief address he urged the people of both Trinidad and Tobago to understand Tobago's history and preserve the island's unique identity. He also called for respect for Tobago.
Richards spoke of the recent election campaign, which he said demonstrated that democracy - or electoral democracy as he put it - is alive and well. And he congratulated the people of Tobago and all candidates who took part in the campaign for their commitment to service. "It takes courage to enter the political arena," he declared.

The president said much will be said and written about the THA election that just ended and added his view of things. He said what is certain is that the next four years would be a challenge for the assembly to demonstrate its respect for democracy, not just electoral democracy but what he called "democracy in substance". He added, "The task is daunting, but not impossible."

He said there was no winner in the election except the people of Tobago and he urged the members of the assembly to settle down and work for the common good of all. And he encouraged the leadership to create space for the young people who are an integral part of Tobago's development. At the same time he urged the youth to learn from their elders who would have the right perspective on things.

Richards ended his speech on a positive note, stating a "bright and productive future lies ahead" for Tobago and for Trinidad and Tobago.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai