In spite of what anyone says, to the contrary, Trinidad is named after God, and consequently, it is and will remain a land blessed by God. No matter how bad things are, they will get better.
When I was around 11 years of age in Moruga, with pants where the holes were patched with different coloured cloth and bare feet that hurt each time I walked on the hot asphalt roadway, I felt that one day, with the grace of God, I will be guided to a place in life where I will help in making this land better.
I knew then that although we were among the most poor in the village and our grandmother was our only source of income for the family, somehow, I would emerge from poverty, not so that I can boast of making it, but more importantly, to be able to help Trinidad and Tobago emerge as one of the most blessed places on earth.
It was no surprise to me that I was the only student one year to pass the Common Entrance exam in my school or that I had to struggle throughout my lifetime to eventually gain my MBA. I always knew that my story was not the only such story, and there were similar stories from many citizens of T&T.
From the little boy in Barrackpore, who rose every morning with dew on his feet as he crossed the fields to graze the cattle, to the child who manoeuvred through the backyards of the many shacks on the Laventille hill to get to school each day, our land is filled with stories of people who made it today against tremendous challenges. That spirit and strength is what I invoke today to spread through our land in 2013.
I ask all our people to look deep within and find the courage and strength to make T&T a great country. I ask that we unite in this effort and look beyond the agendas of those consumed with dividing us. There is a way forward, and that way is the real message for 2013.
T&T faces many challenges: crime, unemployment, economic diversity, decentralisation of Government and business services, drainage and infrastructure, and charting a united way forward. These can all be easily confronted and overcome if we act on behalf of T&T in the best interest of our nation and children.
If we look around our neighbourhood, we will notice that we have somehow come to accept lawlessness as a way of life. In Barrackpore, the train lines that only a few years ago transported sugar cane to the factory have been illegally incorporated into many of the building lots that border the line.
Along the Solomon Hochoy Highway, squatters are increasing their acreage of lands daily, almost on to the shoulder of the highway, with impunity. Along the Lady Young Road, new, large houses are being erected as new driveways cut into the mountains to gain access to the roadway. Squatters are not only asked to relocate when they are required to move, they are compensated for doing so. Squatting is just one of the many manifestations of our acceptance of daily lawlessness.
Order in our society must be maintained if we are to survive as a nation. We must return to prayer and love and respect for God, whatever we conceive Him to be; we must respect those in authority, and we must find ways to love our neighbours.