I wANT to expand on these three words coined as our national watchwords by the late Dr Eric Williams who first identified them at a youth rally on the eve of our Independence on August 30, 1962. Our current leaders will do well also to understand the significance of those watchwords.
Dr Williams put the watchword Discipline first in the context of not allowing individual greed and ambition to reign supreme at the expense of the prosperity of a nation.
Discipline is one characteristic that deals with the inner man and therefore will be reflected in the way a person deals with other individuals and situations. Learning and applying discipline is the first step towards success and peace. With all this crime and corruption in our society we ask ourselves “where is the discipline?”
Once we achieve discipline then we are on the right path to produce in order to enjoy life as we earn based on what we are able to produce. Production speaks to a positive type of social and economic behaviour that enables an individual and a society to achieve wealth and success. At this stage positively reinforcing the significance of production and productivity will reduce and hopefully eradicate the dependency syndrome. All this talk about diversification and yet our wealth still depends not so much on how productive our economy is but rather mainly hinges on the price of oil and natural gas.
Tolerance according to Dr Williams translates the ideal of our National Anthem in our daily behaviour where “here every creed and race finds an equal place”. The definition of tolerance speaks to the ability and willingness to accommodate opinions and behaviours that one may dislike or disagree with. Tolerance also has to do with our capacity in terms of continued exposure to something without an adverse reaction to it. However if someone is disciplined enough, it is easy to recognise that there are many situations or behaviours that one will not agree with but as a disciplined individual involved in productive activity, the capacity to tolerate and even try to understand and appreciate divergence is necessary. Action will then be as a result of discipline and process in a peaceful manner and not solely based on ignorance and the desire to have your way now.
T&T is a plural society with a rich history and I think we have the information necessary to live peaceably and develop holistically. At this point we have to return to the basics and foundation that this country was built on to ensure that as a society we don’t drift too far away. Wherever life takes us we must have our guiding principles that will instruct us along the way.