JUBILEE REVELRY: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar joins Rosalind Gabriel masqueraders on stage at Queen's Hall, St Ann's, yesterday during the launch of Trinidad and Tobago's 50th Independence anniversary celebrations. —Photo: MICHEAL BRUCE

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BEST DAYS TO COME

PM at launch of 50th Independence anniversary celebrations:

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

TRINIDAD and Tobago's "best days" are still ahead.

And, in order for the country to successfully move forward there must be a level of compromise, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said last night.

Persad-Bissessar was delivering the feature address at a ceremony to launch activities celebrating the country's 50th independence anniversary at Queen's Hall yesterday.

The logo competition for the independence anniversary celebrations was won by Debbie Boos.

Hours after leaving a meeting of coalition leaders with outstanding issues still left unresolved, Persad-Bissessar gave the crowd at Queen's Hall a lesson on the topic of "compromise".

Persad-Bissessar yesterday met with the leaders of the four other political parties forming the People's Partnership coalition at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's.

Speaking at Queen's Hall afterwards yesterday, Persad-Bissessar outlined the difficulties the government faced in terms of achieving a consensus on the constitution fifty years ago.

The negotiation process of the constitution was held in Queen's Hall 50 years ago, Persad-Bissessar said.

The then opposition walked out of those negotiations, she added.

Final agreement on the constitution was eventually made in London, England.

"While the constitution negotiating process involved some resistance at home, in the end compromise in the interest of the greater national good triumphed," she said.

"Compromise is not defeat nor is it surrender. In deciding the future of the people and of the country no one person or government can claim to have all the answers all the time. Compromise is a process of consultation," she said.

"What is also important in compromise is that those in power to make the final decision must possess the will to take that decision and see it through courageously," Persad-Bissessar said.

Persad-Bissessar, the country's sixth prime minister, paid tribute to her predecessors yesterday.

"Each prime minister faced their own challenges and each did what they felt was right," she said.

Persad-Bissessar said she inherited the proud tradition of "liberty and freedom" from the five former prime ministers.

She described following in the footsteps of the previous prime ministers as "standing on the shoulder of giants".

Persad-Bissessar said we must become giants for the sake of the future.

But while Persad-Bissessar paid homage to the five former prime ministers and the other stalwarts who have put Trinidad and Tobago on the international map in all spheres, she declared that the best is yet to come.

"As we celebrate therefore we do so with confidence and renewed hope in the future," Persad-Bissessar said.

"With the foundation we have and the dedication of all our citizens and renewed focus by all our people our nation now stands ready to lead by example," she said.

"Our nation's best days are still to come and together we will usher those days in," Persad-Bissessar said.

Persad-Bissessar yesterday also lauded the recent oil discovery of 50 million barrels of oil by State-owned Petrotrin which together with the Bayfield discovery she said totalled 80 million barrels but warned citizens that they cannot continue to rely solely on sheer luck. • See Page 5

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