London: Let's learn from our mistakes
Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London has said citizens must be mindful of the mistakes made and repeated and of the opportunities created and lost as the country celebrates 50 years of Independence.
"As we celebrate, we must reflect on those last 50 years. We must take pride in the development experienced and the challenges surmounted. We must savour and be motivated by the achievements of our national stalwarts in so many spheres of endeavour, and we must appreciate the relative good fortune and quality of life that we have enjoyed in comparison to many other developing countries of the region and the world," he said in his Independence Day message.
London said even as the nation celebrated, citizens must also be mindful of the mistakes "made and repeated, of the opportunities created and lost, and of the pettiness and the prejudice nurtured and disseminated".
"We must simultaneously be aware that it is the mindset, the posture, and the contribution of each individual which would have been the major factors determining our rate of development in our journey over the past 50 years. And these selfsame qualities will continue to be the major factors in shaping our progress in ensuing decades," he said.
"I suggest to you...that freedom gained can become freedom lost. Whether you gain freedom or not, might depend on others but what you do with that freedom depends on you. Remember, independence means the choices we make in the coming months and years will determine whether our children, and future generations will stand or sit, or even be forced to lie, in years to come. So I say to you, let us all as Tobagonians make those choices and take those actions that will label us as worthy of 50 years of Independence," London said.
He listed noteworthy Tobagonians including former ;president, prime minister and Tobago House of Assembly chairman Arthur NR Robinson; late commissioners of police Eustace Bernard and Hilton Guy, former heads of the Public Service, Doddridge Alleyne and Reginald Dumas; cultural icon Dr JD Elder; former governor of the Central Bank Victor E Bruce; educator Lionel P Mitchell; entertainers Calypso Rose, Lord Nelson and Shadow; footballer Dwight Yorke and athletes of recent vintage, Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Lalonde Gordon, Renny Quow, Semoy Hackett and Joseanne Lucas.
London said even as the country continued to celebrate, it must continue to reflect.
"We have come a long way since 1962 but we have a long and challenging journey ahead. Yet it is a journey which is also exciting and full of opportunity. Let us be strengthened, encouraged and informed by the lessons of the past 50 years, so that, as an island, a country and a people, we will be even better prepared to contribute to the development of the sovereign democratic state of Trinidad and Tobago," London said.