UNITED National Congress (UNC) leader, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, has hailed party founder Basdeo Panday for creating the foundation of the most “representative” Government so far.
Persad-Bissessar, addressing a ceremony on Wednesday evening at Rienzi Complex to mark 25 years of the UNC, said the party has risen to meet the expectations of many and has been called upon to rescue the country “in so many ways, so many times”.
The party, which is part of the coalition People’s Partnership Government, celebrated its silver jubilee just weeks away from the May 24 fourth anniversary of the Partnership’s term in office.
“And so today, as we mark the 25th anniversary of the United National Congress, let us express our prayerful gratitude for the vision of Basdeo Panday and the Government we hold responsibility for today,” Persad-Bissessar said.
The PM said the UNC has become a true reflection of what the nation aspires to be, in that its membership is comprised of citizens from different backgrounds and faiths, all standing together.
“As a national political party, driven by the interests of people, and led by vision of prosperity for all, our party has been able to grow in its 25 years to achieve something most others have tried and failed to achieve,” Persad-Bissessar said.
“We are a party that has been able to provide an equal space and membership for everyone, regardless of their social standing, their heritage and culture, their ethnic origin. We are a party not separated by geography, ethnicity, class or creed, but one that is connected by a common purpose of equality, justice and empowerment. Today we can feel proud that the United National Congress is the most representative political organisation in the country.”
Persad-Bissessar said it was that political vehicle that made it possible for “a village girl” like herself to aspire towards and attain the goal of being Prime Minister.
She went on to outline what she saw as achievements of the party and the PP in office and hinted that more focus will be placed on the Government’s successes when May 24 is celebrated.
“There has been a level of people-centred development the likes of which this nation has never before witnessed.
“Our political philosophy saw this development being manifested where it mattered most–in roads where none existed, in schools where there were none, in box drains where they were desperately needed, in bridges that connected communities for the first time, in water where none had flowed before now, in health centres where there was none in sight for miles upon miles, in social programmes, in old age pensions, in scores of thoughtful, compassionate ways development came to where it mattered most.”
Persad-Bissessar said this was done after having inherited a “depleted Treasury after a period of squandermania”.
She praised Trinidad and Tobago as an example to the global community as a country where “liberty is protected, freedoms are upheld and the right of each citizen to reach out to opportunities is passionately promoted”.
“We must never let negative forces divide us and must always remain true to our founding principles of creating a better society, not for one group, but for every woman, man and child,” she said.