Thousands of people showed up at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, for the hour-long military parade marking the country’s 51st anniversary of Independence yesterday.
Minister of National Security Emmanuel George was the first to arrive, followed by Chief Justice Ivor Archie and his wife Denise.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar arrived at 7.58 a.m. dressed in a red suit and hat trimmed with white and black.
She was accompanied by her husband Dr Gregory Bissessar.
Wife of President Anthony Carmona, Reema Carmona, and her children Christian and Anura Carmona arrived shortly after and made their way to the VIP section of the stands.
Dressed in the national colours of red, white and black, parents, grandparents and children flooded through the main entrance of the Savannah and into the stands at the Paddock area to wait for the start of the parade.
With brilliant sunshine, there were those patriots who braved the early morning heat and sat in the uncovered stands lining the periphery of the Paddock on the eastern side of the Savannah while others walked with their umbrellas to shield themselves.
People also lined the western side of the Savannah waiting for the start of the parade, which began around 8 a.m. with the arrival of President Carmona.
Carmona, who was accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff Kenrick Maharaj, was greeted with cheers from those sitting in the stands on the eastern side of the Savannah as they caught a glimpse of him coming into the parade area.
The President was formally greeted with a fanfare of trumpets and as the modified Land Rover Defender on which he was transported drove by, Carmona touched his hand to his heart several times before he waved to people seated in the stands.
He then went on to inspect the parade without incident, following which the people were treated to the annual march past by the members of the Regiment, Coast Guard, Fire, Prisons and even trainees of the MILAT-MYPART programme.
This was followed by a fly-by by the Air Guard who incidentally flew the national flag in the wrong direction from one of their aircraft.
Following the fly-by there was a drive-by of more of the military assets on display.
This included the Viper One—a National Security aircraft—which was pulled by a Land Rover Defender.
The final display before the parade wrapped up was the mounted escort.
This was quickly followed by the national salute of 21 guns which had one of the horses in the mounted escort misbehaving and a few people, including a few police officers, startled at the thunderous sounds of the guns.
At the end of the parade Ministers of Government including Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Minister of the People Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, Dr Lincoln Douglas, Minister of Multiculturalism, and Kevin Ramnarine, Minister of Energy, were seen leaving the VIP section of the stands.
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley was also seen leaving the parade as well as other Opposition MPs.