Canada's Governor General Comes to Town
In May 2012, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, paid a state visit to the help celebrate Trinidad and Tobago's Golden Jubilee as an independent nation and to mark 50 years of official diplomatic relations between our two countries.
In honour of the occasion, Governor General Johnston met with President George Maxwell Richards and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and presented each with a limited-edition 50th anniversary commemorative coin. The Governor General and Prime Minister also witnessed the signing of two government-to-government agreements, in the health and correctional services sectors.
As Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Governor General laid a commemorative wreath at the St. James Commonwealth Military Cemetery to pay tribute to 6 Canadian servicemen, interred there, all killed in the Second World War. The Governor General also met with members of the Canadian business community and took part in the launch of a booklet and website to publicize Canada's corporate social responsibility efforts, demonstrating Canada's commitment to its trade and investment relationship with Trinidad and Tobago. His visit was also the occasion for the announcement of an additional TT$30 million in support by the Canadian government to the security sector.
Finally, the Governor General delivered an inspiring address at the University of the West Indies on "Educating and Innovating in a Connected World", followed by a panel discussion which addressed the linkages between educational institutions, government and the private sector, as well as best practices for preparing graduates to contribute to their country's economic advancement.
In a parallel program, Mrs Sharon Johnston, wife of the Governor General, visited Naparima Girls High School in San Fernando, to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the school and its founding by the Canadian Presbyterian Ministry. Mrs Johnston was accompanied by Her Excellency Dr Jean Ramjohn-Richards, First Lady and an alumnus of Naparima Girls.
Mrs Johnston also visited Success Laventille Secondary School, where she was introduced to the "Art Connect" project. This project, supported by the High Commission of Canada, works with youth at risk to change their focus on life through involvement in the arts.
During his time here in sweet T&T, His Excellency, the Governor General repeatedly remarked on the relationship of trust which exists between our two countries — trust built on solid people-to-people ties going back not just fifty, but well over 100 years.
His two-day visit was an auspicious opportunity to build on a thriving bilateral relationship and to demonstrate Canada's ongoing commitment as one of Trinidad and Tobago's most loyal partners.