Saturday 22 February, 2020

Carmona: Republic Day better suited to celebrate National Awards

The Annual National Awards Ceremony will now be held on Republic Day, September 24, instead of Independence Day, August 31.

President Anthony Carmona announced the change on Friday in a statement from the Office of the President.

The President, in explaining the move, said he felt it was more appropriate that the ceremony be held on Republic Day.

He wrote to several stakeholders articulating this view.

“In my Republic Day Address to the Nation on September 24, 2013, I stated ….in the minds of many of us there exist some uncertainty and ambivalence about the significance of Republic Day…. Perhaps the key difference between Independence Day and Republic Day is that Independence Day commemorates the road to freedom from colonial rule - which in our case was a relatively peaceful one – while Republic Day celebrates our achievements born out of our thirst for self-governance and the desire to determine our future”

“Independence Day celebrates the birth of our Nation but Republic Day celebrates our adulthood, our coming of age I therefore would like to propose that as a Nation we celebrate our Republican status meaningfully and with great honour by hosting the Annual National Awards on Republic Day rather than on Independence Day,” he stated.

President Carmona also noted that while he preferred that the National Awards Ceremony be hosted on Republic Day, Independence Day still is an important part of Trinidad and Tobago’s history.

“This is not meant in any way to minimize or trivialize the historic significance and importance of Independence Day. No doubt, however, the National Awards Ceremony on Republic Day would raise the national consciousness of our people, deepen our sense of patriotism and pride in ourselves, give added credence to the Republican Constitution, and bring greater awareness of the true meaning and importance of Republic Day."

The statement ended on the note that the Office of the President joins the rest of the national community in looking forward to celebrating on Republic Day, the achievements of Trinidad and Tobago’s esteemed awardees who will be receiving National Awards for distinguished or meritorious service or gallantry to this great Republic.

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