PM calls for unity: Put aside 'partisan agendas and biases'
Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has called for unity in his Indian Arrival Day message.
In a statement to mark the day, the Prime Minister urged citizens to put aside "narrow, partisan agendas and biases" and instead focus on the survival of the country.
Dr Rowley noted that the country has united in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
He urged citizens to maintain a sense of "oneness" even after COVID-19.
"Looking back over the past several months, we have accomplished much in dealing with COVID-19 -- as one people. We can accomplish everything, as a united people, a united nation. We have sacrificed too much to embrace failure.I appeal to every citizen to put aside your narrow, partisan agendas and biases, and instead focus, at this time, all the time, only on the survival of this great country. Understand, we are in a global fight for our survival."
"Today, as the Prime Minister of our beloved country I ask that even after the COVID-19 pandemic, we hold to the mindset of Oneness, with boundless faith in our destiny, because only as a united people we can achieve a brighter future"
The Prime Minister said the coming of Indian Arrival Day 2020 has caused him "to reflect upon the overall experiences, the questions and horrific fears" in the minds of the 200-plus persons who made that first hazardous trip across from India.
Dr Rowley said many reviewers have sought comparisons, between Indian Indentureship and African Slavery, concluding that servitude for the African slave was a lifetime, from dust to dawn, or rather centuries of brutal experiences, under the whip, while Indian indentureship was for five years, in the first instance.
However, he noted that oppression, in various other forms, was inflicted on the East Indians.
Dr Rowley added the descendants have proven themselves, as proud contributors to the national good, as every other race.
"And so, after my reflection, I stand with the rest of the nation to salute the East Indian community, knowing that while they have celebrated on their own, in the early years, today all of Trinidad and Tobago, regardless of descent, recognise and feel honoured to celebrate together, as fellow citizens."
The Prime Minister added that although the usual staging of a re-enactment of the arrival of the Fatel Razack at various beaches will not be carried out because of COVID-19 restrictions, it should not diminish today's celebrations.