UNC Chairman: Patriotism not about 'fancy cocktails'
United National Congress (UNC) Chairman and Pointe a Pierre MP David Lee responded to what he termed are misleading statements by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley who called Opposition's non-attendance at last week's Independence Celebrations unpatriotic.
In a statement, Lee said he continued a childhood tradition which involved standing along with relatives and the rest of the community as the parade made its way from the Queen's Park Savannah.
He added that real patriotism "does not need to dress in a fancy suit while attending a cocktail reception".
"For many years emerging from my childhood it has been a family tradition to stand on the roadside with my relatives along with thousands of other citizens to observe the Parade as it makes its way from the Savannah. Upon being elected to our nation's Parliament two years ago I was of the firm view that this tradition became even more relevant as it was critical for citizens to see their elected officials celebrating our nation's greatest achievement with them "on the ground" and as a result I stood with my fellow countrymen on the pavement for Independence day celebrations 2017 as I did in 2016 and many years before that."
"The Prime Minister must note that the main aspect of Independence is the celebration of self-governance or governance "by the people for the people" and to demonstrate patriotism one does not need to dress in a fancy suite while attending a cocktail reception. Real Patriotism is exemplified by being one with those who have elected us as representatives allowing us to fully implement the powers that were granted to us by Independence."
"The question must be posed to the Prime Minister, “Where was the Patriotism of the PNM, when as Opposition Leader together with the PNM Parliamentarians they chose to boycott our nation’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations in 2012 under the guise that they were hosting their own?"
He said government needs to "stop the rhetoric of calling the Opposition unpatriotic when real unpatriotism is exemplified when the needs of our citizens are ignored as has become the modus operandi of this current administration".