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Jedi President brings new hope
It is no secret that I am a Star Wars fan and, like millions of people around the world, I remain fascinated by this science fiction epic which tells the exciting story of a young group of patriots who, with the assistance of some amazing characters, ensure that good triumphs over evil.
The faithful heroes in Star Wars recognise that their once great Republic, which was once protected by the positive force and values of the Jedi warriors and which extolled the virtues of truth, freedom and equality, had rotted to the core under the leadership of selfish, greedy and ambitious men whose desire for ultimate power, wealth and control was unimaginable.
It was, therefore, left for the small rebel alliance who gathered from around the galaxy to restore the Republic to its former greatness—a State founded on the principles of integrity, honesty, trust and respect.
One would, therefore, appreciate that, after reading the text of the inaugural speech delivered by our fifth President, His Excellency Anthony Carmona, I felt, like so many others, “a new hope” which, ironically, is the title of the first episode of the Star Wars trilogy.
And in the same way that over 25 years ago audiences were inspired by the creative genius of and powerful message delivered by Star Wars creator George Lucas, I am confident that on March 18, hundreds of thousands of citizens, especially young people, were invigorated by the motivating words of our recently-elected President of the Republic of T&T.
In previous articles, I encouraged people, whatever their political affiliations, to objectively read the speech delivered by our first prime minister, the late Dr Eric Eustace Williams, at the youth rally held at the Queen’s Park Oval on the eve of our Independence on August 30, 1962.
Contained in that speech, which is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago, is an explanation given by Dr Williams of the specific meaning of each of the three watchwords carefully chosen to guide and determine the future of our nation. President Carmona stated in his address that “the mandate of my presidency will be to infuse new life into the watchwords: discipline, production and tolerance.
That President Carmona chose to use these singularly and collectively powerful words to define his stewardship as head of state is indicative that we are a country that, though founded on solid ground, has developed societal cracks that must not be left unattended, less the entire structure collapses.
The good news is that we do have capable individuals who are prepared to put their shoulders to the wheel and use their God-given talents as tools of construction and, undoubtedly, the President is such an individual. The first watchword—discipline—was originally defined as akin to honesty and President Carmona has correctly extended the meaning to include “acceptance of personal responsibility for one’s actions and a willingness to be held accountable.”
The second watchword—production—which was a mandate for citizens to contribute to the financial viability and economic prosperity of our nation, is once again, as President Carmona stated, an opportunity for us to “re-examine our work ethic…to demand a fair day’s pay but at the same time to commit to giving a fair day’s work.”
And the third watchword—tolerance—is to be viewed not only in the context of the diversity of our people but “allied to the practice of empathy, compassion and respect for others.” By his words, President Carmona has charted a course and reminded us of the existence of a blueprint that, if followed by all citizens, would be to the benefit and well-being of our nation.
On the horizon
When President Carmona opined, “I believe that we need to re-discover our destiny of creating hope for a world in turmoil,” he issued a challenge to each citizen to dig deep and find the values that are required to take our nation forward. Integrity, transparency, inclusiveness and reverence to God Almighty are just a few principles that must be part of our everyday conduct.
And as if to signal clearly that he will not sit by idly while Rome burns, President Carmona addressed the crisis of crime by sternly warning that “we as a nation, we the Parliament of the people must no longer engage in tired politics on the issue…What is needed is a truly collaborative effort among the stakeholders…” It is, therefore, hoped that everyone, without exception, listened attentively to the sterling address delivered by President Carmona.
It is incumbent upon us as citizens to follow the lead of the head of state and, with immediate effect, infuse in our daily lives the tenets of spirituality, integrity, humility, compassion and patriotism to build our nation not only for ourselves, but for generations to come.
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