Last update: 05-Dec-2013 8:03 am
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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On the occasion of our coming of age
Republic Day has huge significance in the history and development of T&T, but how many people appreciate and understand it? Republican status was the next big step after independence, when the country really became a sovereign nation. But that fact does not seem to be widely acknowledged or celebrated. President Anthony Carmona said as much in his Republic Day address, and felt it necessary to explain the meaning of the occasion. He said: “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.”
Coming just weeks after Independence celebrations, which have been taking place with a great deal of pomp and pagentry for the last 51 years, Republic Day has always been a much more low-key occasion, distingished mostly—or only—by the fact that it is a public holiday. However, there have been major national activities this year as the government is encouraging the public to be more patriotic. On Sunday, the Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration hosted an extravaganza consisting of a parade through Port-of-Spain followed by a free concert featuring several top local artistes. Today, the Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition of the Ministry of Community Development will host an Indigenous Music Festival at the Grand Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah.
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