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Public Administration Minister: Emancipation is also a state of mind
Public Administration Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan has lamented that too many citizens of T&T have forgotten their ancestors, who struggled to attain basic human rights decades ago. Speaking at the Southern Emancipation Support Committee’s annual Emancipation celebrations held on Friday at Harris Promenade, San Fernando, Seepersad-Bachan said citizens must never take their liberties for granted.
“Many of us today consider these freedoms and rights to be an entitlement. Many of us have forgotten the persecution and struggles of our ancestors that allow us to enjoy these freedoms,” Seepersad-Bachan said. However, she added that the Southern Emancipation Committee and the South Chapter of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church assisted in highlighting ancestral struggle. However, Seepersad-Bachan said even though the descendants of slaves and immigrants were free, it was important to strive for personal development.
“Emancipation is a historical fact but it is also a state of mind—a free people, free to dream our dreams and free to become the best we can be. In fact, and consistent with your theme for today, we can only progress and develop as a united people if we exercise our freedoms while respecting the freedom of others,” she said.
Seepersad-Bachan also called on citizens to strive for solidarity and unity. “Unity is a free choice of free people—no amount of laws can unite people if they don’t want to unite. Look at the problems in many Asian, African and Middle Eastern states where unity was imposed by laws but yet it is unenforceable. We in Trinidad and Tobago have the opportunity to progress in peace and prosperity, and develop in harmony and synergy if we use the opportunities that we have as a free people in a free state,” she added.
Seepersad-Bachan also said it was important to appreciate and understand local history. “It is important for us to further educate and involve ourselves in our history, customs, traditions and rituals. They help to anchor us firmly in our history and light the way forward into the future,” she noted. Saying that all citizens were free to assemble, worship and elect governments, Seepersad-Bachan called on every citizen to uphold the law.
“Emancipation Day is a constant reminder to us of the importance of enjoying, while at the same time safeguarding, the rights and freedoms we enjoy in our country. We have come a long way as a nation and as a people. Today, our entire nation unites in celebrating Emancipation Day as we unite to celebrate the many different national events that link us together in peace and harmony,” she said.
The Minister explained that even though the people of T&T had already embraced cosmopolitanism, they should now strive to aspire to the true ideals of truth, freedom and justice. Also attending the function were President of the Southern Emancipation Support Committee, Gemma Joseph and several representatives of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, South Chapter.
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