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Monday, December 09, 2013
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Sando mayor unveils Dr Eric Williams plaque Ex-PM must be on school curriculum
More than three decades after the late Dr Eric Eustace Williams said, “future of the nation is in the children’s school bag,” San Fernando mayor Navi Muradali is calling for Williams’ legacy to be made part of the school curriculum. Muradali was speaking at the unveiling of a plaque in tribute of Williams at Harris Promenade on Friday. Sharing the sentiments was chairman of the Eric Williams Memorial Committee, Reginald Vidale, who said that Williams was not being given the honour and recognition he deserved.
Muradali said: “I am very disappointed that in our curriculum in schools, we learn so many things about Christopher Columbus and all these other persons who are historical in nature. “But many of our young people leave our education system and not much is known about Eric Williams, so I share your (Vidale) sentiments and I think I would take the opportunity to call on our Government to correct that.” He added, “I would call on our Government to ensure that Dr Eric Williams has a place in our history books in our curriculum. And therefore, this is a step in the right direction.” Noting the thousands of schoolchildren who traverse the promenade on a daily basis, Muradali said the monument “will serve as a history lesson to all of our schoolchildren, to quote from Dr Eric Williams, ‘the future of our nation is in our children’s school bags.’”
Muradali said most people are unaware that when Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969, one of the 70-odd messages etched on the lunar surface was from Williams. It read, “It is our earnest hope for mankind that while he gain the moon we shall not lose the world.” During his presentation, Vidale was critical of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and then Port-of-Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing for not responding to his requests for monuments of Williams to be erected. About three weeks ago at the unveiling of Venezuelan liberator Simon Bolivar’s bust on the Harris Promenade, Vidale made a similar appeal to Muradali.
Vidale recalled that on April 18 last year, he wrote to the THA asking for a space to have a memorial for Williams and identified the Botanical Gardens as a suitable location. “I have to date received no reply and I’m sill waiting,” Vidale said. “It is my feeling that the legacy and memory of Dr Williams does not seem to form part of the landscape of Tobago. My concern is that the children of Tobago are going to grow up knowing nothing about the father of the nation, and those who should know better must hang their heads in utter shame.” He said on January 10, 2011, he made a similar appeal to Lee Sing, but to date he has received no response.
He said his concern was that children will know nothing of Williams and his contribution. Saying that it was a red letter day in San Fernando, Vidale said, “Dr Williams is finally being given the recognition that I have been asking for the past 31 years to be given to him, and he has now found a place alongside contributors of freedom and democracy, Marcus Garvey from Jamaica, Mahatma Gandhi from India and quite recently Simon Bolivar from Venezuela.” He said he will be approaching the business community of San Fernando to fund the project. The mayor was also presented with the Father of the Nation Medal of Honour (Gold).
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