Music and dance filled the Central Bank Auditorium yesterday as the Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration launched Patriotism Week which ends on Sunday.It is an initiative of the ministry with the aim of instilling national pride while promoting the empowerment of citizens throughout T&T.The launch featured performances by several local artistes and groups, including Neval Chatelal, Mavis John, Kees Dieffenthaller, Malick Folk Performers and the Shiv Shakti Dance Group.
Delivering the feature address at the launch was Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration Clifton De Coteau.In his remarks, De Coteau referred to the "exhilarating and very patriotic" remarks made by President Anthony Carmona at his inauguration ceremony on Monday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port-of-Spain.He said his ministry shared Carmona's belief that tolerance and respect for each other were essential components in a country as diverse as T&T.
"Patriotism," he added, "is that inexplicable, intrinsic love and loyalty for your country. It is that sense of belonging which we feel. It is knowing that here is our home."At many occasions during his address, De Coteau invited members of the audience to chant the motto attached to Patriotism Week: I am, you are, we are Trinbago.He also took the opportunity to unveil a poster of what the ministry is referring to as its signage project of the nation's motto, together we aspire, together we achieve.
He said these words would soon be erected on the hillside overlooking the Lady Young Road.Another initiative, he said, was that the third Friday of every month would be recognised as Patriotism Day from March to August of this year.De Coteau also announced the list of locals chosen to be patriotic champions which included mainly musicians, performers and athletes.
He said his ministry believed a more patriotic society would spark positive change, including economic growth, a greater productivity, a sense of volunteerism and a reduction in levels of crime.
Other events carded for Patriotism Week include a competition for the best national mascot design; the Flag in Every Home Competition; the national day of patriotism in schools which takes place today and national flag giveaways carded to take place tomorrow. On Saturday the ministry will host a heritage walk around the Queen's Park Savannah.
The ministry's patriotic champions:
�2 Mungal Patasar–musician and recipient of the Humming Bird Gold 1994.
�2 Rikki Jai–chutney soca artiste.
�2 Merissa Aguillera–captain of the T&T national cricket team.
�2 Shurwayne Winchester–soca artiste.
�2 Kees Dieffenthaller–soca artiste.
�2 Neval Chatelal–singer.
�2 Michael Salikram–artistic director Shiv Shakti Dance Group.