Father’s Day Message

Message by His Excellency Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona ORTT, SC
President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and
Her Excellency Reema Carmona
On the Occasion of Father’s Day 2017

In a society confronted with many afflictions, a simple yet defining solution may well be a father’s love, guidance and presence. Quite often, the role and significance of a father are downplayed and seen as the lesser of the parental influences when in fact it should complement the role of the mother in the home. Today is indeed a celebration of fathers, father figures and fathers who run single parent households and contribute to the progression and upliftment of generation next. Father and father figures, continue to be that glimmer of hope with your disciplined love, mentorship and presence.

Sons and daughters, it is Father’s Day and you may be inclined to give your fathers material things. There is no greater gift than the gift of love, deep appreciation and dedication and that gift is one that daddy will always cherish and remember. Great fathers must be admired, respected and honoured unreservedly for their dedication, love and devotion shown to their children. A special ‘hail up’ must go to those grandparents who have taken the place of delinquent mothers and fathers imbibing love and affection in an unparalleled way.

A good example of a loving and understanding father will forever be etched in the psyche of the child, especially the man child. No matter how important your job is, how time consuming, even nerve wrecking, do not be complacent with your child’s love. Professional and working responsibilities, must not trump your vocational duty to your child. Children grow up before you know it. Therefore fathers, make time for your children in their formative years because if you do not, you will become a stranger to the child you genuinely love.

There is no greater joy that a parent can share with a child, than spending quality time with that child. We often speak of social transformation and the importance of family life but in practice we are either disconnected or indifferent to the working mechanics of family life. Families must bond. In these trying times, the only practical occasion families are sometimes able to gel and bond, to come together and really know each other in an atmosphere of love, care and affection, are on weekends.

In Trinidad and Tobago, the weekly routine has become a hustle for survival, everyone getting up early to encounter long hours in traffic and reaching home at night time, after a hard day’s work. The traditional family unit as we know it, is becoming threadbare and even fragmented through the negatives of the hustle and bustle of daily life. Fathers must therefore, engage their children and family on weekends. Spend more time with your family on weekends so that love can get a chance to breathe, heal and bring peace, solace and harmony to a sometimes, dysfunctional family life. We must not disaggregate or disconnect the positive impact that family weekends can have in creating a holistic society and maintaining a cohesive family unit.

On this Father’s Day, we wish to issue a plea to all absent fathers, for whatever reason it may be, to make every effort to rekindle that relationship with their child and actively working towards the holistic wellbeing of the child. Taking care of your child does not mean only financially but rather, you must be there to take the child to school, to football practice, to the doctor and teach the child all the life lessons that your father taught you or you would have wanted your father to teach you.

A father’s mission is a simple one, to love, motivate, inspire and help realise the goals and dreams of the child. A father who helps to create happy memories during childhood affirmatively points the way when that child assumes or adopts the mantle of fatherhood or motherhood.

There is however, one demographic that bleeds our hearts on this very special day and this pain we have personally experienced interacting with the family members and care givers of differently abled children. When we speak of differently abled children, we do not speak of children with broken limbs but children with broken spirits, broken hearts, starved of fatherly love. Very often the daily routine of the differently abled child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, the Visually Impaired and the Hearing Impaired are borne solely by the mothers of these children. Many fathers have abandoned their differently abled child to a mother’s love and presence through skewed and misplaced notions of manhood, masculinity and shame. Abandoning the differently abled child to the sole responsibility of a mother’s love and affection is wrong and unfair. Fathers, please find a way back into the life of the differently abled child who craves your love, care and affection.
We are sometimes obsessed with finding mentors for those children abandoned by their fathers and fathers need to proverbially and actually come home to their children as a functioning father not a moonlighting father and this is regardless of the relationship subsisting between the parents. Our men are growing callous and we need to terminate this culture of death and resuscitate a culture of life, hope and love. Fathers inspire your child, especially the man child, to do good and be good and always to have a full appreciation of the sanctity of human life. Inspire your child to be a good person every day of his/her life.

We wish to further salute those fathers who are quietly and silently suffering sending their be all and end all to children studying abroad in this period of recession to ensure that their children’s needs are met in a foreign land. A great father will always be a great role model because his mantra is about responsibility, dedication and commitment.

Together with our children Christian and Anura, we wish all fathers, father figures and caregivers, a Happy and Blessed Father’s Day 2017 and all things great and wonderful!