Fellow citizens, today marks the 57th anniversary of our Independence and anniversaries are an ideal time for both stock-taking and celebration.
None can deny that our supplies of Discipline, Production and Tolerance are significantly depleted. We are falling grievously short of our founding principles.
Indiscipline in small things, quickly and inevitably turns to indiscipline in larger and more critical matters. Our disconcerting levels of serious crime have their genesis in our laissez-faire attitude to minor infractions.
The heated and vitriolic rhetoric used in political discussion, particularly on social media, is characterised by ethnic intolerance. Trinidad and Tobago is in danger of losing its vaunted status as a model of ethnic harmony.
Reduced yields in natural and human resources have given rise to increased unemployment and an apparent lack of enthusiasm displayed by many workers across the public and private sectors.
Independence has made us the architects, operators and stewards of our destiny, and so we must accept and shoulder personal and institutional responsibility to right the wrongs and re-stock our shelves with plenty.
And as we contemplate our state of affairs, let us not forget to celebrate our achievements and blessings.
Our diversity, relative harmony and the richness of our cultural traditions stand out as beacons of hope in a bitterly divided world, and prevail over the small pockets of prejudice and partisanship that exist in our society.
Although some of our young people have put their energy and talents to ignoble use, many more have made us proud, for example our young athletes who have, on countless occasions, carried the Red, White and Black proudly on the world stage.
And even though we were all drawn from disparate and sundry paths, we can take pride in our enduring spirit and our ability to overcome the most daunting challenges as one people.
As we mark the 57th anniversary of our birth, we recall the great hope and expectancy that saturated our nation on 31st August 1962, and recapture the optimism of that period. Let us today, renew our commitment to the principles that underpin our nationhood—Discipline, Production and Tolerance.
I wish the national community a happy and contemplative Independence Day.
May God Bless our Nation.