Fellow citizens,

The courage, resilience and determination of the Indian indentured labourers who landed on our shores between 1845 and 1917 are critical to the survival of all of us in Trinidad and Tobago as we learn to adjust to the new normal that has been thrust upon us.

The intrepid immigrants hailed from various cities and regions across India, such as Bombay, Madras, Agra, and Bihar, and were an eclectic mix of peoples, customs, languages and beliefs, united in the pursuit of a better future. Fortunately for Trinidad and Tobago, many opted to remain after their contracts expired and planted roots here, continuing to work diligently to overcome sundry obstacles—social, religious, economic¬— and secure for themselves an equal place in their adopted homeland.

Over the years, our nation has reaped the benefits of the hard work, perseverance and fidelity to heritage of those early pioneers. Beyond the outward cultural manifestations of music, food and dance that are now an indelible part of the mosaic that is Trinidad and Tobago, the values and principles that underpin their traditions have contributed to the strength, stability and prosperity of our country.

As beneficiaries of their proud and lasting legacy, we must all ensure that the ties which unite us prevail over those which divide. On this 175th anniversary of the arrival of the Fatel Razack, we are inspired by the bonds of brotherhood that sustained those valiant voyagers both on their perilous journey to the New World and as they settled in an unfamiliar land. We, like them, find ourselves in challenging and uncertain circumstances and must forge ahead with vision, grit and hope for a favorable outcome.

The restrictions that have curtailed today’s customary festivities must in no way dampen our spirit of celebration as we commemorate this most significant chapter of our country’s history. I extend sincere wishes to the Indian community and all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago for a happy, healthy and safe Indian Arrival Day