Her Excellency the President, together with the citizenry, looked on with mounting horror and grave concern at the immediate and after effects of last week’s deluge. Whether caused by Act of God, omissions or commissions of institutions or individuals or any combination thereof, this is not the time to ascribe blame.

It is the time for us all to come together as a nation to render whatever assistance we can to those in such desperate need. Many of our individual and corporate citizens have led the way in extraordinary demonstrations of bravery, compassion and generosity. We thank and commend them and let us all follow suit to whatever extent we are able.

We are also grateful for the efforts of the protective services, the regional corporations, disaster management organisations, NGOs and all who selflessly gave service. Just when many were despairing of the national ethos, we have seen cause for hope. Trinidad is a real place.

To those who have suffered trauma and loss, some of whom are staff of the Office of the President, we extend our heartfelt sympathy. As dire as things are, know that we are all hoping, working and praying to bring whatever relief we can in the shortest possible time.

When the immediate concerns have been treated with, let us as individuals and organisations re-examine our practices and processes and put in place both preventive and remedial steps to ensure that all humanly possible is done to avoid a repeat of the catastrophic events and the chaos recently experienced.

Trinidad and Tobago is possessed of the heart, the knowledge and the expertise to get this right. Let us ensure that it happens.

And may God bless our nation.