The Prime Minister is calling on all citizens to put aside “narrow, partisan agendas and biases” and instead focus on the survival of the country.
In his Indian Arrival Day message, Dr Rowley said today’s holiday caused him to reflect on the experiences of the 200-plus people who made the first journey from India to TT.
“Many reviewers have sought comparisons between Indian indentureship and African slavery, concluding that servitude for the African slave was a lifetime, from dusk to dawn, while Indian indentureship was for five years in the first instance.
“Yet, oppression in various forms was inflicted on East Indians. There were a series of repressive colonial laws designed to keep indentures confined to the sugar estates and, worse, separated and divided from the rest of the Trinidad population.
“We should never forget that, in our collective history, the colonial experiences of all races have been one of suffering and sacrifices. Now, we have to overcome those measures that sought to divide us.”
Rowley said although people would not be able to re-enact the arrival of the Fatel Razack, which is usually done at various beaches, it does not diminish the celebrations during the day. He said he stood with the rest of the nation to solute the East Indian community, noting that while they celebrated on their own in the early years, the entire nation celebrates their arrival as fellow citizens.
“The possibilities and the scope of opportunities in the 21st century demand a sense of community, a spirit which communicates the message of progress, and that we are all one people.
Our ancestors have come from different places, at different times. Our diversity should always be seen as an advantage, always uniting us, never dividing us.”
He called for the nation to maintain a sense of unity even after the pandemic passes, pointing out that only as a united nation TT would be able to achieve a brighter future.
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