Independence Day - 1962


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THIS LAND OF OURS - PART 4

Her Royal Highness now hands over the Constitutional instruments to the Prime Minister who in turn replies:
Dr. Eric Williams: May it please your royal highness, it is with a feeling of deep pride, pleasure and satisfaction as Prime Minister of the newly independent state of Trinidad and Tobago, that I offer you for transmission to her majesty, the queen, the profound thanks and appreciation of the government, parliament and people of this country for her majesty's gracious message. We have looked forward with considerable pleasure to our entry into the Commonwealth family. Now that this goal has been achieved, I ask you to convey to her majesty an expression of our unfailing loyalty and devotion to her throne and person. We have been inspired by her good wishes and we pledge ourselves to fulfill the promise expected of us, not only by her majesty, but by all the nations of the world, to show how our small community with its people drawn from many lands of diverse racial origins and subscribing to a variety of religious beliefs can in harmonious cooperation make its contribution to the sum total of world peace, world progress and world happiness. May I conclude by expressing the hope that this visit of yours to our shores, which is not the first will certainly not be the last, and that we shall have on some future occasion the opportunity to display once more the esteem and affection in which you are held by the people of Trinidad and Tobago and to demonstrate to you the contributions which we have set out to make to world democracy and to the defence and protection of human freedom.
The leader of the Opposition Dr Capildeo now speaks:
Dr. Rudranath Capildeo: May it please your royal highness to accept our sincerest thanks from this side of the house for the signal honour you have so graciously bestowed upon us by being present among us on this unforgettable occasion. It is fitting that at this historic moment, Independence is heralded with the adornment and lustre of British parliamentary democracy and that it is dedicated to the British parliamentary tradition. Every such dedication is a barrier which evil minds will have to surmount in order to advance into totalitarian paths. Nevertheless, we enter the future with high hopes and with unbounded confidence in ourselves, we, and the other side of the house.
The ceremony is ended, parliament is inaugurated and independent Trinidad and Tobago has become the fifteenth member of the Commonwealth of Nations. What now are our responsibilities?
Dr. Eric Williams: The first responsibility that devolves upon you is the protection and promotion of your democracy. Democracy means more, much more than the right to vote and one vote for every man and every woman of the prescribed age. Democracy means recognition of the rights of others. Democracy means the equality of all in the eyes of the law. Democracy mean equality of opportunity for all in education, in the public service and in private employment, I repeat, and in private employment. Democracy means responsibility of the government to its citizens, the protection of the citizens from the exercise of arbitrary power and the violation of human freedom and individual rights. Democracy means freedom of worship for all and the subordination of the rights of any one race to the overriding right of the human race. Democracy means freedom of expression and assembly and organization.

All that is democracy. All that is our democracy to which I call upon all citizens to dedicate themselves on this our Independence Day.

This is what I meant when I gave the nation as its slogan for all time: Discipline, Production, Tolerance. Our national flag belongs to all of us, our national coat of arms with our national birds. Inspired therein is the sacred trust of all our citizens. So it is today. Please, I urge you, let it always be so. Let us always be able to say with the psalmist: "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."
Discipline, Production, Tolerance - these are our goals. Discipline, both personal and collective, greater production at all levels, tolerance of the others point of view or religion or social custom.

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"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creationBlessed be my beautiful peopleBlessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

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