Video published by: TV6T&T | Transcribed by Guanaguanare
Thank you Party Chairman, Mr. Franklin Khan, party officers, and I'd like to start with recognising among our deputies, Deputy Political Leader (Policy), Mr. Rohan Sinanan and I usually don't do that but tonight I must do that - introduce Deputy Political Leader (Policy), Mr. Rohan Sinanan, because one of the big issues in this election that we have just won is that we had no policy but we had Deputy Political Leader Sinanan and Deputy Political Leader (Policy) and campaign managers for the 2015 elections...............................................................................................................................
The information that we have available to us at the various constituencies indicate, party officers, members, supporters, fellow citizens, that we of the People's National Movement have been passed an awesome responsibility. For me it is a very humbling experience to have had the opportunity firstly to lead the PNM, to take responsibility for the country's opposition, to lead our party into what has been one of the most grueling elections in the history of our country and coming out of it victorious tonight.
I am humbled and I am very grateful. I must give thanks to our organisation, the PNM, for keeping its shape and holding its contact with the Opposition, not losing faith when things didn't look too bright but having this abiding principle - that we of the PNM, we are not a political party in the narrow sense of the word, in the ordinary sense, but rather we are a rally for all the people of Trinidad and Tobago coming together, fighting for the common good and I think this election in our 60th year demonstrates that the PNM can keep its shape.
Five years ago in this very same place, a completely different mood overtook us. We were down but we were never out. We knew that we were always the party of the long haul and sometimes the runner stumbles and even when the runner falls, the tape is always on his mind.
Our organisation allowed itself to be modernised. Our screening committee, our executives across the country all forty one, our membership opened up the minds to accept new ways of doing things, to accept new people and to accept new responsibilities. and we always said to the people of Trinidad and Tobago, the value of the PNM is to be available to the people of Trinidad and Tobago whenever you need to call on us. And once again, once again, the people of Trinidad and Tobago have called on the People's National Movement.
The majority of our victorious candidates are new to the parliament of Trinidad and Tobago and many of them are new to my leadership and some of them are even new to the party but I want to give the country the assurance that all of us, new and old, young and not so young, we will be guided by the fundamental principles of the People's National Movement and the constitution of Trinidad and Tobago.
Throughout our campaign, we have made it quite clear to the population that these are not the times of milk and honey. There are difficult times ahead. It's like going down the river and I am telling you that there are rapids ahead, there is rough water ahead. There are whitewater sections ahead but if we navigate them successfully, there is calm water ahead.
It is my view, as I have expressed before, that our country is not a basket case. We have a fair amount of resources, we have a resilient people particularly a large body of young people who are looking for a future from our country. We will succeed not basically on who is in office or who won the elections, but more importantly, how we behave as a people in treating with the challenges ahead
Tonight, tonight is a wedding. A wedding is a feast, it's a fete, good speeches abound. The wedding is the beginning. It is the living that matters. Let's live together in harmony.
And as I said throughout the campaign, what we are striving for and what will hold us together - we have to take, at the individual level, responsibility for ourselves and say that we are our brother's keeper. And if we commit to that, nobody in this country will go hungry while others go overweight. We are all in this together.
And having said that, and speaking from the platform of the party that has won the election, I want to say to the members and supporters of the UNC, tonight your party has tasted defeat. We, of the PNM, can tell you the taste of that brew but I want to say to you that when this country has passed responsibility to the PNM, it is not we versus them. We are all in this together. And while we form the government, you of the UNC, you will form the Opposition but we all expect you to act as a part of the government because your responsibility is awesome. And if we accept that we are all in this together, Trinidad and Tobago, all of us will come out of our difficulty together.
We need to respect each other, we need to empathise with each other, we need to feel for each other and tonight is our night to celebrate but it is not the country's night to feel that there is depression around. All of us must claim, all of us must claim the value of having participated in a national election, behaved properly. I have heard of no major incidents, I have heard of no violence, I have heard of nothing that will make us ashamed and I think that we all should all be proud - every person, every candidate, every political party, we all should be proud that once again, Trinidad and Tobago has risen to the occasion as expected by our founding fathers.
So PNM, you will see us taking responsibility. You will see us believing in our national anthem - in this country every creed and race finds an equal place. And in this country, I don't have to invent anything for you, we have boundless faith in our destiny. Regardless of where we are within these shores, if we believe in that boundless faith in our destiny, you might be a water carrier today but your son or your brother might be carrying with him or her the cure for cancer which we can discover in Trinidad and Tobago. Somewhere in this crowd and somewhere within our shores is an Olympic gold medalist either in primary school or in secondary school. Somewhere within our borders is probably the best accountant or the best auditor in the world.
Not all of us might believe the same way, to the same extent, but let all of us believe in the dream. Some of us are cynical, some of us are just naive but all of us are citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
Under my stewardship, I will make every effort to rekindle the feeling of nationalism in Trinidad and Tobago. We have to understand that we are a nation and all of us should be proud that we are citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
I can say to you, whenever I travel abroad, it always impresses me, whether I go to New York, to London, to... wherever I go, and there are Trinidad and Tobago citizens, I get the impression that they are more nationalistic than those of us who are at home. We have to change that. We will make a deliberate effort to change that and we will start with the schools curriculum. We are going to interfere with the curriculum of the schools in Trinidad and Tobago to ensure that our children understand what this country means to us. And once we do that, once we do that and instill into them, starting in the primary school, by the time they get to the secondary school and they get into their twenties and their thirties I wouldn't have to be talking like this because I wouldn't be here but the foundation would have been laid.
A lot of people have contributed to this victory tonight and if I start to thank, I am sure I am going to leave out some very important persons. So I will make one general thank you to the people in the PNM who came to the fore, many of whom, many of whom, we didn't see eye to eye in the beginning and that was important because we don't all have the same head but it fell to me to convince them to follow me and tonight I am happy that most did.
Because I am not the leader of my friends in the PNM. I was the leader of every member of the PNM and as Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, while I would have come from the PNM, I am not the Prime Minister of the PNM. I will be the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
And finally, I want to admit to you, it hasn't been easy, it hasn't always been easy but I always knew that no matter how rough it was outside, when I got home I had the loving arms of my wife Sharon and my two daughters and behind me, the Rowley clan. I don't take a vote at home because you know who is going to lose it so I usually humble myself and allow good sense to prevail. So tonight, I want to thank my wife and my daughters and all my family for standing with me because when it looked as if the hurdles were too high to cross, they helped me over by ensuring that there was a place of peace, quiet and love and I've shared that.
Somewhere in this crowd, somewhere in this crowd I have a friend from Barbados, Peter, who just came in tonight, he's somewhere in there, no, not that Peter, another Peter. Because we have a lot of family and friends in Barbados and Peter has come in and I want to say to Peter, welcome and thank you very much for coming.
And I want to say that this is not, this is not a simple situation. Today is a historic day. When we change government as easily as we do, we must, we must allow ourselves to focus on the seriousness of the situation but tonight at Balisier House and across Trinidad and Tobago, tonight is a night for celebration. Let us celebrate. Let us celebrate. Permit me one more time to say, Great is the PNM!. But let us say louder, Great is Trinidad and Tobago! Great is Trinidad and Tobago! Great is Trinidad and Tobago and may Almighty God continue to bless us!
Thank you very much!
"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 creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.
Mweh ka allay!