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Trinbago at 51: De view from East Orange.

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August 31, 2013 by Fensic

Ah have ah experiment fuh any Trini wid plenty money, is ah doubtin’ Thomas an’ on top ah dat, have time tuh waste.

Take ah map ah de world. De round one dat you could spin or de big one dat could take up ah whole wall. Close yuh eye an’ point yuh finger tuh any place on de map.

Open yuh eye an’ read de name ah dat place. Jump on ah CAL plane an’ fly dey. Walk arong lil bit wid yuh two ears open. Yuh hear dat driftin’ from dong de road? Yuh know it anyplace. Is ah Trini accent.

De experiment eh fixed cause was your finger dat point, buh do it over eef yuh want. Is your time an’ money an’ CAL go like flyin’ yuh all over de world. Or yuh could just believe mih when ah say it have Trinis all over de place. All over.

August 31st special too in all dem places. Even eef it only have two poor souls singin’, “Forged from de love ah liberty” on dat big day.

East Orange in New Jersey, USA not one ah dem lonely places.

Fuh 2013 de city had ah de annual flag raising ceremony tuh mark Trinbago independence. Seven years in ah row now it doin’ dis.

In front ah City Hall an’ before all kind ah Trinis, includin’ Trinis tuh de bone, dey does put ah Trini flag below de American flag on de same pole an’ raise both ah dem up in de air. De Trini flag does be dey fuh ah week doin’ what ever de American flag doin’. Eef it wavin’ like it mad, de Trini flag wavin’ mad too. Eef it dey droopin’ de Trini flag sad too. When dem Trinis dat David Rudder tork about look up at dem two flag imitatin’ one anudder, dey does have tuh feel someting in dey heart.

I know dat fuh sure.

Ah bet over de week dat de Trini flag up dey, Trinis parsin’ by does stop tuh look up an’ watch. After it geh take dong, ah bet dey does still slow dong an’ look up, hopin’.

In my bigger picture I wonder who flag follow fashion.

Anyways, ah get mih hands on dis year’s opening speech. De Trini dat give it only too glad tuh share dis.

Good evening and welcome to everyone.

Thanks for coming out to be part of this celebration of the 51st anniversary of Trinidad and Tobago’s independence.

Let us start by thanking the leaders of East Orange for making possible this annual flag-raising occasion that marks the beginning of our celebration.

While East Orange is now home to many with Trinbago connections, those of us born in T&T will continue to be deeply connected, for as David Rudder described, we are “Trini to the bone”.

It is the ‘home’ that evokes memories of another time and place, not to be confused with our adopted home. We know both anthems by heart. Each stirs up different emotions within us that leave us pleased as punch au cream. Whenever the US plays T&T in anything, no matter for which home we cheer, we always win.

Last year, when we celebrated the 50th  anniversary, we were in part affirming that Trinidad and Tobago, as a nation, had entered its teenaged years.

That teenage status has been reaffirmed by the tumultuousness of this past year – teenager and tumultuous, or in Trinispeak, ‘bacchanal’, go together like crab and callaloo.

This year’s celebration, like celebrations in the past and those yet to come, allows us to take a deserved timeout from the heated debates and intense familial squabbles that limit our view of the big picture.

That pause to step back from the trees, lets us decide if the country is still making progress.

Some Trinis will most likely use the opportunity to start another animated discussion. For those not so inclined, a lens’ adjustment is all that is needed to see that bigger picture.

With lens adjusted, we will see that the nation – the teenager, is learning life’s lessons, albeit painfully. Soon, a new adult nation will be replacing the nation-child.

Those who cannot see progress should review their lens and remember one thing: If no one had originated the expression, “democracy is messy”, it would have been eventually penned with Trinidad and Tobago in mind.

Even if we did not pause once a year at this time, all would not be lost.

President Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona would see to it as he has shot out of the gate since being sworn in as president, indicating in no uncertain terms his willingness and ability to be the conscience of the nation. His inaugural speech and the latest one to parliament are proof of this.

No honest discussion of the past year can be complete without reference to the plague of serious crime in Trinidad and Tobago.

I am sure that each of us in the Diaspora who can remember yesteryears growing up in T&T is concerned about this debilitating issue.

It calls for all of us to redouble our efforts, our prayers or whatever else we can offer, in the hopes that the cure will be found.

Would it not be fantastic if next year’s anniversary celebrations, right here, could make reference to this issue, but in the past tense?

We all are seeing history in the making as revisions to the political landscape work their way out.

The process is naturally slow and most likely this time next year, we will still be guessing what the terrain will be like and who controls the high ground.

It is always fascinating when one has a front row seat to the making of history. But, we have to see it through those adjusted lens.

Because of one Jehue Gordon, no lens are needed to see and laud his efforts as he brought home gold for T&T in the recent 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow.

His effort and his victory brought a smile to the face and hope to the heart of this one Trini. He would have enjoyed it even more if during the rejoicing, he had not suddenly gotten something in both eyes that made them water.

…..What are the chances….

Jehue’s showing of what is possible by and from Trinidad and Tobago, as long as one is prepared to give it one’s all, is a suitable way to end these remarks.

Trinidad and Tobago is finding its sea legs as a nation. Jehue is the youngest runner to win the 400 meters hurdles – he is a youngster in other words.

How appropriate that a youngster is showing his teenaged country what can be achieved once those sea legs become sturdy and the desire to be the best refuses to die or be compromised.

It is a most timely example of the meaning behind those words on Trinidad and Tobago’s Coat of Arms – “Together We Aspire, Together We Achieve”.

Let us always remember, not just once a year.

May God bless Trinidad and Tobago.

We like de flag too!


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