Republic Day Message 2017

Republic Day Message from the Organization of Independent Candidates

By Jeffrey Ahamad Khan, Interim Political Leader

Forty three years ago today our forefathers brought forth onto this twin island nation a new republic.  Conceived in the liberty of political independence, we dedicated our nation-building endeavors to the proposition that in Trinidad and Tobago “every creed and race finds an equal place”.

I invite all citizens of this nation; patriots of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to ponder the meaning of those lines from our national anthem.   Has any government, any political party in our national history ever truly embraced and practiced equality of opportunity FOR ALL  when they were in power? Even the NAR and COP which appealed to voters across ethnic and religious lines, never embraced nor were they embraced by the grassroots in society.  The MSJ and it’s predecessors from the labor movement, because they dogmatically disconnect demands for higher wages from falling productivity, prices and profits, cannot win political support from the business sector.

As the people of Trinidad and Tobago extends compassion and generosity to our cousins in Dominica and Puerto Rico we have not been distracted by the scandalous mismanagement of the Port Authorities’ island ferry disservice; alleged corrupt payment of $100 million by Petrotrin to a friend of the Prime Minister for oil and gas that was never delivered.

In the same vein $252 million of tax payers money was recently spent by TSTT in purchasing MASSY Communications.  After now outgoing TSTT Chairman Emile Elias announced the acquisition Cabinet expressed surprise that they had not been consulted nor had they approved such a large expenditure.  Prime Minister Rowley publicly rebuked Cabinet for speaking out of turn.  Probed by the media for details of this transaction, the TSTT Chairman dismissed questions with the cloak of confidentiality.   

Now whether or not this was a good deal for the country or even the company, the contempt with which transparency and accountability in a state enterprise was sacrificed on the altar of business among the boys can never be acceptable in a republic governed by democracy and the rule of law.

So as we celebrate this Republic Day, extending birthday greetings to iconic Calypso Monarch, Leroy Calliste, the Black Stalin, the Organization of Independent Candidates as the nation’s newest political party, we ask you to start thinking critically and acting in the interests of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.   We can demand no less from our leaders.