The idea of building a bridge over the Caribbean Sea to connect Trinidad with Tobago is not a new one.
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Warao blood in Carmona’s veins
President Anthony Carmona said his DNA is “inextricably bound” to the First Peoples as his paternal great-grandparents were Waraos, Amerindians from the Orinoco Delta in Venezuela.
In a message for the First Peoples holiday today, Carmona said he felt a deep sense of connection and bond to the culture and this had informed his public support for recognition of the inalienable rights of the First Peoples.
By declaring October 13 a national holiday, T&T has made a profound statement of genuine inclusivity for all, he said.
“It is a belated attempt, in some measure, to right the wrongs of the past and to confer due and equitable recognition to this Republic’s indigenous demographic. The First Peoples of Trinidad and Tobago are an undeniable, integral and revered component of our history, heritage and dynamic, multi-faceted cultural tapestry,” he said.
“In spite of their past afflictions and woes, the First Peoples continue to soldier on in their quest to preserve their cultural heritage and maintain a community way of life that is inspiring and exemplary.”
Carmona commended Chief Ricardo Bharath Hernandez and the descendants of the First Peoples for their enlightening and progressive initiatives to celebrate the occasion over the past few days.
He said a mandate has been given to citizens by T&T’s First Peoples to “lay down our weapons of intolerance, apathy, race and cultural isolationism and indifference and instead nurture a society of compassion, understanding, tolerance and community.”
“We as a nation can learn so much from the traditional value systems of the First Peoples, which placed greater responsibility and ownership of the community rather than oneself. Inherent in the culture and value system of the First Peoples, is respect for Mother Earth, respect for the elderly, respect within families and the institutional wisdom of the old Sage,” the President said.
“The matriarch and the patriarch in First Peoples communities are the repositories of great influence and guidance and their words of wisdom are always sacrosanct.”
Carmona expressed the hope that the First Peoples Heritage celebrations will trigger awareness, sensitivity and knowledge of the indigenous and spiritual traditions, highlight the positives and the importance of the sustainable living practices and engender a revitalisation of the traditional skills associated with indigenous culture.