Greetings at the National Junior Parang Festival 2017

It is a pleasure for me to be here with you this morning. As your representative of NPATT said this, this is the future of parang and parang we all know is a very important part of our cultural landscape. And when we have young people involve in our cultural landscape, involve in taking their identity seriously and participating at this level, it is somewhere I will love to be.

I have two daughters who attend Bishop Anstey in Port of Spain and I will tell you that they are also very avid parranderos and when the time comes around for inter-house parang in the school, our house is alight with them singing and dancing to remember all of their words. Coming here this morning to see the young parranderos, participating, performing and really enjoying what is the culture of Trinidad and Tobago it is a very pleasant experience; and so I am privileged to be part of it and to be here to see the young groups really take their place on centre stage, making their presence felt in Trinidad and Tobago and keeping up with our cultural identity and heritage.

I want to congratulate the organisers of today’s event, because I know over the years it would have not been easy in order to ensure that things are planned and executed in the way in which you wanted it to. I want to give NPATT a very large round of applause because it is through our young ones that our culture will stay alive.

I want to make a special plea to the young persons who are here today. Our country is a special place, we have our unique cultural practices and I applaud you for taking the effort to learn to practice, I know it would have been a lot over the time but I am sure it would have been enjoyable, though it would have been hard work and I want to encourage you to keep participating and indulging yourself in our particular culture. In Trinidad and Tobago, one of the things that face us is that we are losing our young people to cultural norms of other countries. Everyone goes away, everyone looks at cable and so our young people are losing the essence of what it means to be Trinidadian and Tobagonian. And so, by your involvement in today’s programme and other programmes like this, it shows that you are interested in our particular and unique culture and I want to encourage you to encourage your friends, your family members to do the same. Because if we do not love this country that is ours, I do not know who we expect to love it.

I am very happy to be here, very proud of all of you and I am sure as I sit and take in some of today’s proceedings I will dancing and swaying as it is possible not too when you hear parang being played. I salute you and congratulate you and I look forward to a wonderful day proceedings. God bless you and I hope that you will sing out with all your heart and at the end of the day no matter who comes out successful as the winner, all of you would have won and Trinidad and Tobago would have won for ensuring that our young people have taken part in this most positive engagement.