Minister Gadsby-Dolly delivers remarks at Sevilla Private Primary School’s African Awareness Day

Tuesday 17th September, 2019

A pleasant good morning. I want to firstly thank the Sevilla Private Primary School for inviting me, and I want to assure you that it is my pleasure to be here with you, and to be present for different occasions around the country where our culture and heritage are being celebrated. It is always very important for us to take a step back and look at who we are. This is an important part of our growth and development as a country, and it always my pleasure to be invited to events such as these, especially if our younger generation is involved. When we celebrate like this we pass on that message to them, and this is a very important part of knowledge transfer. This has to happen in Trinidad and Tobago if we are to live together as a peaceful society. Therefore I extend congratulations to the Sevilla School, the Board, and teachers for putting forward this event for the benefit of our young people.

Our African heritage is one of the most prolific chapters in Trinidad and Tobago’s history. We want for more information to be brought forward for our younger generation about all our heritage issues.

This country’s wealth of cultural educators, activists, calypsonians, NGOs and artistes have all worked tirelessly to preserve the African legacy; one that we must fiercely protect for generations to come.

Today’s event is a continuation of a great effort to sensitize our population on the invaluable contributions made by the African community. Calypso, stick fighting, moko jumbies, dances such as the congo, bélé, and limbo; all of these bear the African heritage. This is among the plethora of cultural strands gifted to us by our African ancestors. Our literary, political, educational, and sporting disciplines have also benefitted tremendously from a strong presence of the African voice.

Trinidad and Tobago is indeed fortunate to have this legacy deeply interwoven in its multicultural fabric; and we are even more fortunate to be able to freely immerse ourselves in each other’s cultural offerings.  

Therefore today as we celebrate African awareness, we look forward to more awareness celebrations around our country in areas where this is not traditionally celebrated. Likewise, we look forward to the celebration of all of our different heritages. We are indeed blessed in Trinidad and Tobago to have so many heritage groups coming together to make our nation what it is. It is important for us not just to be tolerant, as the MP says, but to love the different cultures, and understand them so that we continue to live in peace and harmony, which baffles many visitors to Trinidad and Tobago who often wonder how we can live together in peace when we all have our different identities.

It is because in our watchwords, we have the word “tolerance” as one of these words. We have grown to love all different cultures of Trinidad and Tobago. So again, I congratulate the Sevilla Private Primary School and all contributors who made this event possible and I look forward to other schools making this a priority to celebrate all aspects of our culture.