Trinidad and Tobago recently celebrated 59 years of Independence on August 31, due to the concerted efforts of Dr Eric Williams and his committee leading up to that date in 1962. We are now celebrating our attainment of the status as a Republic, 45 years ago on August 1, 1976, an occasion that we celebrate today September 24, again due to the concerted efforts of Dr Eric Williams and the then government.
Trinidad and Tobago became a Republic on August 1, 1976. The event is celebrated as a public holiday on September 24 because this is the date when the first Parliament met under the new Republican Constitution. It meant that from that date in 1976, T&T no longer owed allegiance to the Queen of England but would have its own Head of State, the President of the Republic.
The conversion of the former Constitution from its character as an Order in Council of the Queen into that of an indigenous instrument of government fashioned by citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, was effected by the Parliament enacting the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Act, 1976.
Being a Republic nation means the supreme power rests in all the citizens who are entitled to vote (the electorate) and that power is exercised by representatives elected, directly or indirectly, by them and who are responsible to them.
When T&T became a Republic Sir Ellis Clarke served as the nation’s first President, followed by Noor Hassanali, ANR Robinson, George M Richards, Thomas A Carmona and currently Paula-Mae Weekes.
Thoughout our history though many have served and contributed here at home—heroes, pioneers and role models in our nation’s history in their various spheres of endeavour. It is important that, particularly our young people, learn about, appreciate and be inspired by their contributions. Emphasis is placed on those who have spent part of their lives in T&T contributing to our country’s development and enrichment as a nation. History if not recorded will be lost to time. Here are just some, profiles all of whom and more can be obtained from the free e-book download at http://epub. safaripublications. com/profiles/: