10 May 2008

National Watchwords

Discipline, Production, Tolerance

"I have given to the nation as its watch words DISCIPLINE, PRODUCTION, TOLERANCE, they apply as much as to you the young people as to your parents. The discipline is both individual and national.

The individual cannot be allowed to seek his personal interests and gratify his personal ambitions at the expense of a nation. We must produce in order to enjoy. Wealth does not drop from the sky for any individual or any nation. Reduce production, skylark on the job, take twice as long to do a job and make it cost twice as much, do any of these things and in effect you reduce the total amount available to be shared among the total number of people. You don't pull your weight and you fatten at the expense of others… some of you have ancestors who came from one country, some from another, others from a third. Some of you profess one religion, some another, others a third or fourth.

You in your schools have, like the nation in general, only two alternatives. You learn to live together in peace or you fight it out and destroy one another. The second alternative makes no sense and is sheer barbarism. The first alternative is civilised and is simple common sense.

You the children, yours is the great responsibility to educate your parents, teach them to live together in harmony. The difference is not race, or colour of skin, but merit only -difference of wealth and family status being rejected in favour of equality of opportunities.

I call upon all of you young people to practice what you sing today and tomorrow; to translate the ideal of our national anthem into a code of everyday behaviour, and to make our nation one in which every creed and race find an equal place"

Dr Eric Williams, First Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, on the occasion of the Independence Youth Rally at the Queen's Park Oval on August 30th, 1962.