Sunday, 23 September 2012

LiTTscapes, a buttress for tourism, entrepreneurship

LiTTscapes, a buttress for tourism, entrepreneurship
First Lady of Trinidad and Tobago,  Her Excellency Dr Jean Ramjohn Richards First Lady of Trinidad and Tobago,  Her Excellency Dr Jean Ramjohn Richards on LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago by Kris Rampersad at LiTTribute to the Republic, at ‘Knowsley’ Port of Spain, September 15, 2012.

This afternoon’s presentations give testimony, once again, to the wealth Demokrissyof talent with which Trinidad and Tobago has been endowed and it is no small thing that our children are a part of this treasure trove.  Their presence and the quality of their participation signal to us that the culture that defines us is alive and well.  It presages, also, that the distinctive features of what identifies us as people of Trinidad and Tobago will not be overwhelmed by other cultures, so long as we continue to appreciate that we have our own brand to offer, first, to ourselves and then to the world.
I say first, to ourselves, because we must take the trouble to understand who we are and have a good understanding of, inter alia, why we do the things that we do; how our dances, songs and rhythms have come about; the influences in our cuisine and how our physical landscape relates to our individual and collective development. Unless we know these things for ourselves, we can neither enjoy who we are, even with a critical eye, nor can we present ourselves, with conviction, to anyone else.
It is not alright to comfort ourselves with the idea that people all over the world do not appreciate their own country. That idea needs serious examination as to truth.  Even if it were so, that is not good enough for us and we must stir ourselves out of the taking-for-granted syndrome and become more familiar with the elements that make us who we are.
Literacy is a critical part of this, if I may say, revolution and, in the thrust to bring as many compatriots on board as possible, the visual has an important role to play.  So do the sounds and the variety of odours that tell us where we are, even without sight. 
I feel certain that all of us here can play and are willing to play a role in this literacy campaign, aimed at discovering or rediscovering ourselves.  We must therefore be careful not to let up in our resolve to make us look at ourselves and see what needs to be done, as we move on from this milestone of fifty years an Independent Nation. 
We must keep on building a people and in this, we must take account of the physical landmarks that rally us behind our history which impels us toward our future.  We have a duty to preserve our historic buildings and therefore we must ensure that public policy take account of our urgings, our sustained urgings, lest we become poor imitations of foreign places, while features of our history crumble around us.
Our water courses, our flora and fauna, must be respected as an intrinsic part of our patrimony.  As I say this, I ask myself, what has become or what is becoming of the buffalypsos?  Are we as mindful of them as we are of the turtles for which we fought a good, necessary and sustained campaign?
And our writers! Writers of poems and prose and history and rapso! Our composers and singers!  They are jewels in our crown.  Let us celebrate them as the necessary social commentators that they are, pointing out what we need to know, sometimes with the craft of subtlety, sometimes overtly, as the case demands.
So much of who and what we are is lying dormant or tucked away in the memories of some of the elders.  The files containing so much that is important to our future development must be dusted off and become an effective instrument for shaping a better time and a better place.  I have no doubt that Littscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago, so well crafted, can be an inspiration to other young writers. It provides a most useful beachhead for stirring or buttressing a programme of self-discovery, local and foreign tourism and entrepreneurship, among a number of other avenues for sustainable development in our country.
I congratulate all of you who participated in today’s programme.  I am sure that I speak for all of us when I say that it is indeed a memorable occasion.  I wish you all a good future.
LiTTscapes is available to local bookshops. For information: email; visit;

No comments:

Post a Comment