The story of the first Christmas is one which never fails to inspire mankind; Christians and Non-Christians alike. Many meaningful lessons of life continue to be learnt from the story of the birth and circumstances of Christ even as we still debate the actual day of the event.
In essence, the story tells of the parents Joseph and Mary, seeking lodgings in Jerusalem but finding no room. A kind innkeeper offered them shelter in the stable and Jesus was subsequently born in a manger. Even at his humble arrival, three kings from the east were following the star which hovered directly over the place where the child was born. These kings came to visit bearing valuable gifts in recognition of the Saviour.
It is from this story that many believe the Christmas custom of gift-giving was derived. We look forward to exchanging gifts with our friends and loved ones and many of us make an extra effort to give to those less fortunate than ourselves around this time. These gestures of love and appreciation go a long way to remind us that we are our brothers’ keeper and that the goodness within us all will see us through whatever challenges life holds out to each and everyone of us. Over the years, some people have argued that we have lost the true meaning of Christmas and contend that the focus is now, for the most part, on materialism and commercialism. While this may be so we must never give up on the true meaning and spirit of Christmas as embodied in love for each other and hope for a brighter and better future for all.
It is my sincerest hope that despite the unfortunate fact that the true meaning and spirit of Christmas may be lost to some, most of us here in Trinidad and Tobago hold true to it. And so, as we join the rest of the world in celebrating during this Holy Season I take this opportunity to wish all my fellow citizens of this blessed nation A very Merry Christmas and a Bright and Prosperous New Year.
Dr Keith Rowley
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December 5, 2013
Port of Spain
I have heard it said that it takes much more courage to live than to die. Today, on hearing of the passing of former President of South Africa Mr Nelson Mandela, I reflected on this saying and almost immediately realised that for an extraordinary man like Mr Mandela, for whom courage was virtually a way of life and whose courage changed South Africa and indeed the whole world forever, it would take just as much courage to die as it would have taken to live.
We, here in Trinidad and Tobago, solemnly join with family, friends and the nation of South Africa in deeply mourning this enormous loss. Without a doubt, South Africa with, the world has become poorer as a result of the passing of this iconic leader and freedom fighter.
As we face this loss we cannot help but reflect on the calibre of leadership demonstrated by Nelson Mandela. We will do well to hope and pray that present and future leaders here in Trinidad and Tobago and indeed the world over strive to emulate his sterling example and be instruments of peace, harmony and positive development for all those who look to us for leadership.
From the leadership and members of the People’s National Movement I express deep and sincere condolences to the Mandela family and the nation of South Africa. May he rest in Peace.
Dr Keith Rowley
"Mr. Speaker I rise to associate myself and those of us on this side with the sentiments expressed on behalf of the people of Trinidad and Tobago by the hon. Prime Minister.
Mr. Speaker, there are some times in your life when things happen and that the occasion is so monumental that it is virtually indelible, like the day when JFK was killed, one can remember exactly—at least I know I can remember where I was standing when I received the news on the radio. And today I can tell you I feel the same way about receiving the Humanity, Mr. Speaker, has been around for a long time, and every so often, one human being rises to the occasion to lift the rest of us to a level beyond even our own expectation. You have the likes of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Churchill, and now Nelson Mandela. And it is against that background, Mr. Speaker, that we note today the passing of this great man. A man who must have been driven by his own personal revulsion of apartheid—at the personal level, experiencing all aspects of that management of his country, and must have rejected it personally, and But then, Mr. Speaker, represented not only himself in this rejection, but rejected it on behalf of his community, the trans sky, and later on understood that he had to be rejected at the national level and that a South Africa without apartheid was possible.
Mr. Speaker, in our lifetime that rejection and that human spirit of lifting all of us, lifted the world when apartheid was broken, and Nelson Mandela was set free. It took great courage to have rejected freedom for himself, not once but many times after years in prison, but standing for all of us saying that: No Mr. Speaker, the names I mentioned earlier on, in the same breath as Mandela’s all fought for that holy grail of freedom, and if there is anything, Mr. Speaker, that we should take of Mandela’s legacy, is the appreciation and role of this thing called “freedom” in our own existence, because without it, we may not recognize ourselves. All the greats fights of humanity were about freedom, and Nelson Mandela symbolized a way of fighting for freedom without losing one’s own self in the process.
So, Mr. Speaker, for this great man who was so selfless and so courageous, to stay all these years in prison, and would not budge unless there was unconditional release, against the background of the horrible death of Steve Biko, against the oppression of the might of the South African army. He understood that one day like Martin Luther King, he would overcome and overcame he did, Mr. Speaker, for all of us, that is why Nelson Mandela does not belong to South Africa. As we mourn his loss and we associate with the sentiments of South Africans, Nelson Mandela does not belong to South Africa, he belongs to the human race and he was the best that was ever produced.
Mr. Speaker, we extend our condolences to the people of South Africa, but we acknowledge with gratitude his sacrifices, and we should undertake to always honour and treasure his legacy, and we can simply say in his passing, thank you, thank you, Nelson Mandela, on behalf of all the people of Trinidad and Tobago, all of us in this House, simply say, thank you, Nelson Mandela."
December 3rd 2013
Leader of the Opposition Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley today advised President Anthony Carmona to revoke the senatorial appointments of two PNM senators, namely, Mrs Penelope Beckles-Robinson and Mr Fitzgerald Hinds with effect from 12:00 PM tonight, Tuesday 3rd December 2013. A vacancy in the Senate already existed through the departure of Mr Terrance Deyalsingh who now sits in the Lower House for the Constituency of St Joseph.
As such, His Excellency was also advised by Dr Rowley to appoint Mrs Camille Robinson-Regis, Mr Avinash Singh and Mrs Diane Baldeo-Chadeesingh to fill the PNM vacancies in the Upper House. Mrs Robinson-Regis will be Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate.
Office of The Opposition Leader
Port Of Spain