Trinidad and Tobago is set to celebrate in splendor, as the country observes 50 years as an independent nation on August 31.
Trinidad and Tobago achieved independence on August 31, 1962, and in commemorating this important milestone, the government of Trinidad and Tobago has undertaken to celebrate with a series of initiatives as diverse and vibrant as the people of this twin-island nation.
The festivities for this momentous occasion actually began months in advance with free concerts, shows, and events, including a highly-enjoyable military tattoo hosted by Trinidad and Tobago’s Protective Services and the unveiling of a mural at the International Waterfront Centre in the Port of Spain.
These celebrations, which aim to recognize and commemorate the important events, people, and places that helped shaped this country’s rich and diverse history and heritage, also included the traditional military-type independence parade, which will kick-off at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Trinidad from 8:00 am.
Another major attraction on Independence Day will be the Journey to Jubilee Concert. The massive free cultural concert will kick-off at the Queen’s Park Oval from 6:00 pm and feature performances from Trinidad and Tobago’s major artistes in a variety of genres, including Rikki Jai, Asylum with Fay-Ann and Bunji Garlin, Black Stalin, JMC 3Veni, and Drupatee.
The steelpan, Trinidad and Tobago’s national instrument, will also come into focus with several events being hosted by major bands, including CAL Invaders Steel Orchestra, Carib Woodbrook Playboyz, and Starlift Steel Orchestra.
Several towns and villages will also host their own independence events. The city of San Fernando will host its own fireworks display, and in the Borough of Arima, there will be a parade of floats from 1:00 pm. A “Toast to the Nation” will also be hosted, as a pre-fireworks event in Port of Spain by the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism takes place in the courtyard of the National Academy for Performing Arts.
In the run up to Independence Day, several high-profile events were staged, including a Day of Prayer; a Red, White, and Black Street Parade; the Independence Cultural Show; a re-enactment of the 1962 flag raising ceremony; and the Twenty20 for 50 Cricket Festival, featuring a lineup of high-profile international cricketers.
There was also a highly-anticipated unveiling of the mural at the International Waterfront by the Ministry of Tourism as part of a beautification project in celebration of independence. The mural, conceptualized by master carnival bandleader and artist, Brian Mac Farlane, and sculpted by Ben Gayah, depicts the many different peoples of Trinidad and Tobago and also highlights the nation’s many achievements.
Across the ten images of the mural are the words “Trinidad and Tobago. One Nation. Discipline. Production. Tolerance. Together we aspire. Together we Achieve. Celebrating 50 years. 1962-2012.” The words are a combination of the nation’s watch words and the motto which speaks of a nation progressing not in singular steps but more effectively, together as one people. The words also echo the sentiments of the first Prime Minister, Dr. Eric Williams, when he reminded the citizenry that, “The strength of the nation depends on the strength of its citizens.”
For more information on Trinidad and Tobago’s 50th anniversary celebrations, visit www.tnt50.gov.tt