President Weekes: “Be Light and See Light"

On Monday 19th March 2018, Paula-Mae Weekes was sworn in as the sixth president of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and of much historical significance, the first female president.


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She brings to the position 11 years experience at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and 2 decades of experience as a Judge.

Whilst the president’s role in Trinidad and Tobago is quasi-ceremonial in nature, even the symbolic leadership position can do much to inspire and positively influence societal change. At a time when the public is fatigued by years of poor Governmental leadership, people desperately need a symbol of hope and a voice.

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In her inaugural address, she acknowledged the difficult times we were in.

“None of us is blind or foolish enough to deny that Trinidad and Tobago is going through dark times.” 

However, we must “confront the darkness and declare that it will not take over.” 

Her Excellency challenges us “to be light and see light.”

“Even in the midst of the relentless assault on our sensibilities as individuals and as a nation, every day we can find shining examples of all that is good about us. Search them out, encourage and support them in order to spread the glow.” 

She appeals to us to impact practical changes and to grant her three wishes.  

   Make a difference in whatever your sphere or influence 

We are not being asked to move mountains but in our own practical ways, make a positive difference. 

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2)   When disseminating your views on any platform, report responsibly and comment civilly

This is particularly pertinent on social media, which has given a voice to those who might have otherwise been voiceless. She is not asking us to tame our activism but to “dial down the rhetoric while still adding your 2 cents’ worth to the discussion on any issue.”

3)   Be mindful in your use of language

“A soft answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger and that pleasant speech increases one’s persuasiveness. When we have the inevitable differences of opinion we can do so without the savagery, the ad hominen attacks, the gratuitous insults.”

 Her Excellency implores us to apply this in our schools, markets, business places, rum shop and in our homes.

 “The climate of violence is not created or even birthed in overt acts, it’s embedded in everyday talk, in commonplace interactions.”

We have to change Trinidad and Tobago at all levels of society. Let’s not give up hope. Let’s choose to be lights in the darkness.

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 We thank Her Excellency for her inspirational speech and we wish her well on this new journey   


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© Stefan Roach 2013