I join the rest of the world in remembering the victims of the horrific terrorist attacks on United States of America which took place on Tuesday September 11, 2001, when a series of suicide attacks were perpetrated against the United States.
On that historic, tragic day, 19 operatives from the international militant terrorist group Al Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets bound for the US and engaged in coordinated strikes the areas of New York City and the country’s capital Washington, D.C., when they intentionally piloted two of the planes into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Centre complex, both of which collapsed within two hours, and also voluntarily crashed two more planes into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.
The result of this cowardly, despicable act against a free, independent great nation was the loss of nearly 3000 innocent lives, including the 246 civilians, and 19 hijackers on board the four planes. Fourteen of these victims were born in Trinidad and Tobago who mainly worked in the World Trade Centre at the time.
These Trinidadian-born victims and citizens of our twin island nation were Conrod Cottoy, Reena Sam Dinoo, Winston Grant, Joan Francis, Clara Hinds, Stephen Joseph, Paula Morales, Boyie Mohammed, Jerome Nedd, Oscar Nesbeit, Glenn Neblett, Anthony Portillo, Vishnoo Ramsaroop and Goumatie Thackurdee.
In extending my deepest condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of all the victims of this dastardly attacks, I wish to pay a special honour to the memories of these fellow countrymen and women of Trinidad and Tobago, whose lives were stolen by these despicable acts of violence.
Indeed, their tragic deaths serve as a reminder every year to all of us who live in a Free State that the price of our cherished freedom, of our ideal governing system of democracy, can indeed be a steep one to pay.
These terrorist attacks on the United States were not only an attack on that great nation and its long held traditions of freedom, equality and justice for all, but also an attack on all democracies globally, whose rights to exist are often championed and enabled by the United States and their invaluable assistance to the global world ideal of freedom and equality for every human being.
The fact that these evil terrorist attacks failed to destroy the democratic foundation of the US and that of any other country, and in fact had the effect of strengthening the resolve among the Western World to champion the cherished ideals of democracy remains the unforgettable legacy of all the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Today, I honour their memories and say that as long as freedom continues to reign supreme in countries across the globe, their tragic deaths could and would never be in vain.
I also take this opportunity to extend my ongoing gratitude to the United States, such an important trade and political ally of Trinidad and Tobago, and our best friend and defender in the world, for being the nation that gives small democracies like Trinidad and Tobago the inspiration and hope to ensure that freedom of every human life and humanity for all must always be the order of the day.
May God bless the families of the victims and indeed, the United States and all nations which experienced or are experiencing any assault on its democratic systems with strength, hope and always, a will to prevail in dignity, decency and justice.