Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Monday issued the following statement on the occasion of the Independence of India and Pakistan:
“The United National Congress extends best wishes and joins the people of Pakistan and India as the two countries celebrate the 69th anniversary of Independence.
India was one state under the British but on the attainment of independence in 1947 two sovereign states were created.
Tens of thousands of our citizens have a connection to the ancestral homeland through our shared history of British colonialism.
During the period of Indian indentureship (1845-1917) more than 143,000 Indians arrived in Trinidad to work mainly on sugar plantations. While many were repatriated tens of thousands chose to remain in the colony and make Trinidad their home.
They recreated the communities they left behind, preserving their culture through language, religion and customs that were alien to the host culture.
Most of the Indians who came to Trinidad were trying to escape very harsh economic and social conditions at home. They came with dreams and great hope to find a better life for themselves and future generations.
Through their resilience and determination, they achieved success and settled in their new home where their descendants have moved from the periphery to the centre and risen to the nation’s highest offices in our country.
Those of us who are have Indian ancestry have not only preserved a rich and ancient heritage, we have also helped build a modern democratic state in which all of us live in harmony and celebrate our diversity.
Today, we continue to have shared interests in religion and culture as well as commerce. We have always enjoyed a friendly relationship with both states and look forward to that growing in the years ahead.
On behalf of our party, and on my own behalf, I extend congratulations to Pakistan and India on their independence.”
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP