2022 has been a difficult and challenging year for our nation. It was a year in which our country sadly witnessed one of the worst industrial accidents in our history in which four divers at the Paria Fuel Trading Company, Fyzal Kurban, Kazim Ali Jr, Rishi Nagassar and Yusuf Henry, tragically lost their lives.
2022 was also a year which saw our Constitution come under direct assault, by way of Government and state officials sabotaging the independent selection of a Substantive Commissioner of Police as well as conspiring to undermine the administration of justice in attempting to influence state witness Vincent Nelson.
This year our nation was also ravaged by severe flooding which deeply impacted the lives and livelihoods of thousands of citizens from Diego Martin to Oropouche to Moruga to Caroni to Valsayn. These floods also destroyed infrastructure such as the Manzanilla/Mayaro road which like many of our roads was already suffering from seven years of neglect and poor maintenance.
On top of these serious incidents, citizens in our nation remain affected by rising unemployment, rising food prices, and the rising cost of living.
Tragically, however, 2022 will be remembered as the year in which over 600 of our fellow citizens were murdered, the highest number in a year in our history.
But with a New Year comes the potential for new possibilities. My hope for 2023 is that we all remember that despite the difficult challenges we face as a people, the power to make a positive change is within us. In 2023 let us discard the negative mentality that is being forced upon us that says ‘ things could be worse’. If we accept that apathetic mindset we will constantly lower the bar for ourselves and for generations to come.
In 2023, let us instead say to ourselves ”things should be better”. Let us embrace this mindset that will allow us to rise to the challenge to confront the difficulties we face with courage.
The divers who lost their lives at Paria deserve justice.
Government officials who abuse and undermine our democratic Constitutional values deserve to be condemned and held to account.
Each and every citizen in our nation deserves to live free from fear, in peace, prosperity and security.
Let us make 2023 the year we demand positive change for our nation and discover that we all have the power within ourselves to make it happen. The people of Trinidad and Tobago deserve a better future.
Happy New Year Trinidad and Tobago!
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition
31st December 2022