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Republic Day message: We must keep up with technological changes -TT PM




By  Sharlene Rampersad /TT Guardian

Petroleumworld 09 24 2021

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says the world is being reshaped by technology and T&T must figure out how to keep up in order to survive.

In his Republic Day message, the Prime Minister said according to predictions, every aspect of human activity in the world will be reshaped in the coming decade. He urged citizens to shift their outlook from “Me to Us.”

“What is required now is that we take a deeper look at the world of the 21st century, with the realisation that some of our present socio-economic and political perspectives are unsuited to the challenges that are emerging,” Rowley said.

He said one of the troubling questions facing governments around the world was how to prevent a fallout in the job market, how to create sustainable jobs and what happens if losses outstrip job creation.

“As our Republic goes forward, this is just one of the many serious considerations which should be in the minds of citizens, because we have to ensure that we are a people, not of unskilled labour, but a people thrusting forward, learning new skills; a people, who, overall, cannot afford to be on the wrong side of this century’s technological divide,” he said.

The Prime Minister also acknowledged the “sad, dark side” of T&T—including crime, social ills, drug abuse, unemployment and the lasting psycho-social effects of the pandemic.

“The past year has been difficult for all of us. We have had to deal with both the effects of the pandemic and the fall in energy prices, which have meant a reduction in revenue,” he said.

But he said citizens should also be grateful for the positives—including the reopening of the economy and a return to our way of life through vaccination.

“Recently, I said that God is on our side, and we needed to be on His side too. Earlier this week, he showed how much he was on our side with the announcement by bpTT that it had begun production from its Matapal gas project, much earlier than expected.”

He said this project is expected to produce between 250-350 million standard cubic feet per day - just about half of what the company produced on average over the past ten years.

“Whilst this does not solve our gas problems, every little bit helps,” he added.

The Prime Minister also cited the new $500 million Marriott hotel project for Tobago, saying it would assist in solving Tobago’s tourism problems.

He said the return to school for vaccinated students and the country’s open borders are also gifts to be cherished and celebrated.

Rowley admitted he was saddened by the way the country has been forced to commemorate this Republic Day.

“Disappointingly, we are still grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which demanded and has extracted so much from us. We have done reasonably well, as a Republic. Scanning the globe, we can cite other Republics, both long-established and former colonial territories, which unlike us have either unravelled or been caught in belligerence and ethnic warfare.”

He said T&T has kept together and claimed some measure of civility and progress but there was much more to be done.

“It is a day like today that we should question ourselves about who we are, our individual roles as citizens, our special obligations to each other, and move to recognise the uniqueness and greatness of our land called Trinidad and Tobago and the melting pot within,” Rowley said.




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