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55 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE & 41 YEARS A REPUBLIC

Published: 
Sunday, October 8, 2017
OUR HEROES & PIONEERS…

Recently, September 24th marked the 41st anniversary since T&T achieved Republic status in 1976. Prior to that, on August 31st our nation celebrated 55 years of Independence from Britain. In celebrating these anniversaries we remember those heroes and pioneers who have contributed to the development of Trinidad and Tobago.

For a county like ours to have reached where it has today, through the periods of being “discovered,” fought for, “settled” upon, slavery, indentureship, labour movements, the joining of Trinidad with Tobago in 1889, to its Independence in 1962 and the more modern era, involved many heroes and pioneers. For example, during the early years from around the 1770s until the early 1900s, such heroes, pioneers and role models included Roume de St. Laurent (profiled below), Gros Jean, John Jacob Thomas, Jonas Bath and Emmanuel Mzumbo Lazare, important people who have faded into history and some of you probably have never heard about.

The heroes and pioneers of Trinidad and Tobago are those who have made significant contributions to our country’s development (essentially while based here). Such individuals include some of the colonial governors and our nation’s modern leaders, as well as those in the various fields of human endeavour: agriculture, business, community social work and volunteerism, culture and the arts, economics, education, environment, fashion and beauty pageants, law, medicine, oil, politics, public service, radio and television, religion, science, engineering and architecture, sports, trade unionism, writing, journalism and newspapers.

PHILIPPE-ROSE ROUME DE ST LAURENT (1743-1805)

Grenadian-born, he first visited Trinidad from Grenada in 1777, expelled by the British and invited by the Spanish, who wanted people to settle here in Trinidad. Interesting for someone having loyalties to France!

Being a lover of nature he felt that Trinidad was the place for him since no development had yet taken place. He was amazed by its beauty, its fertile soil, its flora and fauna.

He then invited the French people of Grenada to come to Trinidad after presenting a proposal to the Spanish to provide encouragement to them. He then had to go to Spain where he met with King Charles III, who accepted his proposal and a cedula was declared for the settlement and development of Trinidad in 1783.

Therefore, it was because of him that Trinidad was put on the road to development and much of the customs and culture of our people all point to that historic moment when Roume first set eyes on Trinidad.

He finally settled with his family in Diego Martin and later was made the joint administrator of Tobago. There are three documents from his time in Tobago at the West Indiana and Special Collections Division at UWI.

Profiles on our heroes & pioneers can be obtained from the free downloadable e-book at http://www.safaripublications.com/firstcitizenstt/heroesprofilestt/ …approximately 370 individuals are profiled in the various categories.

NASSER KHAN