Text of Trinidad and Tobago’s PM Kamla Persad-Bissesar delivered at TML:
“Thank you very much for inviting me , and for the opportunity to be able to join with you this evening, where we were able to offer prayers and break fast together. This evening I would like us to reflect on the past month of sacrifice and contemplation, as you near the end of the holy month of Ramadan and to share our hopes for the future.
This is an occasion that I have quite looked forward to, as it is my firm belief that the people of our land have over many years been able to learn a great deal from our Muslim leaders and our brothers and sisters. One cannot help but reflect on the core tenets of this period of abstinence, prayer and reflection.
During the holy month of Ramadan, you make personal sacrifices throughout the days, denying yourselves of food and water as a signal of appreciation of them as gifts from Allah.
In this time of sacrifice, you have devoted yourselves to God, and pray for guidance, blessings and spiritual inspiration. And also during this holy month, Muslims dedicate their attention and their deeds to recognizing the plight of the destitute by making provisions for their care, their sustenance and their support.
Such ideal values and religious traditions provide potent guides for all of us in our country, as it reminds us of the need to recognise the blessings we already have, to value the provisions made for us by God, and to share our wealth and our wisdom with our fellowmen.
For people of all faiths in our nation, we have been fortunate to have learned life-principles, moral values and spiritual fidelity from your community, the Muslim community.Here in Trinidad and Tobago, and for millions around the world, Islam has provided solace, peace and strength and is hailed as the fastest growing religion.
Indeed, in Trinidad and Tobago, Islam has blended itself into our diverse national structure of ethnicities, religions, social backgrounds and cultural heritage so much so that many sons and daughters of Islam have risen to provide leadership and to impart their knowledge, especially in times of need. In my own family I have been blessed as my daughter in law comes from a muslim family.
We also recall the late former President, Noor Hassanali, who was seen by many as the embodiment of humility, with a gentle but firm hand, guiding Governments and guiding citizens through his wisdom and warmth.
We also have one of our most memorable political personalities, the Honourable Kamaluddin Mohammed, a former Government Minister and former Caricom Ambassador. At the age of 85, he has not only seen and participated in our nation’s development, but in many ways used his teachings and his own values to influence the prized place we now occupy in the history of the Caribbean region.
Brothers and sisters, it is without doubt that the place that Trinidad and Tobago has arrived at today, in this year of our Golden Anniversary of Independence, has in great part been due to the your influence through the Muslim community and contribution to our national development through prayer, education, social and economic contributions, politics and the direct intervention of Islamic elders.
As with all faiths, today the influence of Islamic principles and teachings form part of our national identity.
It is for these reasons and others that I use this opportunity to thank our Muslim brothers and sisters and ask that as we move forward, together as people, as communities, and as a nation, please continue to give us the benefit of your wisdom, the value of your intervention and the advantage of your invaluable contribution to nation building.
Let me also congratulate the TML for the excellent work you have done in the area of Education.
My Government is committed and dedicated to the words of our national anthem that every creed and race find an equal place.
I bid you Eid Mubarak as I pray that Allah will shower his blessings on our land, and our people.”