Kamla Persad-Bissessar

The following is

Opposition Leader

Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s

New Year’s message:

The year 2020 will undoubtedly remain in our memories for a lifetime.

As we reflect on the past 12 months, we note the many challenges we faced and our response to those challenges.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had severe impacts on our daily lives, ranging from job loses, restrictions in our movement and for some, the unfortunate loss of loved ones.

Currently, thousands of our fellow citizens remain stranded abroad unsure when and if they will return home. I urge the government to fix its broken exemption process, providing clarity, information and support to our citizens stranded abroad as to when they can make their way home.

In the midst of our difficulties, one significant thing that stands out is our unity as a people. When our fellow citizens lost their jobs, others stepped forward to help provide meals and other relief items. When children were left without access to online learning, many good citizens stepped forward to provide devices so that they would not fall behind.

Throughout this pandemic we saw the spirit of the people of our beloved nation—the spirit of kindness, courage, and compassion. The love and support of our friends and families have helped so many to be able to cope this year. We are reminded of what truly matters—time spent with the ones we love.

As 2020 draws to a close, our country is at a crossroads in our history. For over five years, our citizens have faced abysmal governance from the Keith Rowley led government. The problems that affect our nation today are not only as a result of the impact of the pandemic. This PNM administration presided over massive job cuts, rising levels of crime, and severe economic contraction, with no vision or plan. Now is the time for innovative thinking and strategic initiatives to create opportunities for our growth and development, but sadly, this is not forthcoming from this administration.

What is even more disturbing is the attacks by this government on our independent institutions. The judiciary, non-governmental organisations, the media and even private citizens face accusations of treason for daring to question the actions of the government. These are dangerous times for our democracy, and we must remain vigilant. I call on all citizens to continue to demand transparency and equity from the government. I pledge, and I give the assurance that the Opposition that I lead will work diligently to hold the government accountable to the people of our nation.

As we enter a new year, we do so with great optimism and with hope in our hearts. The months ahead will be difficult, and we as a people have many more challenges to face. But we will meet these challenges as we have always done, as one people working together towards a common goal—a stronger Trinidad and Tobago. There is no obstacle that a united nation cannot overcome.

From my family to yours, I wish you a happy, healthy, and blessed 2021.