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President Weekes has inspired the nation

The new Head of State inspects members of the armed forces.

Archbishop Charles Jason Gordon told Catholic News in an interview at the inauguration of the new President Paula-Mae Weekes on Monday, that the new President’s call to action was something that he was very pleased with. He said she has “inspired the nation” with her inaugural address. “She hit every right note. She inspired the nation to action and to plan for a future to be different from the present, to work tirelessly towards a future that is good,” he said.

And Anglican Bishop Claude Berkley told Catholic News that the occasion was “a heart-stopping moment” and “a moment of great joy and great pride” for him to see someone who was very active in the church becoming President. He further stated that it was a good example for all the young students who were looking on and “now have something to work towards”.

Praising her spiritual personality, decisions and perspectives in life, he attributed it to her “formation” and said “the moment had arrived” and that she possessed “something of that common touch” that would make her tenure meaningful.

In her address as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Trinidad and Tobago, President Weekes called on the nation to remember that it is a tenet of all religions that light triumphs over darkness and called therefore on all to “search for the light”, “be the light” and “see the light”.

Having discovered that it falls to each President to describe, within limits, his or her own role, she said she has identified her role as humble first servant with a mandate to render service with enthusiasm and therefore she will work to “be the light” shining in the darkness as well.

Finding that her destiny and that of the nation are inextricably linked, Her Excellency said although many persons are calling upon her for meetings, nothing will catch her attention faster than “a man or woman with a plan” to do something positive and cause a positive change in society.

She called on all to be inspired and look for points of light in the good things happening in the nation and to “fear not” for the light is always present. “Every day we can find shining examples of all that is good about us…search them out,” she urged.

She said despite crime and inefficiency from those called to public service, good things are possible for Trinidad and Tobago and each citizen must find ways to make a positive difference and remember what still can be despite all that has gone wrong.

Noting that we all have to choose between being overwhelmed by despair and mobilising forces and resources to step out boldly, she announced that she too has experienced poor services and has been the victim of crime, assuring “I know the state of the State”.

However, continuing her imagery of light she said it is best seen in the dark and it is always darkest just before the dawn so the challenge is to “be light and see light” and to trust that in time “we will reap the benefits of our efforts”.

Using numerous references to scripture, President Weekes said we must not underestimate the value of songs like ‘God Bless Our Nation’ and that in addition to having strength being people of faith and prayer, we must be people of action since “faith without action is useless”.

Deputy Political Leader of the United National Congress, Dr David Lee, said he was pleased to see a woman active in her faith become President. “As a Catholic I am very proud to be here this morning to witness this ground-breaking historic moment as we inaugurate our first female President.” He said on behalf of the Opposition Party he wished the new President “all the best in her job” and based on her first address, he felt she was “on a good footing.”

Further, Dr Lee said electing a female President “augers well for gender equality in Trinidad and Tobago…we also have a female speaker of the house…we have a female President of the Senate…the head of the Opposition…four key office holders in our country all held by females.” – EH