For Republic Day this year, the Catholic News Team dug into its archives and stumbled upon our Editorial from September 26, 1976! CALLED TO BE ALIVE AND FREE was written by Alvin Corneal.
Returning recently from a six-week stint in East Germany, our popular Sports columnist Alvin Corneal said he was glad to be back home and feeling free. Living in that Communist country was an unforgettable experience with the clockwork efficiency of all public services, the almost total elimination of social evils and criminal offenses and the idolatrous dedication to the State.
And yet, there was something lacking, something which denied one full, personal development. It could be felt in the tension of knowing that one was always being watched and controlled; it could be seen in the impersonal behaviour and robot-like responses of people who had long sold their souls to the State. Alvin defines it as the freedom to choose a career in life, to be oneself.
On this long weekend let us count our blessings and be grateful without being complacent. Our General Elections have been free as well as incident-free. We would have felt better with a larger voting electorate, but the ruling PNM Party now has a stronger mandate from the people to govern. They must not betray this trust and must pledge themselves to protect the rights of each citizen (even those who vote for them) as well as national interests.
We are grateful for a stronger Opposition which hopefully will keep the Government on its toes and occasionally rock it back on its heel. While the ULF members have a “shocking pink” look about them and no honest-minded citizen would want our country to go Communist, there are valid elements in Socialism that could neutralise extreme right-wing tendencies in the ruling party.
Appropriately, Crusoe’s Isle will be re-explored by Robinson [ANR], who with his DAC partner (surely to be known as “Friday”) will no doubt leave lasting footprints on the sands of time.
On Friday we had our first official Republic Day and our Parliament convened. We are proud and loyal citizens. On Saturday, the Prime Minister celebrated his 65th birthday. We congratulate him, but remind him that since he has not declared his assets, he cannot apply for Old Age Pension! As in the sequence of anniversaries, may he always put the needs of the Republic before his own personal ambitions.
Finally, the Muslim celebration of Eid-Ul-Fitr tomorrow, Monday, makes real the words of our Anthem, “Here every creed and race find an equal place”. May it always be so and may we always enjoy the basic freedoms to grow and to become what God wants us to be.
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