From Dr Tim Gopeesingh
As children born to the last generation of the East Indian immigrants brought to Trinidad and Tobago from 1845 to 1917, we were heralded by our parents as virtual salvation, the first generation who had a chance to escape the entrenched poverty and systemic discrimination that defined their lives in those Colonial times.
You see, they remembered their own lost childhoods of living in the barracks, waking up as five years old, from as early as 3am, to labour on the sugar cane plantations. They desperately wanted us to escape that fate, and instilled in us all the great values of hard work, discipline, education, and aiming for excellence against all the odds.
So we grew up to thrive in every manner of profession, breaking all the glass ceilings, even as we fought to be respected and treated as equal citizens in the country of our birth. And today, we can say to these pioneering foreparents who indelibly shaped our nation’s economic, social, cultural, and political identity and fortunes:
“Thank you for your unparalleled sacrifice, pain, suffering; for your eternal faith, willpower, strength, and courage to never give up and beat the insurmountable odds of your lifetimes. Your great, selfless labours and indelible contributions were not in vain; this is how far we’ve come and we will continue to go the distance with you as our eternal inspiration.”