It is time that Trinidad and Tobago get serious about its political history and the personages who occupied these positions of honour and regality.
I am referring to the concept of establishing Presidential and Prime Ministerial libraries in order that our future generations would fully understand and appreciate what these highly-favoured personalities did to give a new meaning and impetus to our political and governance processes.
In Dr Keith Rowley’s fist term as Prime Minister he harpooned loudly about the establishment of the old Library Building on Knox Street to house the library of our first Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams. The project had started under then Minister of Communications, Maxie Cuffie, but all other projects and programmes and plans, they all suffer natural deaths.
March 2021 marked Dr Williams’ 40th death anniversary, but the project is cold dead as is Dr Williams’ body.
The people of Trinidad and Tobago would like to know what has happened to this project, and some five years later not a word or not a drum is being heard about its existence. Such institutions could trigger a new sense of political awareness, and civic-mindedness.
As a nation, and as a people, we have to know from where we came, where we are at this juncture, and where we are going. I humbly suggest that the establishment of libraries of this kind, would certainly enhance our governing process, and more than likely educate our generation about out historical and political past.
We must not only establish libraries for Presidents, but for our Prime Ministers as well, for they too, more than Presidents, have all played and even more significant role in the governance process.
We could do a great service to our former presidents such as Sir Ellis Clarke, Mr. Noor Hassanali, Mr. A.N.R. Robinson. Mr. George Richards, and Mr. Justice Carmona. Similar accolades should be paid to Mr. George Chambers, Mr. A.N.R.Robinson, Mr. Basdeo Panday, Mr. Patrick Manning, Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Dr Keith Rowley.
The nation should be given the opportunity to review their official papers as they relate to the governance process.
Presidential/ prime ministerial libraries seem to promote a deep understanding of our leadership at the top, and these institutions aim to preserve and provide official access to historical and political materials, avenues for research and create interactive programmes which would educate and inspire. These institutions are repositories for anyone and everyone to scan through.
The University of the West Indies, and as well the University of Trinidad and Tobago could take the lead and encourage students to under take studies of the workings of our presidents and prime ministers, probably new area of study, which would become a much-welcome avenue of academic studies.