As the rains briefly paused yesterday afternoon at about 3.30 pm, Persad-Bissessar, dressed in a full-length yellow dress with metallic green, arrived. Crowds gathered had huddled together under the sheltered area of the eastern stand of the complex, the large uncovered tarmac was empty.
Other persons present made speeches including the chairman of the Emancipation Support Committee Khafra Kambon, Minister of the Arts and Multi-Culturalism Winston “Gypsy”Peters, and Nigeria High Commissioner Musa John Jen. Then, Persad-Bissessar was introduced to make her speech.
But the Prime Minister, who came centre-stage to cheers and standing ovations from some sections of the crowd, opted not to deliver a formal speech. “There is no mother Africa,” she said. “There is no mother India. There is no mother China. But there is grandmother Africa, grandmother India, grandmother China. There is always mother Trinidad and Tobago. So we go together.”
The Prime Minister then ordered, “Run the track DJ!” The empty seats on the tarmac were suddenly filled, a crowd of men and women, fully decked in African-inspired garb, gathered at the front of the stage as Persad-Bissessar edged closer and closer to them, coming right up to the edge. The DJ then played, on cue, Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”.
As the Prime Minister sang along, she held a microphone into the crowd. When the track was done, she said, “Thank you. We are not done yet. One more. Let’s see if they can find it. Can the DJ give us one more? Let’s see what else the DJ has. DJ! ‘One Love’!”
It was a track the DJ did not have. And so Peters, who is by night also an extempo champion, began to sing “One Love” a capella, to cheers from the crowd. In mid-song he enthused, “this is the first time Trinidad and Tobago ever had a Prime Minister who would come on stage and sing with you and entertain you. That is what it is all about!”
Persad-Bissessar ended her “address” by saying, “may God bless you. May God bless our nation. Thank you very much.”