TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REPUBLIC DAY
Trinidad and Tobago became a Republic on August 1st, 1976. The event is celebrated as a publicholiday on September 24th because this is the date when the first Parliament met under the newRepublican Constitution. The date was removed from the official calendar of holidays from 1999 to2001 to make way for the Spiritual Baptist (Shouter) Liberation Day which is celebrated on March30th. The Republic Day holiday was reinstated in 2002.
DEFINITION OF A REPUBLIC
Republic [noun]: A state or nation in which the supreme power rests in all the citizens entitled to vote(the electorate), and is exercised by representatives elected, directly or indirectly, by them, andresponsible to them.
ON BEING A REPUBLIC
When Trinidad and Tobago achieved independence on August 31st, 1962, the monarchycontinued, in that, Her Majesty the Queen remained the Queen of Trinidad and Tobago andall citizens continued to owe allegiance to Her. After many years of being a monarchy, itwas decided that Trinidad and Tobago should no longer be required to owe allegiance to theQueen and should therefore become a Republic having a Head of State in its own right,Trinidad and Tobago became a Republic on August 1st, 1976. The event was celebrated as a publicholiday on September 24th because this is the date when the first Parliament met under the newRepublican Constitution.To bring about such a meaningful and independent status, the conversion of the former Constitutionfrom its character as an Order in Council of the Queen into that of an indigenous instrument of government fashioned by citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, was effected by the Parliament of Trinidadand Tobago enacting the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Act, 1976.The Constitution provides for a President who, in the exercise of his functions under the Constitutionor any other law, acts in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or a minister acting under thegeneral authority of the Cabinet where provision is made by the constitution.The Constitution also provides for the Prime Minister to keep the President fully informed concerningthe general conduct of the government of Trinidad and Tobago and to furnish him with suchinformation as he may request on any matter relating to the government of Trinidad andTobago.A principal feature of the Constitution is the inclusion of a comprehensive set of fundamental human rights and freedoms whereby all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago andminorities are provided with effective safeguards against arbitrary government and acts of the executive or other bodies or authorities which may be inconsistent with the concept of the Rule of Law.These fundamental human rights and freedoms have been entrenched in the Constitution and anyalteration of any of them can only be effected by the consent of effective majorities of both houses of Parliament.In general, the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago creates, fosters and encourages a truly democraticrepresentative government and more particularly the following factors:
Its recognition and acceptance of fundamental human rights and freedoms to be enjoyed byall regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national orsocial origin, wealth, education, status or birth; and the incorporation of adequate machineryfor the protection and enforcement of all rights and freedoms;
The inclusion of adequate checks and balances in the Legislative, Executive and Judicial armsof Government;