HomeTrinidad and TobagoStatement delivered by Senator the Honourable Dennis Moses, Minister of Foreign and...

Statement delivered by Senator the Honourable Dennis Moses, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs on the occasion of the National Day of the French Republic.


It is an honour and a
privilege for me to join you this evening and to partake in this auspicious
occasion, the celebration of the French National Day – Bastille Day. On behalf
of my Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley, and the Government and
People of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, I bring congratulatory greetings
to the Government and People of the French Republic on this special occasion.

The significance of the
fourteenth (14th) of July 1798 continues to ring true today: the
storming of the Bastille two hundred and twenty-eight (228) years ago was a
defining moment of the French Revolution, triggering the start of a new democratic
era for France. Today, French dynamism remains alive and well and French
influence has an extensive reach around the world.

Here in Trinidad and
Tobago, our countries’ intertwined histories have left traces of French
influence in aspects of our culture, our architecture and even linguistically
and in the names of different localities throughout our country. French
settlers who arrived in our islands during the seventeenth (17th)
and eighteenth (18th) century were instrumental in the development
of our agricultural sector, planting and cultivating sugar, coffee and even cocoa,
for which Trinidad and Tobago remains world famous today.

Trinidad and Tobago shares
exemplary bilateral relations with France since the establishment of diplomatic
relations in 1962. We have had the opportunity to collaborate in a wide range
of sectors including health, water management, aviation, construction and crime
and security. We have witnessed the development and construction of major
infrastructural projects in our country under the guidance of French expertise:
the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex; the Churchill Roosevelt
Highway/Uriah Butler Highway Interchange; and the International Waterfront
Complex, where my Ministry has made its home.

There has also been
significant engagement in the area of education, through various programmes and
projects such as the language assistant programme, training courses offered to
French teachers and university partnerships, allowing for meaningful exchanges that
benefit students, educators and others in both our countries. The Alliance Française, too, remains a
pillar for French language and culture, offering both classes and a programme
of events that bring French film, music and food to the public.

In recent years, our
country has made its presence known through a number of ventures, particularly
in the creative industries. In July 2014, a local group including fashion
designers, soca artistes and entrepreneurs participated in a Carnival
Trade Mission, which visited Paris and other European cities and showcased Trinidad
and Tobago’s creative talents. In April 2015, the local feature film “Sally’s Way” was
screened and awarded at the International Pan American Film Festival; then another
local short film entitled “The Creative Soul of Trinidad and Tobago” was
screened at the Summer Cannes Film Festival later that year.

We are proud to recognise
and celebrate the outstanding contribution of McCartha Linda Sandy Lewis, better known as Calypso Rose, who won the Album of the Year
award in the World Music category of the French Victoires de la Musique Awards held in Paris in February this year.
We salute her on this brilliant achievement!

It is my hope that our countries continue to mutually
benefit from the sharing of our rich cultures and move towards deeper collaboration,
given the ease of access now facilitated under the Schengen visa waiver agreement,
which was signed in 2015. The finalisation of that visa agreement stood out as
one of many examples of bilateral cooperation between us in the multilateral arena.
In both our interaction with the European Union and at the United Nations,
France has been a friend and ally to our country.

On that note, it would be remiss of me not to
commend the leading role that France has taken on the global stage in dealing
with environmental issues, which are of crucial importance to small island
developing states such as our own, and indeed, to the whole planet. Trinidad
and Tobago, too, continues to participate in this process as we acknowledge
that it is only through concerted efforts that the world can combat the negative
effects of global warming and climate change and positively impact the fate of
future generations.

Ladies and gentlemen, it
may be said that success is measured by one’s ability to overcome challenges.
In recent times, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has joined the
international community in condemning the perpetration of a number of barbaric
attacks carried out on French soil, which infringe on the fundamental rights
and freedoms enjoyed in a democratic society. Time and again, France has stood
resilient against these incidents and has shown that the inherent joie de vivre embodied in the French
spirit cannot be dimmed.

Ambassador, at this
juncture, on behalf of the Government and People of the Republic of Trinidad
and Tobago and on my own behalf, I once again extend congratulations and warm
wishes for continued success to the Government and People of the French

My friends, please join me
in a toast to prosperity, well-being and bon
between the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the French Republic.

Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs

Click to view the official statement- Statement delivered by Senator the Honourable Dennis Moses, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs on the occasion of the National Day of the French Republic


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