House pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

“This is a promise that all the lead­ers of our beloved twin-is­land Re­pub­lic, present and fu­ture, in­clud­ing my­self, should as­pire to ful­fil for the peo­ple of the Re­pub­lic of T&T

A Queen who ad­mired T&T’s steel­band and clapped through­out a re­cent per­for­mance, an ear­ly pi­o­neer of in­spir­ing girls to lead­er­ship – and a leader whose promise of ser­vice ful­filled that T&T lead­ers should al­so em­u­late.

This was among ster­ling trib­utes paid to the late Queen Eliz­a­beth II in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day by Act­ing Prime Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert, Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar and House Speak­er Bridgid An­nisette-George.

The UK’s longest-serv­ing monarch died on Thurs­day at 96.

MPs in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the Red House yes­ter­day al­so paid their re­spects by ob­serv­ing a minute’s si­lence.

Act­ing Prime Min­is­ter Im­bert said Gov­ern­ment and T&T’s peo­ple joined the rest of the world in mourn­ing the death of Her Roy­al Majesty. He al­so ex­tend­ed sin­cer­est con­do­lences to King Charles III and her fam­i­ly,

“… As well as to the peo­ple of the Unit­ed King­dom who, for more than two gen­er­a­tions, have known on­ly one Sov­er­eign, their beloved Queen. She was their one con­stant in a rapid­ly evolv­ing world, and many have nev­er known a world with­out her.”

“Though the Ho­n­ourable Prime Min­is­ter, Dr Kei­th Row­ley, is not phys­i­cal­ly present with us to­day, we speak with one voice in the lan­guage of grief and loss, as we re­flect on the con­tri­bu­tion made by Her Majesty.”

Im­bert said as the longest serv­ing and most trav­elled British Monarch, Queen Eliz­a­beth II vis­it­ed T&T in 1966, 1985 and was T&T’s spe­cial guest when this coun­try host­ed the 2009 Com­mon­wealth Heads of Gov­ern­ment Meet­ing.

Im­bert added, “As part of the Cab­i­net at that time, I re­call her vis­it here as one that brought great joy to many, as for us too, this was the on­ly Monarch we have known. She was al­so an ar­dent ad­mir­er of our steel­band and in­sist­ed that the Trinidad and To­ba­go De­fence Force Steel Or­ches­tra play at her re­cent­ly con­clud­ed Ju­bilee cel­e­bra­tions.

“In­deed, their ren­di­tion of ‘Danc­ing Queen’ was a most fit­ting trib­ute to a Monarch who has cel­e­brat­ed the cul­ture of every Com­mon­wealth na­tion. The pic­tures of her smil­ing and clap­ping through their per­for­mance were enough to warm the hearts of the steel­band’s fiercest crit­ics. Sad­ly, that smile, in­ter­rupt­ed by death, will be no more.”

Im­bert said Queen Eliz­a­beth II dom­i­nat­ed the pol­i­tics of the world for more than sev­en decades, and her lead­er­ship pro­vid­ed the plat­form for the cre­ation of the mod­ern Britain.

“She has over­seen the in­stal­la­tion of 15 British Prime Min­is­ters, be­gin­ning with the in­domitable Sir Win­ston Churchill and end­ing with the most re­cent, Prime Min­is­ter Eliz­a­beth Truss.”

He not­ed that the Queen nav­i­gat­ed some of the last and this cen­tu­ry’s most chal­leng­ing mo­ments, “And was for­ev­er the ad­vo­cate for a strong Unit­ed King­dom.”

“Through the many tu­mul­tuous sit­u­a­tions of the last decades, some even touch­ing her own fam­i­ly, Queen Eliz­a­beth II was al­ways the epit­o­me of grace and an en­dur­ing calm that earned her many plau­dits and ad­mir­ers,” Im­bert said.

“Even as her age ad­vanced and her health de­clined, she re­mained Britain’s most pop­u­lar monarch, and her com­mit­ment to coun­try shone even more proud­ly in the man­ner in which she han­dled the con­flu­ence of for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son’s as­cen­sion to Num­ber 10 Down­ing Street, Britain’s ex­it from the Eu­ro­pean Union and the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of the glob­al pan­dem­ic, all oc­cur­ring in close prox­im­i­ty to each oth­er.”

Thank you, Your Majesty – Kam­la

Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar said yes­ter­day that the world awak­ened yes­ter­day … “To a glob­al com­mu­ni­ty mourn­ing the loss of a soul of im­mac­u­late kind­ness, strength and courage which en­riched so many for decades … There is no doubt that our world has lost a fig­ure who has rep­re­sent­ed de­ter­mi­na­tion and ded­i­ca­tion to pur­pose for sev­en­ty years.”

“Her words long re­mem­bered be­fore she was 25 years old: ‘I de­clare be­fore you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be de­vot­ed to your ser­vice.’ While these were her words as a young Princess Eliz­a­beth in 1947, they be­came the life sto­ry of Her Majesty as she be­came the longest-serv­ing Monarch of the Unit­ed King­dom.”

“Her life was an in­spir­ing one as she demon­strat­ed that nei­ther youth nor gen­der would pre­vent her from un­der­tak­ing a role with such great re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. In­deed, she took up the role of Monarch when she was just 25 years old. … To­day, as women across the globe tra­verse the halls of pow­er in every field, we can all say Queen Eliz­a­beth II stood as one of the ear­ly pi­o­neers to in­spire young girls across the globe to be­lieve that not on­ly could women equal men at the helm, but they can lead them.”

Per­sad-Bisses­sar said she met the Queen in per­son on the Com­mon­wealth stage.

“I was great­ly en­light­ened by her hu­mour, as well as her great hu­mil­i­ty, but even more so, I was en­riched by her de­sire to see a bet­ter world,” she said.

She was im­pressed by the Queen’s sup­port for the 2011 Com­mon­wealth Heads of Gov­ern­ment Meet­ing’s theme “Women as Agents for Change” and her Majesty’s call for lead­ers to un­lock the true po­ten­tial of so­ci­eties by en­sur­ing women and girls are al­lowed to play their full part in na­tion­al de­vel­op­ment.

Her Majesty lived a life of ser­vice to the British peo­ple and to the Com­mon­wealth to the very end, as we saw this week, she ap­point­ed the 15th Prime Min­is­ter of her reign. … Queen Eliz­a­beth II was more than just a Head of State, she was the calm re­as­sur­ing voice of hope that stood with the world in tough times. For her years of love, kind­ness, and ded­i­ca­tion to the Com­mon­wealth, we will al­ways be grate­ful.

“To­geth­er, as a Com­mon­wealth, we must move for­ward stronger, and unit­ed by the lov­ing mem­o­ry of Her Majesty Queen Eliz­a­beth II, for a bet­ter fu­ture. To­day, we say, thank you, your Majesty.”

Promise of ser­vice ful­filled – House Speak­er

House Speak­er Bridgid An­nisette-George, al­so pay­ing trib­ute, said Queen Eliz­a­beth II’s 70-year reign is char­ac­terised by her un­wa­ver­ing ded­i­ca­tion and ser­vice to her peo­ple.

“I ad­mire Her Majesty. In times of war, the Queen served along­side her peo­ple and in times of the un­cer­tain­ty of change, she stood firm­ly and sup­por­t­ive­ly with her peo­ple. Her Majesty has ful­filled her promise to the peo­ple of the Unit­ed King­dom and the Com­mon­wealth when she vowed that her whole life, whether long or short, shall be de­vot­ed to their ser­vice.

“This is a promise that all the lead­ers of our beloved twin-is­land Re­pub­lic, present and fu­ture, in­clud­ing my­self, should as­pire to ful­fil for the peo­ple of the Re­pub­lic of T&T.

“I dare to add, the Queen ful­filled this role with great hu­mil­i­ty, and I can help but note, with styl­ish el­e­gance.

“Her lega­cy for me ev­i­dences that con­comi­tant with priv­i­lege, is ser­vice, du­ty, re­spon­si­bil­i­ty and re­straint.”

An­nisette-George added, “As a woman in a po­si­tion, which has long been dom­i­nat­ed by men, in a world which is still pa­tri­ar­chal, less so now than when she first in­her­it­ed the Crown, Her Majesty the Queen be­came a sym­bol for women in lead­er­ship.

The re­straints on her role, which de­mand­ed ab­sti­nence from po­lit­i­cal com­men­tary and any per­cep­tions of po­lit­i­cal bias, how­ev­er, did not pre­vent her from mak­ing state­ments in sup­port of women’s equal­i­ty and bol­ster­ing these state­ments by her ac­tions.

“Who can for­get when Her Majesty chauf­feured an­oth­er Monarch on her Scot­tish es­tate? Or her state­ment in 2011 at the British Com­mon­wealth Sum­mit in Aus­tralia en­cour­ag­ing so­ci­eties ‘to find ways to al­low girls and women to play their full part’.”

Not­ing her ex­cite­ment as a child when the Queen and Head of State of T&T vis­it­ed this coun­try, An­nisette-George re­called, “Al­though we are an in­de­pen­dent Re­pub­lic, the Queen’s life shall re­main wo­ven in­to the his­to­ry of T&T, as she was our last British Monarch, be­fore we be­came a Re­pub­lic in 1976.

The Roy­al Fam­i­ly, the Unit­ed King­dom and the Com­mon­wealth un­der­went con­stant changes and ex­pe­ri­enced sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges dur­ing her reign and Her Majesty the Queen presided over them all, epit­o­mis­ing du­ty, sta­bil­i­ty, wis­dom and grace.”

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