Independence Day

Trinidad & Tobago Independence Day in a nutshell

A moko jumbie parades at Independence Day celebrations. Photographer: Edison Boodoosingh

A moko jumbie parades at Independence Day celebrations. Photographer: Edison Boodoosingh

Independence Day — a public holiday — marks the occasion on August 31st, 1962 when Trinidad & Tobago’s became independent from Great Britain.

The day is formally celebrated by a parades of the various protective services at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain and in Scarborough, Tobago, with national political leaders in attendance. In the evening, national awards typically are presented to esteemed citizens. Firework displays often conclude the celebrations in both Trinidad and Tobago, so precautions should be taken to safeguard vulnerable citizens like the elderly, as well as pets. There also are often huge concerts just before the holiday.

The Independence Day parade in Port of Spain. Photographer: Mariamma Kambon

The Independence Day parade in Port of Spain. Photographer: Mariamma Kambon


Independence Day address by Dr Eric Williams in 1962

Independence Day parade. Photographer: CafeMoka

Participants in the Independence Day parade. Photographer: CafeMoka

“The first responsibility that devolves upon you is the protection and promotion of your democracy. Democracy means more, much more, than the right to vote, and one vote for every man and every woman of the prescribed age. Democracy means recognition of the rights of others.

“Democracy means equality of opportunity for all in education, in the public service, and in private employment — I repeat, and in private employment. Democracy means the protection of the weak against the strong. Democracy means the obligation of the minority to recognise the right of the majority. Democracy means responsibility of the government to its citizens, the protection of the citizens from the exercise of arbitrary power and the violation of human freedoms and individual rights. Democracy means freedom of worship for all and the subordination of the right of any race to the overriding right of the human race. Democracy means freedom of expression and assembly …

“All that is our Democracy, to which I call upon all citizens to dedicate themselves on this our Independence Day. This is what I meant when I gave the Nation its slogan for all time: Discipline, Production, Tolerance. Indiscipline, whether individual or sectional, is a threat to democracy.”

— Dr Eric Williams, first chief minister and first prime minister of Trinidad & Tobago (1956–81)

Independence Day fireworks at the Savannah. Photographer: Mariamma Kambon

Independence Day fireworks at the Savannah. Photographer: Mariamma Kambon

Posted by Discover Trinidad & Tobago

A team of of writers discovering Trinidad & Tobago for 26 years and counting!

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