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Commentary: An Open Letter to President Paula-Mae Weekes

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By ALICIA CHAMELY

 

Dear Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes,

I feel like if we had a chance to meet we would be friends. Besties perhaps? I just wanted to say Your Excellency, you are fine!

Just busy blazing people bastardising the National Anthem, shutting down people bringing their side piece to official events, like a BOSS!

I’ll be straight with you, I love our national anthem. In its organic form, it is truly a beautiful piece. Nothing annoys me more than an amped up, over theatrical version of our anthem…CARIFESTA we’re looking at you.

It’s not Baby Shark, it does not need a remix. Thank you for laying down the law and allowing our anthem to be respected and untouched by eager amateur “producers.”

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Regarding your point of only spouses being allowed to attend official functions, I totally understand this proper state etiquette and frankly you are just trying to prevent another Burke inna de dance fiasco, but I do think maybe this should be given a second look.

Attitudes towards marriage have changed, with many people opting for common law status. As you know a couple is recognised as common law under the Cohabitational Relationships Act, meaning they are recognised as a husband and wife once they have been living together for two or more years.

Not everyone believes in the piece of paper to prove our love thing, so maybe in this regard the rule should be re-looked at and once there is substantial proof that a couple has been living as common law their partner should be invited.

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Additionally, let’s pretend TT is a super progressive society that embraces all people’s rights regarding their sexual orientation, meaning same sex couples are out in the open without prejudice. However as progressive as society is, same sex marriage isn’t yet legal because the Government doesn’t want to upset the Bible thumpers.

Should a member of Government being in a long term same sex relationship, which is committed and mirrors that of a marriage but cannot be legally recognised as married, not be allowed to bring his or her partner to state functions? It seems unfair given the law is against them. So food for thought.

I know you’ve been under a lot of criticism these days with people accusing you of fretting over trivial matters and not crime and rising unemployment. In fact I saw the most hilarious meme where you were ignoring pressing issues and then turned into Hulk when someone referred to the National Anthem incorrectly. It was funny, honestly I know we’re friends, but I laughed.

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Listen I cannot think of a more frustrating position than President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (ok maybe Prime Minister or Opposition Leader). I read over the responsibilities of the President and honestly in my opinion it all seems, and I am going to use a cliché here, ceremonial.

Unfortunately many of the decisions you make, aren’t particularly your decisions.

They are often under the advice of the Government, which you swear in, but was chosen by the electorate, so you didn’t really choose them but had to be the ceremonial head for their inauguration. I swear it must be so frustrating.

I imagine any steps you want to take to change our nation are often blocked by endless bureaucracy. Yes you are the final word on Acts passed in Parliament, but again these aren’t Acts you came up with and I am not sure how easy it is for you to strike them down. I know you won’t do like poor Uncle Max and just sign Section 34…that’s for another time.

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It is easy for people to criticise the President because many in the public view you as a ceremonial head rather than an active advocate for the betterment of TT.

Regardless, I get you. I read your Independence Day address, you spoke of the problems plaguing us, you made a call for us to recommit to our nation, to put bias and apathy at the state of things behind us. You called out and I listened.

It is unfortunate this did not garner as much attention as the issues with who gets to attend state functions or the National Anthem. Unfortunately we are bacchanal obsessed people, but please do not stop talking, do not stop empowering us, do not stop believing in all the good that is in TT.

I am all ears your Excellency.

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