“Here every creed and race find an equal place and may God bless our nation.”
These words are part of what defines me as a proud son of the soil of Trinidad and Tobago. I was born on Henry Street, Port of Spain, in 1975 to Trinidadian parents. My mother’s ancestry is East Indian and my father’s is Chinese (his parents came to Trinidad directly from China in the late 1940s).
I have no colonial heritage and both of my parents came from very humble backgrounds.
I have always lived in Trinidad and Tobago, save for a few months when I was three years old and my father was working in the United Kingdom, and then when I read law at the University of Nottingham and studied to be, and was called to the Bar as, a barrister in London, United Kingdom.
I practised as an advocate attorney in Trinidad and Tobago from 1998 to 2015, working for myself as a self-employed attorney from 2001 to 2015.
During that period of time in my professional career, I represented a wide cross-section of society, including many of the trade unions and their members, the State, persons who sued the State, those who could not afford to pay legal fees and those who could.
In 2014, I officially joined the People’s National Movement after being given an opportunity to serve as an opposition senator.
I decided to join the PNM and to enter politics because I believed I could contribute to the building of my country, Trinidad and Tobago, and because I was concerned about the state of governance (ie, a lack of proper governance) that existed at the time.
I was elected as the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Port of Spain North/St Ann’s West in September 2015, attaining 10,946 votes which equated to 82.47 per cent of the votes cast for that constituency in the 2015 general election. This turned out to be the highest record of votes ever for any elected representative of Port of Spain North/St Ann’s West.
I have served as a Cabinet minister since September 2015 to date in a number of different capacities, and I believe my work ethic, work product and the tangible contributions I have made during that time speak for themselves.
I was recently elected as the chairman of the PNM contesting against two other members who also offered themselves up for the position of chairman. I secured 91.4 per cent of the votes cast by the PNM members who voted for a chairman.
I believe in Trinidad and Tobago, and I am committed to its positive growth and continued development.
I denounce racism and those who use race to divide humanity and attack others on this basis.
I have said previously, and I repeat here again, that civic-minded citizens should not sit idly by as persons use racism in any form or fashion.
I have taken the time to compose this statement as, unfortunately, the unsavoury race card has reared its head in a publication in yesterday’s Sunday Express authored by Prof Selwyn Cudjoe, where he has attacked me on the basis of race.
It is very unfortunate that someone with the experience and knowledge of Prof Cudjoe would use such a crude method of expression, based on racism, to attack me. You see, the irony is that he has simply exposed himself.
By no stretch of the imagination am I a “colonial” oppressor like those our distinguished and brilliant son of the soil, Leroy Calliste, “Black Stalin”, sang against.
I am confident the civic-minded citizen will reject the unwarranted aspersions cast at me by this misguided author and the all-too-willing platform of publication (ie, the Express newspaper).
I conclude by giving my assurance not only to the members of the PNM whom I serve, but also to the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago whom I also serve, that I will continue to do my best for our country and I will serve without fear or favour, malice or ill-will.
I wish you all a blessed 2023 and may God continue to bless our country.
Stuart Young MP
Proud citizen of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago;
Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister
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