Last Friday, mayor Keron Valentine kicked off the city of Port of Spain’s 102nd anniversary celebrations. Thousands turned out for the Fashion and Mas Rock the City event, the brainchild of designer Anya Ayoung Chee.

The parade included old time carnival characters, blue devils, pan music and mas costumes. The parade proceeded east along Ariapita Avenue to Adam Smith Square where the fashion show took place.

It was a celebration that combined fashion, music and mas—a reflection of who we are!

The mayor and councillors of the Port of Spain City corporation have included the June 23 Olympic Day celebration as part of the month long celebrations.

In this an Olympic year by virtue of the T&T Olympic Committee Headquarters (Olympic House) location on Abrecromby Street, Port of Spain, opposite Lord Harris Square, it would not be stretching the truth to proclaim Port of Spain the Olympic capital of T&T.

With the TTOC itself celebrating 70 years and the 40th anniversary of Hasely Crawford’s historic acheivement of winning the 1976 Montreal Olympics 100 metres final to become the first ever son of the soil to become an Olympic champion, it is great that Olympic Day will form an official part of the celebrations.

The success of Fashion and Mas Rock the City event is a timely reminder of the potential and power of our culture, music, entertainment and creative sectors. Add food and sport and you have a compelling value proposition. The packaging of all the components constitute brand T&T.

At every Olympic Games in recent history, the question has always been asked if a brand T&T promotional package incorporating all the distinctly Trinbagonian elements will be showcased during the Olympic Games. The answer is no.

Staging such an initiative requires the involvement of tourism, trade and Investment, foreign affairs, culture along with sport. Moving from discussion and talk to implementable action is a challenge.

One can’t help but feel frustrated at the failure to embrace and capitalise on what seems obvious. Changing an entrenched culture is no mean feat. There is much potential and opportunity to drive economic growth and diversification if we can only see the big picture.

But we have to be true to ourselves as a people and a country.

What is it to be a Trinbagonian? What do we as the collective Trinidad and Tobago stand for? What is brand Trinidad and Tobago?

What’s our why?

Are we grounded in Trinidad and Tobago ? Or have we lost our sense of who we are and what it means to be Trinidad and Tobago in our expression of self and how we project ourselves to the world

There is so much that we can build on. Our talent and potential is unlimited. We need to go back to the basics and build and strengthen the necessary foundation needed.

It will require hard work and discipline but most of all a sense of purpose. These days with the doom and gloom proving invasive, staying positive and focused is much more of a challenge.

The temptation to fall back into the crowd is compelling in an environment where excellence is only a hobby.

Brian Lewis is president of the T&TOC. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the TTOC.