The following is the prime minister's address in recognition of today's public holiday celebrating the country's First Peoples.
"On behalf of the people and Government of Trinidad and Tobago, I extend warm greetings to the First Peoples of our national community.
In October 2016, I gave a commitment to the First Peoples Community that serious consideration would be given to their longstanding requests for recognition in the form of a one-off national holiday, to formally recognise their presence and contribution to our country.
The Santa Rosa First Peoples Community march through Port-of-Spain and Arima on Thursday and Friday respectively, as part of the celebrations of the First Peoples.
This is in keeping with the First Peoples “One-Off” National Holiday which will be observed on Friday 13th 2017.
The theme for this year’s activities is: From Chrysalis to Butterfly: On Becoming Visible, Towards Meaningful Recognition.”
At 10 a.m. on Thursday there will be a ‘Gathering of First Peoples’ in front of the Red House, St. Vincent Street Port of Spain.
President Anthony Carmona has officially declared Wednesday 18th October, 2017 as the date of the public holiday in celebration of the festival of Divali.
The date has been in the public domain for several months now but unless it's officially declared by the President, it's not yet official.
A statement by the Office of the President made the announcement today, stating that the declaration was in accordance with the provisions of the Public Holidays and Festivals Act.