Today we join with the rest of the world in celebrating World Radio Day 2017. The theme chosen for this year’s celebration “Radio is You” is one that certainly resonates with many countries in the developing world where the radio continues to be the main source of information, education and entertainment, especially for the less privileged.

We too in Trinidad and Tobago have had a long history of radio operations beginning with the single station operated during war time to the present scenario where approximately 36 radio stations compete for band width on the available spectrum. It is this proliferation of radio stations that, for better and sometimes for worse, helps shape the national dialogue, and to which we remain indebted for the valuable service they perform.

On this occasion, it would be remiss of us, if we did not recall the sterling contributions of former radio personalities like Holly Betaudier, Kathleen Davis who was better known as “Aunty Kay”, Raffie Knowles, Dave Lamy, Barbara Assoon, Brenda de Silva, Sharon Pitt, Dennis McComie, Hans Hanoomansingh and so many others. I congratulate too not only these pioneers, but the current practitioners who do their part to keep us informed, entertained and educated.

Today, in a world where the internet ensures that information is disseminated with amazing speed and frequency, radio competes both for space and relevance. It is radio more than any other medium, however, that is uniquely positioned to bring communities together and promote positive dialogue for change. There is no doubt that where social media and audience fragmentation can easily place populations in media-bubbles of like-minded people, radio can serve to bring us together.

Indeed, radio remains one of the most dynamic, reactive and robust media there is, encouraging audience participation in unprecedented levels, especially given the talk-format adopted by many local stations. Very often, it is only through the radio that thousands of ordinary citizens can get their voices heard, and we in the Government, continue to be thankful for those who use this medium to bring their issues to our attention.

My Government remains committed to working with the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago to ensure that all that is necessary for a vibrant, free and independent media is achieved. We will continue to engage all the stakeholders to bring the Broadcast Code to the table as we seek to encourage the highest standards of operations, and do all that we can to improve the product that is radio.

On behalf of the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago, I salute all our radio practitioners, and wish you a productive World Radio Day 2017.


February 13, 2017