Bastille Day 2021 - Message from the Ambassador

For the second time in a row, Bastille Day in Port of Spain will be celebrated virtually. Once again this year, the health situation and the numerous measures aimed at curbing the epidemic do not allow us to gather at the Residence, to share the traditional glass of Champagne, to salute the friendship that unites our two countries, France and Trinidad and Tobago, and to pay tribute to the solidarity and commitment of the French community.

We are pleased to welcome you to this site and wish you all, dear compatriots, friends of France, colleagues from the Diplomatic Corps and personalities from the government, political, business, cultural and associative worlds, or those who are simply citizens, the best in your future plans and happiness and success in your personal lives. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for its attentiveness and support throughout this year of crisis.

Bastille Day, because of its historical aspect and the historical and universal significance of the message of the French Revolution, is not a day like any other. For the French, it is first and foremost a day of unity, as the Fête de la Fédération celebrated in 1790, one year to the day after the storming of the Bastille, had already become part of the national narrative. And for everyone, it is an opportunity to learn from history, imagine a better world and prepare for the future.

COVID and the accompanying global pandemic have changed many things. Our way of seeing the world, the place of the human being in nature and the vulnerability of our societies, which are so sure of themselves and so technologically advanced, have been turned upside down, our economies, our way of life and our organisation have been subjected to an unprecedented shock which invites us to question many of our certainties.

In this health crisis of extraordinary dimensions, an unprecedented mobilisation, commensurate with the challenge, has been put in place, with exceptional resources and manpower being devoted to medical structures, care for the sick and research. Vaccines were developed in just one year and are now being administered worldwide, helping to roll back the pandemic. In all countries, the health care personnel have shown exemplary dedication and availability. It is our duty, at a time when a glimmer of hope is appearing all over the world and gives us reason to believe that the crisis may be over, to pay them the tribute they deserve.

Faced with a crisis of such magnitude, the first global crisis of the 21st century, France has remained faithful to its vision of the world, its values and its responsibilities. As a permanent member of the Security Council and as such a "global" power, and an ardent defender of multilateralism, it has committed itself to the fight against the pandemic, as it has done for global warming and the protection of our environment and our planetary wealth.

The President of the Republic, Mr Emmanuel Macron, recalled this at the recent summit on global health held in Rome last May: France actively defends the principle of universal access to vaccination against COVID, with a vaccine whose primary vocation is to be a global public good. As a founding member of the European Union, France participates fully in the COVAX mechanism, of which the European Union is the leading donor, and has decided to increase its contribution to this mechanism. This additional participation will amount to "at least 30 million doses of different vaccines by the end of the year".

In the Caribbean, France remains equally committed. AFD (Agence Française de Développement) has established a close relationship of partnership and cooperation with CARPHA, the Caribbean Public Health Agency, with which it has established partnership links that have been strengthened since 2019. In this regard, AFD provided a €1.5 million grant to CARPHA to support its mission to monitor infectious diseases linked to climate change, secured an additional €800,000 grant from the European Union to help CARPHA digitize its activities and, last February, financed the provision of a PCR sequencing machine to strengthen CARPHA’s regional action against COVID. Finally, AFD was recently an official sponsor of CARPHA’s 65th annual research conference, which was held from June 16 to 19.

In this world in crisis, culture has, more than ever, its place in maintaining the link that unites us. In Port of Spain, this vital role has been played with remarkable dedication by the Alliance Française which has managed, despite all sorts of difficulties and restrictions, to mobilise, adapt and extend its activities to the digital sphere. The setting up of online French courses that meet the expectations of its audience has been a great success in this respect, as has the virtual holding of certain major cultural events, whether it be the celebration of the Francophonie or, very recently, the Fête de la Musique on June 21. Founded in 1951, the Alliance Française in Trinidad and Tobago is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. We wish it 70 years of success and new projects for the future in the service of the friendly relationship that unites us with Trinidad and Tobago.

I thank you for your attention and I hope to see you all again next year on the occasion of a great Bastille Day 2022.

Long live the Republic,

Long live France,

Long live the friendship between France and Trinidad and Tobago.

Ambassador Serge Lavroff, his wife Caroline Lavroff and their son Vadim Lavroff wish you a wonderful blue, white and red Bastille Day and one of friendship which unites us with Trinidad and Tobago
Ambassador Serge Lavroff, his wife Caroline Lavroff and their son Vadim Lavroff wish you a wonderful blue, white and red Bastille Day and one of friendship which unites us with Trinidad and Tobago

Last updated on: 13 July 2021