Category Archives: General T&T

Protests and State Violence: Leaders Must Stop Dodging Responsibility

By Dr Tye Salandy
July 02, 2020

Dr Tye SalandyApproximately 50 years ago, mainly young people — disillusioned by the continued colonial nature of the country, the deep racism, classism and limited opportunities — made brave efforts to improve things. Instead of the then government, led by Dr Eric Williams, listening and properly engaging with these persons, the leaders of the movement were arrested and jailed, people were beaten and brutalized, and persons were hunted, shot and even killed. “Law and order” were not about the best interest of the citizens but about preserving the status quo. Fifty years later we are faced with unrests that parallel the Hosay Riots, the Camboulay Riots, the 1919 Labour riots, the 1930s Labour uprisings, and the 1970s Black Power movement. It is this eruption of discontent from those who are experiencing the depths of marginalization and brutality that has historically brought about the greatest improvements in conditions in unjust social structures. All of them were met with brutal violence by authorities, yet when history looks back, all these events were important parts of the evolution of our society. By all indications, the present government has not learned these lessons and may repeat the grave errors of the past.
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Election an illusion of power

By Raffique Shah
July 01, 2020

Raffique ShahIt’s difficult to get a good grasp of what’s happening on the ground regarding the general election, which will be held in the next three months. It seems that Covid-19, the virus that has impacted the world like nothing else in history, and fundamentally changed the way we live to the extent that we have coined virtually a new lexicon to comprehend its effects, said virus has relegated the election to a side-show, almost a non-event.
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Black American Lives Have Always Mattered…

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 29, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAbout one hundred yards north of Whitehall, there is a short street, Maxwell Philip Street, that is located between Prada and Scott streets, in St. Clair, Port of Spain. It is no more than 500 yards long. Although it is located in an affluent part of the city, it commemorates the life of a very important member of our community.

Philip, one of the most respected and accomplished Afro-Trinbagonians of the nineteenth century, might be little known to our contemporaries. However, given the impact that Black Lives Matter (BLM) is having on the present era and the interest it has generated all over the world, it might be wise to become acquainted with Philip, his importance in our history, and the enduring connection of the BLM to Afro-Trinbagonians.
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Be Careful How You Treat Black People

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 29, 2020

“No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man, without finding the other end of it about his own neck.”

—Frederick Douglass

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeFor the past three weeks, the world’s attention has been transfixed by the racial tensions that engulfed the United States. We, in T&T may have been spared “the most vulgar displays of systemic racism” as the prime minister said but, as the old people say: “What miss yo’ ent pass yo.”

The massive resistance against the racism that engulfed the US has to do with how white people and their government treat black people on a day-to-day basis. In T&T I am not sure that our government and those in power are treating its black citizens as they should. An immediate example is how PNM’s Screening Committee treated (and is treating) Robert Le Hunte because he took “a principled stance” on an important issue.
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Of Symbols and Substance

By Raffique Shah
June 23, 2020

Raffique ShahChristopher Columbus had his comeuppance coming for a long, long time. Five hundred years, to be more specific. Here was an Italian adventurer, brigand and explorer who persuaded Queen Isabella of Spain to invest in an expedition he had been obsessed with—sailing into the unknown West and finding the mythical city of gold, El Dorado, and claiming it, and other lands, on behalf of the monarch.
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Columbus and His Progeny

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 23, 2020

“White men, I curse you to your face,/ Curse you and all your hated race!/ Great war has placed me in your power;/ I am your captive; this is your hour/ To wreck your bitterest thought of ill;/ To bind or slay me as you will.”

—Horatio Nelson Huggins, Hiroona

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI do not have strong feelings as to whether we should move Columbus’s monument from its present location or whether it should be placed in a special museum. However, I am encouraged by the discussion the issue has engendered and the eloquent articles it has generated.

I am more concerned with the havoc the Europeans have wreaked on our civilization after Columbus’s arrival, the genocide that was perpetrated against our indigenous populations, and the subsequent barbarity to which brown and black people have been subjected.
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The leader must rally the masses

By Raffique Shah
June 16, 2020

Raffique ShahFinance Minister Colm Imbert, and by extension the Keith Rowley-led Government of Trinidad and Tobago, missed out on an opportunity to rise above the noise that tends to drown out sensible discussions about serious issues when Imbert presented the mid-year review of the fiscal 2020 Budget last Friday. Coming as it did during the aftershocks of the first wave of the Corvid-19 pandemic, the review necessarily highlighted the impact this global health crisis has had on the national economy, and what is required of all citizens to see us emerge stronger from it, whenever that may be.
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The Lie…

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 09, 2020

PART 3

“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history.”

—Marcus Cicero

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn Friday, May 23, 1958, Lionel Seukeran, MP for Naparima (DLP) and grandfather of Faris Al-Rawi, AG, offered the following motion to the Legislative Council: “Whereas the Chief Minister [Eric Williams] is reported to have made an unwarranted and derogatory attack on the Indian community at a public meeting at Woodford Square, following the Federal elections, whereas his utterances on that occasion have aroused the indignation and caused grave concern among all sections of law-abiding people, and have contributed greatly to the embarrassment of people of East Indian descent…
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The issues that matter most

By Raffique Shah
June 09, 2020

Raffique ShahAmerica was set to implode sometime soon when four police officers, going about a patrol in Minneapolis, did what many of their colleagues routinely do—subdue a black suspect with excessive force and recklessness, and quite possibly oozing rabid racism. Within minutes, George Floyd, who moaned “I can’t breathe” several times as one police officer knelt on his neck, was dead.

A courageous 16-year-old girl video-taped and broadcast the death live on the Internet, and almost instantly, millions of people were alerted to the atrocity. In Minneapolis, demonstrations against police brutality and racism erupted. Soon, protests against the police and other state institutions spread across America. People who had just emerged from two months of home confinement because of the deadly CORVID-19 pandemic, were outraged.
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“Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired”

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
June 07, 2020

Dr. Kwame NantambuEver since they were brought involuntarily and violently from Mother Africa in 1619 to be enslaved on plantations in the United States, enslaved Africans and their descendants have been the victims of Code Noir, Jim Crow laws, Lynch Laws, Ku Klux Klan, the infamous “Three Fifths Clause”, “Grandfather Clause”. Racial segregation, institutionalized racism, “selective prosecution”, racial profiling, “Stand your Ground” law, just to highlight a few injustices.
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