By Raffique Shah
August 24, 2020
It pains me to return to the issue of race and politics in Trinidad and Tobago, but since it seems impossible to dismiss its impact on not just elections, but on the body politic of the nation, I feel obliged to address it. Note well how racism reared its ugly head as we got closer to the recent general election, and it peaked in the few weeks before and after polling day.
Much like the Covid-19 super-virus, race and racism disturb the equilibrium of the country in waves, peaks and troughs, some more damaging than others. Worse, it seems there is no cure for racism, no vaccine to halt its contagious nature. And, as if these virulent strains weren’t scary enough, there is an abundance of evidence to suggest that racism is contagious, even hereditary, possibly part of the DNA of some people.
Continue reading Race is not my compass
By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
August 24, 2020
On August 2, about eight days before the last election, I took part in a programme that was hosted by the Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre on the absence of election observers in T&T’s election, hosted by Dr Kumar Mahabir.
The question posed was whether the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) could conduct a fair election in the absence of foreign electoral observers. I answered: “It’s unfortunate that there will be no foreign observers at the August 10 elections, but I do not share the view that their absence would prevent the election from being conducted in a fair manner.”
Continue reading Counting our blessings
By Sampson Nanton
August 19, 2020 – guardian.co.tt
Twenty-one ministers have been sworn in to for the new Cabinet of Trinidad and Tobago, with most returning to their regular portfolios.
The Prime Minister has also opted to create new Ministries, including the Ministry of Youth Development and National Services, to be headed by the Fitzgerald Hinds.
In addition to the 21 Ministers, there are nine Junior Ministers.
Continue reading T&T’s new 21-member Cabinet
By Raffique Shah
August 17, 2020
One of these not-so-good days, some fool will vent his or her racial spleen on the anti-social media or in some public place once too often in a rant that has gone too far; another fool will feel sufficiently aggrieved to react with more than mere racial epithets, possibly summoning idle but willing hands to take up cutlasses and defend the domain of the tribe; and the tribal leaders, coming from a manure-fed lineage that nurtured the fires of hatred for generations, would, by word or deed, ignite an eruption that will wreck what passes for civilisation in Trinidad, not necessarily Tobago, sending this island back into a future filled with hatred, bile, sewage and all things negative. A potential paradise will never be allowed to bloom. It will instead be strangled by the patricidal savages who inhabit the wasteland.
Continue reading Destroying democracy
By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
August 12, 2020
Last Tuesday, Joseph Biden, the nominee of the Democratic Party, selected Kamala Harris to be his running mate in the next US presidential election. If she is elected, she will become the most powerful woman in the Democratic Party and a strong candidate to become the first US woman president.
Harris was not selected primarily because of her academic brilliance, political acumen or prosecutorial experience, although she possesses all these attributes. She was selected because black democrats demanded that a black woman be selected because they saved Biden’s candidacy when it was floundering.
Continue reading In defeat, defiance
By A. Hotep
August 15, 2020
The Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SATT), and by extension the business community, was never interested in addressing racism. Poor working conditions and poor remuneration packages are all part of class and racial discrimination which, at the very least, renders many members of the business community complicit. Now that people are prepared to take action to deal with racism, the business community should not be allowed to set the standard for redress. This was made clear by SATT’s quick backpedalling of its boycott of Ramsaran-branded products after calling on the company to “[seek] the appropriate remedial action in a consistent and satisfactory manner.” Aside from the Ramsaran’s text-book apology and “firing” of the owner’s daughter, how has the company demonstrated appropriate remedial action?
Continue reading Sorry, Not Sorry: The Business of Racism in T&T
A Dialogue on Ramsaran’s Racist Rant
The discussion below took place on 13 August 2020, in light of a racist rant by top level employer and close blood relative of the owners of the Ramsaran’s company, Naila Ramsaran, following the defeat of the United National Congress at the 2020 General Elections on 10 August 2020. On Facebook, she referred to supporters of the People’s National Movement as cockroaches and advocated for adding contraceptives to their water supply as a form of racial genocide. This was among a plethora of post-election racist commentary, including those of a secondary school teacher, making the rounds on social media. A host of a morning radio programme called on the Prime Minister to calm the waters and instruct the public to forgive Ms Ramsaran and for others for their vitriol.
Continue reading Racism and Forgiveness: Token Apologies Are Not Enough
Posted on August 12, 2020
by Communications Manager
Elections & Boundaries Commission – ebctt.com
With an electorate of 1,134, 135 in the forty-one electoral districts in Trinidad and Tobago, 658,297 votes were polled, giving rise to a voter turnout of 58.04%.
These are the official Preliminary Results of the 2020 Parliamentary Election.
Click here for “The Preliminary Results of the 2020 Parliamentary Elections” (pdf)
There were official requests for recounts by the People’s Democratic Patriots and the United National Congress. The electoral districts where recounts were requested are:
Continue reading The Preliminary Results of the 2020 Parliamentary Elections
By Letters to the Editor
August 09, 2020 – wired868.com
Naila Ramsaran: ‘Let us the hardworking UNC supporters continue to pay taxes and mind the loafers that support the PNM… I hope [Prime Minister Dr Keith] Rowley starts putting contraceptives in their water supply yes because these cockroaches keep populating and the only thing they know to do is vote…’
Continue reading ‘These PNM cockroaches keep populating’; Ramsaran’s racist rant
By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 10, 2020
I have been a political activist and newspaper columnist for the past forty-five years. I have written for many newspapers including the New York Amsterdam News, the New York Tribune, the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Baltimore Sun. I have never been subjected to as many invectives that I have received over my decision to support the UNC in this election.
Continue reading A Time for Forgiveness and Rejuvenation