When T&T gained independence in 1962 we reveled in the possibility that we had set ourselves upon a path to deal with the problems of colonialism, particularly the sinful racism, that had disfigured our society. In 1970, disappointed that Black people were still being denied jobs and position because of their color, the Black Power Rebellion added the struggle of anti-blackness to the national agenda.
Fifty years after independence, we are still plagued with racial discrimination even though it has taken a different dimension. In the 1970s we were faced with white over black racism, today it’s brown over black, the former having inculcated some of the nastiest racial biases of the white ruling class. Continue reading The Racial Divide→
While the world has been impacted by the Black Lives Matter movement, none of the political parties of T&T has issued a statement on its relevance to black people of this country. Nor, for that matter, have they told us how they will deal with the impoverishment, unemployment, alienation and miseducation of our black youths.
Necessarily, black youths from these under resourced communities have reminded us that black lives matter and that there must be an accounting for past wrongs and present grievances. Predictably, there will be more clashes between the police and the youths of these deprived communities if things continue as they are going. Continue reading Do Black Lives Matter in Trinidad?→
Some people in this country are intent on shifting the dialogue away from the questionable and seemingly extrajudicial killing of three men by the police in Morvant, which was captured on CCTV footage, to centering discussions on the conduct of black youths in deprived communities. The obfuscation of the issue, evident in the commentaries by leaders, and echoed by radio and online commentators, perpetuates the view that when black people in poor communities are killed and otherwise abused, it is they who are at fault. Another twist to the narrative by the police and by the government is the claim that protests against the killings are part of an organised plot to destabilise the country. This perspective serves the agenda of those who have orchestrated and/or sanctioned the use of strong-arm tactics to stifle the protests. Meanwhile, the real issues of community neglect, crime (including white colour crime) and the heavy-handed approach of the police in these mostly black communities are pushed aside. Continue reading Brute Force, Blame and Bigotry: Police Killings in Morvant→
Approximately 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. Continue reading Protests and State Violence: Leaders Must Stop Dodging Responsibility→
IF one ever believed the PNM Government could solve the present crime epidemic in the country, one had better think again.
It is unlikely to do so for the simple reason that neither our Prime Minister nor Minister of National Security seems to understand the magnitude of the challenges that face our civilisation or way of life. Continue reading Who is without blame?→
Army generals appearing on television to demand the resignation and arrest of an elected civilian head of state seems like a textbook example of a coup. And yet that is certainly not how corporate media are presenting the weekend’s events in Bolivia.
No establishment outlet framed the action as a coup; instead, President Evo Morales “resigned” (ABC News, 11/10/19), amid widespread “protests” (CBS News, 11/10/19) from an “infuriated population” (New York Times, 11/10/19) angry at the “election fraud” (Fox News, 11/10/19) of the “full-blown dictatorship” (Miami Herald, 11/9/19). When the word “coup” is used at all, it comes only as an accusation from Morales or another official from his government, which corporate media have been demonizing since his election in 2006 (FAIR.org, 5/6/09, 8/1/12, 4/11/19).
As I mentioned in the first article in this three part series, the Sedition Act is not archaic or outdated, but it was an extremely bad law in the first place given its deliberate vagueness, its colonial intentions and the way that it was weaponized against those who resisted the brutal British empire. Critiquing the bill using words such as outdated and archaic gives the impression that it once was a good law, and it is just the passage of time that makes it problematic in the present time. Nothing could be further from the truth, as from its creation in Trinidad and Tobago, the sedition law was a tool of the colonial elite that was used against the public interest. Continue reading Sedition and other Nonsensical Colonial Laws→
Oozing from the barrels of blood that flowed from the bullet-ridden corpses of last week’s 24 murder victims and almost as many who suffered serious to critical gunshot wounds were several important lessons that we may choose to ignore, to our peril. Violent crimes have spiralled out of control, and most people are inured to the blood and gore that once shocked us. Now, spectators calmly record the macabre murders on their smart-phone cameras, video-clips to be uploaded on the Intrernet. Some achieve viral videos ratings, providing entertainment for huge audiences on social media. Continue reading Crime and punishment T&T style→
“I bear a grudge that we in Trinidad do not pay enough attention to our heroes. They are the people that will give Trinidad life.”
—Beryl McBurnie quoted in Judy Raymond, Beryl McBurnie
There has been much coverage about the horrible murder of the prime minister’s boyhood friend John Miles and his wife Eulyn at the hands of a monstrously deranged person. This dastardly act led the PM to bemoan: “What have we become? What are we producing as ‘the next generation’? John and I grew up together in poverty, with pride, but violence and criminality were never part of our life” (Express, May 4). Continue reading Cultural & Environmental Violence→