PNM plans mixed Caroni communities

By Adrian Boodan,
November 19, 2006

Prime Minister Patrick Manning says the PNM is planning to create “mixed communities” on Caroni lands, so as to avoid ethnic confrontations that plague other countries around the world.

Speaking at Waterloo High School yesterday, after a tour of the Waterloo area, Manning said the Caroni land distribution programme would be expanded to 18,000 lots and would be available to the national community at subsidised rates of $30,000 and less.

Anybody working for $8,000 and less could apply for the lots, he added.

Manning’s address to residents of Waterloo and PNM supporters came after an earlier tour of the area, which is in the constituency of Couva North.

This seat was, until last month, held by former prime minister and former political leader, now chairman of the UNC, Basdeo Panday.

Manning, joined on his tour by Senators Christine Sahadeo and Satish Ramroop, Jerry Narace and Nal Ramsingh, the Couva North PNM hopeful, was greeted warmly in the area.

PNM diehards from across Central arrived by the maxi-loads to join the walkabout.

Among the supporters was Kenneth Valley, father of Kevin Valley, the 21-year-old man of Boot Hill, Chaguanas who was slain in Felicity two Sundays ago.

The killing sparked a wave of unrest between Boot Hill and Felicity residents which has since subsided into an uneasy calm.

Manning, in a short address, prior to the start of his walkabout, urged supporters to put their best behaviour forward as the PNM prepares to take the Couva North seat when he calls the next general election.

As he pinched babies’ cheeks and greeted people on the streets, in parlours and rumshops, many residents said they were glad to see the Prime Minister in the area.

Several of them complained that the area needed employment programmes as much as it needed drains.

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

8 Responses to “PNM plans mixed Caroni communities”

  • Dookeran criticises PM
    CONGRESS of the People political leader, Winston Dookeran has criticised Prime Minister Patrick Manning who said he intends to create mixed communities using Caroni lands.

    …GOPIO condemns Manning’s intention to create ‘mixed communities’
    The Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) has condemned Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s intention to create “mixed communities” on Caroni lands.

  • When I went to my little village school, Cumuto RC, Deo Singh lived down the road and went to the same school. He was my best friend. Hazel Leed and Hazel Alleyne lived near the junction and went to the same school, Lazeena Ali lived near the school, and so did the teachers, Mrs. Emmanuel and Mr. Matura. Raymond Paltoo lived across the trace from the Maturas. Neville Chai’s father owned the shop, one of them in the junction. The others were owned by the Lees and the toolsie’s. This was the only school in the village and it was a mixed community. Now, the Prime Minister has to deliberately set up “mixed” communities, to much condemnation from “Dooks” and GOPIO? What damn foolishness is this? We call this progress? Next thing you know we would need workshops on how to dwell together in unity, something we thought we had always done. Some outsiders have been interfering in the local politics maybe?

    Is Gopio going to ask for help in getting “separate lands”? I hope to God not.

  • PNM denies ‘douglarisation’ plan

    The ruling PNM has complained to the Trinidad Publishing Co over the headline “Douglarisation” on the front page of this week’s Sunday Guardian.

    The headline story was a report on statements made by Prime Minister Patrick Manning during a walkabout on Saturday in the Couva North constituency.

    In a letter to Guardian, the party’s public relations officer Jerry Narace said that “at no time whatsoever during the Prime Minister’s tour…was any reference made by him to ‘douglarisation’ or the issue of mixed or inter-racial marriage.”

    Narace said Manning “spoke about increasing residential lots from 7,248 to 18,602 which not only guaranteed Caroni workers their lots as was promised but would also facilitate equity for the wider national community by the provision of additional lots.”

    He said Manning “repeated that the public policy of the PNM administration has always advocated that our natural resources, as are the assets of the former Caroni (1975) Ltd, should be used equitably for the benefit of all members of the national community, regardless of class, race, religion or political affiliation.”

    Narace said “the political leader was clear when he stated that he envisaged a housing development of not just former workers of Caroni (1975) Ltd, who at any rate would have comprised people of varied ethnicities, representative of the diversity of Trinidad and Tobago.”

    Narace described the Sunday Guardian headline as misleading, saying it “transformed a policy that is consistent with the policy of successive PNM administrations and ought to be the official policy of every government of Trinidad and Tobago (the distribution of housing without regard to employment status, race, creed or political affiliation).

    ©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

  • Dane Morton-Gittens

    I really wonder why a policy should be made on a practice that comes naturally to us Trinidadians and Tobagonians. The fact is, people migrate to where they feel comfortable living and if that means living in a mixed community, that’s up to them. This should never have become a political policy statement; as such it reeks of a hidden agenda.

    As a plural society we have lived in harmony and we have naturally learned about other cultures and races and blend it into our own mores, norms and values. This was able to happen because of our inherently inclusive, sociable natures – there was no force or imposition applied, against which, as human beings, and I think as Trinbagonians, we would naturally and strongly rebel. We don’t need anyone telling us how we should mix, who we should mix with, where to live or how we should behave towards other races and cultures. When politicians make it an issue they politicize it and then it becomes a problem. Highlighting and subtly supporting accommodation, friendship, equality and fair play would do more to bring our people, of all races together, not what the PM is spouting. Forcing people into mixed communities or to accept others they don’t feel comfortable with would lead to two things. The first, racial tensions could be created or exacerbated, leading to violence, and second, people who are inherently opposed for whatever reasons would move out and form a separate community of their own admixture, and perhaps try to make a point of it which would not have occurred to them otherwise.

    History has shown that governments who try racial blending by mixing communities sooner or later cause an outbreak of civil war and ethnic cleansing, Yugoslavia is a prime example. The Nazi party tried to rid the society of undesirables by whitening them or killing them and this was transported to South America. In certain countries in South America there were many attempts to whiten the population by so called “mixing of races” in an effort to get rid of the black population. There is a particular scientific term for what is being attempted or suggested and that is Eugenics (science of selected breeding). Is this a case of such, to rid our society of East Indians or Africans? I don’t believe our society should be separated into small enclaves and enclosed communities but the way the PM is putting it would surely encourage this phenomenon.

  • Mr. Manning and the former Prime Minister Basday Panday are both guilty of fostering racial disharmony in out Nation. It is a distinction emerging from the politicization of everything that showed a political edge in a Nation that is far from being politically literate.

    Mr. Manning should be ashamed for suggesting this form of “Social Engineering” which will further exascerbate our politic of Independence. It would appear that with all the problems that are negatively affecting the quality of life for the majority of our citizenery, race appears to be the only one that provides for sustained interest.

    Affordability and choice are the primary reasons why people live where they do. Now, the sixty four dollar question is, which of these two groups does he believe to be inferior so that they will be uplifted by their designated neighbours? Is there any room for the Syrians, Chinese, Jews and others of mixed ancestry. In what appeared to be a major political ploy is in reality a politically insulting idea being fostered on the poorest of the poor. Guinea pigsyou say, well, that is how the poor are treated in a land of plenty by those who view them as mere disposables.

  • Am I to understand from this Guardian article, and the Official response and comments that no Trinidadian of African ancestry ever workedfor CAroni Ltd? Planned communities are the norm all over the world, and the racial mix of any new government distribution of crown lands, no matter where they ar located, should reflect theethnix mix of people in the socio-economic group to be served by the area. The planned community of Columbia, MD USA took eliberate steps to ensure that a good ethnic and economic mix was arrived at.
    Such action makes sense. Would it be in the best interest of any group in the country, to have the government distribute prime stale lands to one ethnic group?
    .We forget, some of us, that the government has to plan for the whole country If we took the PNM designation off this plan, would it no t make sense? It makes sense to thinking people, of whom I like to believe I am one. Would we want at this time to be deliberately setting up ethnic enclaves, when for its entire history of house building for the peole of TnT the PNM government has built housing for those in need?

  • Panday misread history

    By George Alleyne,
    November 29 2006

    It was the forcing of the resettlement of Jews on Palestine in 1947, the establishing of the State of Israel by the United Nations in May of 1949, in Palestine, and the Jewish military-backed expulsion of Palestinians from lands their forebears had called home for generations which had triggered the hostilities haunting Palestine and the Palestinians to this day.

    It was not a question of forcing “mixed communities” on Palestinians by the Israelis that caused the bloodshed, as former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday declared recently in commenting on Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s announcement of the establishment of mixed communities in former Caroni (1975) Limited sugar estates in Central Trinidad. Instead, Panday’s argument has no relevance to the comment by Manning on mixed communities. Equally, it bears no relevance to the sad, lingering Arab-Israeli confrontation over Palestine.

    In addition, what relevance is there to the Administration’s implied intent of encouraging the settlement of Trinidad and Tobago taxpayers of varying economic, social and cultural backgrounds on lands managed by Government for the taxpayers, with the beneficiaries, presumably, being Trinidadians and Tobagonians? The beneficiaries would, and not without reason, include members of religious groups such a Muslim, Hindus and Christians; by age — the elderly, middle-aged and the young; by ethnicity — persons of Carib, Chinese, Indian, Jewish, Pakistani, English, French, Sierra Leonese, Nigerian, Spanish, Arawak and Gambian descent; by economic grouping — lower income, middle income and the defining can go on.

    Unlike the resettlement of Jews in Palestine, who by nationality were Germans, French, Polish, Russian, American and Italian, among others, no one can readily state that persons of Carib and Arawak descent, whose ancestors may have left here when Spanish colonisers invaded Trinidad are planning to return en masse to reclaim ancestral lands by force! Should this take place, however, there would be understandable resistance. In much the same manner, I am certain, that there would be resistance to any attempt by former slaves, indentureds and colonisers seeking to resettle by force of arms in ancestral homes in, say, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, India, France, Spain, Pakistan, England, Gambia, Bangladesh or China.

    There has been no public reference nor inference by Prime Minister Manning, nor his Housing Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, nor the Public Administration and Information Minister, Dr Lenny Saith, of housing in Central Trinidad by force any Trinidadians and Tobagonians, whatever their religious, ethnic, age or economic group. I wish to make clear that I am not saying that former Prime Minister Panday said that Government contemplated the use of force. What he did state, however, was; “You do not force mixed communities upon people, as the Israelis have found out on the West Bank, where they try to force one community upon another, as it ended up in bloodshed.” Please read my lips.

    Let us examine the background to the Arab-Israeli confrontation. Almost immediately after World War I, the United Kingdom received a mandate from the then League of Nations to administer the affairs of Palestine, which up to then had been a part of the (Turkish) Ottoman Empire. Turkey, as readers will recall, had been one of the nations defeated by the Allies in World War I, and it was sharing or carving up time for the victors.

    Meanwhile, European Jews, whose forbears had long left their ancestral lands had become increasingly uneasy following the rise in Germany, in 1931-1933, of Adolf Hitler and his Fascist National Socialist Party and their strident anti-Jewish propaganda and physical, indeed brutal attacks on Jews. In addition, in several other European countries, including Russia, anti-Semitism was on the rise. In this uncomfortable setting many Jews began to look toward Palestine and the establishment theme of a Zionist State. In 1937, the United Kingdom proposed to the League of Nations the participating of Palestine into what it projected would be an Arab-Jewish State. Two years later, in 1939, it put to the League that its (the UK’s) mandate be dismantled and an independent Palestine be established ten years later with limited Jewish immigration in the intervening period. I ask the reader to bear with me.

    The immigration initiative which set limited targets for (the immigration of) Jews, required, in the run up to 1949, Arab agreement. Britain has not been called perfidious Albion for nothing. In November of 1947, however, the United Nations, which had replaced the League of Nations, introduced its well known partition plan. Thousands of Jews, most of them armed with sophisticated weapons entered Palestine, uninvited, and without legal authorisation. In late 1948, the United Kingdom yielded her Palestine mandate to the United Nations, and less than a year later, in May 1949, pulled out her military and naval forces.

    The Jews immediately established the State of Israel, complete with a Constitution, and in the same month of the British withdrawal, (May, 1949) presto presto was admitted to the United Nations. It was this series of events and not mixed communities, Patrick Manning style, that had led to the bloodshed to which Panday has referred. The Zionists had won and Arab nationalism would suffer another in a series of major setbacks over the years. I wish to make clear to the reader that nothing I have written should be construed to mean that I am opposed to the existence of Israel as a State. It was merely to set the record straight.,48411.html

  • Thank God for educated people like George Alleyne. My fear for our society is that when such revered heads shall pass on to the ancestors, non-thinking, irrational people, like the one whose record he had to set straight will prevail with their emotional non-sense designed to inflame.

    Now my aunt and her husband are long dead, but there lived in California, just across from the movie house, a certain Mr. Cortey Wilkes. He worked all his years at Brechin Castle and Usine Ste Madeline, then they were all merged, and some shut down, and Caroni Ltd. became the state enterprise. Mr. Wilkes was the husband of my aunt Mary. Their children are thus entitled to lands at Caroni estate. Mr. Wilkes was the darkest African man I knew, and my aunt Mary was a bright “Red” woman, a mixture of Scottish, Amerindian and African blood. She was an Eccles by birth.

    I hope no one will object to this family moving on to land at Caroni, for they certainly earned it. They might be part of that mixed community Mr. Manning spoke of. When I asked whether any Afro-trinis ever worked at Caroni, I already knew the answer. No one else has responded to that particular point, apparently because it cuts into their argument that the lands should go to one ethnic
    group.I know this group’s housing needs were neglected under the UNC government, everyone’s housing needs were, but that is no reason to give them alone, lands that belong to all the people.

    Before the Indians were imported to rescue the sugar plantations, the African who were enslaved worked that land. Alleyne is right. All of the people own it. Living in mixed communities is the Trinidad and Tobago way.

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