‘Ethnic cleansing’ of Whom in T&T?

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
July 19, 2009


DoctorsThe recent accusation by UNC’s Dr. Tim Gopeesingh of “ethnic cleansing” of Indian-Trinbagonian, not Indo-Trinbagonian, doctors at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital at the supposed hands of the PNM-Manning administration, smacks of an innocuous similarity of “reverse discrimination” by Euro-White Americans whenever African-Americans seem to make some modicum of socioeconomic progress.

The fact of the matter is that the alleged charge by Dr. Gopeesingh can only be described in acceptable layman’s terms as “chupid”, scandalous, irrelevant and puerile.

Indeed, the facts/data are clear and precise. It may be true that as Dr. Gopeesingh has alleged that two-three Indian-Trinbagonian doctors were either denied promotion to positions at the hospital and/or other doctors of similar ethnicity were forced to repatriate because of “frustration” at this institution.

However, such data only paints a miniscule picture of the real professional landscape/profession in T&T.

In other words, either by accident or design, what Dr. Gopeesingh has purposefully done is to wield a massive, all-inclusive discrimination paintbrush on the professional class in T&T a la Euro-White Americans’ totally unfounded assertion that “all Black people are lazy.” Everyone now knows that sweeping assertion is totally false simply because one of these supposedly “lazy” Black people is now the elected president of the United States– elected by all the people.

The afore-mentioned Euro-White American characterization is null and void– so too is the characterization of Dr. Gopeesingh.

T&T’s professional stats are very, very, very clear and totally irrefutable: Let’s deal with them.

The vast majority of doctors who comprise the medical profession in T &T are Indian.

The overwhelming majority of lawyers who are members of the legal professional in T&T are Indian.

The vast majority of respected professional economists who publicly criticize Central Bank Governor, Ewart Williams, 24-7-365, are Indian-Trinbagonians.

The overwhelming majority of civil servants at the Permanent Secretary and Deputy Permanent Secretary levels and a little lower in the country’s public service are Indian.

Indeed, 99.9 percent of the drivers who drive the “big truck” on Carnival Monday and Tuesday are Indian-Trinbagonians. That’s real.

Similarly, the majority of undergraduate students at UWI are Indian-Trinbagonians.

The same is also true in the financial/business professional sectors; and the list goes on and on…

The fact of the matter is that forty years ago, it was an aberration, albeit anomaly, to see an Indian-Trinbagonian as a post man/woman– that’s not the ethnic reality today, Dr. Gopeesingh.

The same aberration/anomaly also holds true in the profession of teachers, police men/women, etc– that’s not the ethnic reality today, Dr. Gopeesingh.

Moreover, forty years ago, it was “an out-of-body experience” to see a young Indian-Trinbagonian, male or female, “beating pan” in public– that’s the ethnic reality today, Dr. Gopeesingh.

Most specifically, forty years ago, when one walked into a government’s office as in a ministry, one had to look real, real, real hard to see an Indian-Trinbagonian civil servant sitting at his/her desk– that’s not the ethnic reality today, Dr. Gopeesingh.

In fact, the reverse is true– today, one has to look real, real, real hard to see an African-Trinbagonian, not Afro-Trinbaqgonian, sitting at his/her desk– that’s the ethnic reality today, Dr. Gopeesingh.
Truth Be Told: Indian-Trinbagonians have now taken over the professional workforce, workplace and working class in T&T.

The fact of the matter is that the only professional categories in which African-Trinbagonians predominate are in the membership of the prisons’ population, vagrants and URP/CEPEP.

In the final analysis, who is really fooling whom, Dr. Tim Gopeesingh? “Where’s the beef?”

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies and University of the West Indies.

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17 thoughts on “‘Ethnic cleansing’ of Whom in T&T?”

  1. Beautifully written Dr. Kwame Nantambu, I couldn’t have put it better myself.

    To those calling for an independent commission to investigate the inequalities that exist, I’d welcome this as it would highlight exactly what Mr Natambu has just highlighted.

  2. An excellent piece indeed Dr. Kwame Nantambu. It is the type of fearless response that is needed to counteract the nonsense that‘s spewed daily by these selfish, greedy, ‘dog with a bone,’ tribalist , supposedly educated , phony citizens like Tim Gopeesingh and company. Now on to the real task of educating our people – particularly the young- as to historic reasons why these folks achieved any semblance of success in not only our country , but Apartheid South Africa, tribal Kenya under Moi , ethnically divided Sri Lanka , Fiji , and Guyana. Let them know that folks from the global African Diaspora led by us from this twin republic -if necessary-are ready to push back and regain what is rightfully theirs. It is imperative if their children are to eventually begin to take pride in themselves, and rise to lofty heights , in turn respect and love themselves , along with future families.
    Yes , we would have a Commission of enquires to investigate the bogus claims of not only ethnic cleansing, but if you wish , genocide, and wanton terrorism akin to John Crow Southern America, former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Armenian/ Young Turks Europe , Iraq ,Afghanistan, . However, it won’t be before they agree to have one to investigate 1990 attack on our country by Pseudo Muslim front man Abu Backer , to oust a democratically elected government.
    Let us re iterate for the benefit of these and similar tribal chiefs , that no one really cares if every Indo national wishes to choose to, and are successful in becoming a lawyers , doctors , or other high end professional in our country via hard work ,education and all such , as this is what we expect in a thriving democracy where our motto supports the notion that “ every creed and race , finds and equal place. ”What we desire now more than every is the long overdue level playing field, and systematic social approach that’s necessary to bring about this fact for all our citizens – including the children of African slaves.
    Now that we are importing all our foods , and Sugar / Rice agriculture farming is dead, lets immediately begin a process of comprehensive land reform and distribution of State lands , that would ensure that Afro Trini parents can also use their fertile lands as collateral to get the loans to send their kids to prestigious Universities abroad. Let them get the land too so that they can participate in agricultural and business enterprise practices , thus indicating to their kids that they have no need to depends on our overwhelmed government for jobs.
    It is ironic how one main point is missing from the entire discussion when the crafty historical revisionist speak of this country. Let’s remind them. Like big brother America and other parts of the globe, Africans were stolen from the Virgin Continent /cradle of civilization ,and brought to Trinidad and Tobago to work the land as slaves.
    While here, they were subjected to some of the most dehumanizing atrocities ,and psychological traumas one can imagine at the hands of evil , greedy , white , conniving ,savages. It is only a fool would thing that 400 years later , the latent effects won’t still be eminent- hence the present numerous culturally devoid maladies . When Europeans eventually saw the light, that slavery was not only morally reprehensible for so call Christians , and recognized that it was an economic burden -as alluded to by none other than the Father of the nation , and African prince Dr. Williams- they decided to end it ,and replace them mainly in T&T and Guyana with the willing bodies of East Indians escape the drudgery of the cast system and poverty of India.
    Here however is the catch, There was no compensation for their stewardship. In Yankee land , all former slaves are still awaiting their promised 40 acres and a mule , while European Jews and great grand children are getting compensation checks from the former guilt stricken Nazi German , thieving Swiss bankers, and similar European machines decades later. http://money.cnn.com/2005/06/02/news/fortune500/wachovia_slavery/

    In Trinidad and Tobago , nothing , while our East Indian friends? Well we know the answer.

    We refuse to therefore stand by today and allow a people that have thrived under so called black government , continue to lambaste our people and country – all with a selfish , and greedy end game in mind that’s akin to the crap that Jagdeo the closet communist/ racist is practicing in Guyana, on the close heels of his neo Marxist Jargan ,and CIA Yankee wife benefactors.
    Away with apologies , and guilt talk . Let’s demand reparations , once and for all across the Caribbean, and our country in particular , for the pass misdeeds that benefited everyone , but Africans.
    Keep them honest Dr. Nantambu, for our country deserves no less.
    Warm regards.

  3. If there was a sudden daparture of medical doctors from the Port of Spain General Hospital, and those doctors,it turned out, were mostly of East Indian ancestry, or Indians,born and educated in India recently, I would be inclined to think that it was because Dr. Bartolomew was making noise about people not having valid licences to practice, and people claiming to be specialists who really only had their BA from a pre-med institution.

    I would assume that they were “taking in front, before in front take them”, and so, getting out of the public spotlight before the beam focussed on them. The length of time it takes to validate the qualifications of a person who graduated from The University of New Delhi for example, could cause that person to be hired pending validation. Even in the US,it takes yeears to realise that a supposed doctor was in fact a quack.

    There are no systems in place to remove even incompetent doctors, much less to target those of a specific ethnic background. Dr.in front of your name in TT is still carte blanche for all sorts of mischief.

    Dr. Gopiesingh should subject his concluions about this issue to the same academic rigour he encourages in his students at UWI, or are they to adopt faulty reasoning and jump to confusions also?(Confusions here is not a typo). Now that at least one well known physician had denied his assertion, perhaps he should gracefully say he misspoke, take it back and move parliament forward.Crime, the water supply, and the state of education need attention.

  4. About 2 decades ago I decided to follow my heart and become a progressive humanist joining the Buddhist faith .The world is coming to recognize this religion as it continue to make strides and efforts towards curbing wars, as well as encouraging tolerance and non class based peaceful coexistence amongst all mankind. http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/Buddhism-Wins-Religion-World-Awa-t280783.html

    As we follow some of the inflamed , politically motivated language across our various media entities by self serving alleged leaders ,here for our edification , are some find thoughts as given by the Buddha himself , that might cause us to pause and head in a different direction if the will still exist :- 1. “By reflection and contemplation, one begins to see the unpleasantness of saying foolish things or just babbling or chatting away for no good reason.”
    2. “So much of human anguish and despair comes from the added extra that is born of ignorance in the moment. It is sad to realize how the misery and anguish and despair of humanity is based upon delusion; the despair is empty and meaningless. When you see this , you begin to feel infinite compassion for all beings. How can you hate anyone or bear grudges or condemn anyone who is caught in this bond of ignorance? Everyone is influenced to do the things they do by their wrong views of things.”
    3. He asked , “ why is it we still feel discontented , even when we have the best of everything? We are not completely happy even if we have a beautiful house , a car , the perfect marriage, lovely bright children, and all the rest of it-and we are certainly not contended when we do have all these things!…..The earth is not the place for our contentment; it’s not supposed to be . When we realise that , we no longer expect contentment from planet earth; we do not make that demand. .. Until we realise that this planet cannot satisfy all our wants , we keep on asking, Why can’t you make me content Mother Earth? We are like little children who suckle their mother , constantly trying to get the most out of her and wanting her always to nature and feed them and make them feel content.”

    It is fast time to stop grasping and let go of hatred , anger selfishness , negativity , internal demons , unknown problems ,and political obsessions. It is the only way to end suffering. One is not saying mind you, to ignore societal problems and pressing issues, as that would be totally responsible. However new visions and approaches are necessary so as to solve national affairs to the benefit of most, if not all.
    The last few months have seen a vast array of brutal crimes that were directed mainly against the innocent and weak amongst us. Two recent ones were the gruesome murder of a little girl in John John and the wife of one of our Security forces .
    These deaths along with several others across the nation can hardly get the attention they deserve due to the undue attention that we are forced to focus on this almost pitiful , idiotic and childish claims of politically motivated ethnic violence on selective nationals of our country.
    I am scared , not for the reasons some would think , as I am made of strong stock . After all, didn’t my ancestors not survived 400 years of some of the worst atrocities ever known to mankind ,and are still standing as resilient as ever?
    Heavens forbid however, that Chavez our neighboring socialist military nut decides to invade our Twin Republic to add our vast oil and gas fortunes to his fast depleting ,and wasted ones in Caracas. With nationals like some of these self loathing , non patriotic leeches that our countries are afflicted with , my question is ,who need enemies like our bombastic buffoon ? We would all be speaking Spanish in a week , rest assured, as our Tethron boys won‘t stand a chance.

  5. The Trinidad and Tobago Government need to commission an independent investigation of ethnic power in Trinidad and Tobago. They should spend money and hire a foreign based investigative group with absolutely no ties or connections to any group in T%T. They should provide and break down the numbers in every important employment category, including the private sector.

    People like to play dead to see what kind of funeral they will get. Manning should oblige them.

  6. Two coments: neal I am surprised to hear you claim the Buddist belief system, then turn around and called Chavez a nut. If he was a nut, why would his people vote him into office by increasin majorities, in elections that no one could claim are corrupt? Chavez is redistributing the wealth of his country- the gold first, and now the oil, that Europeans believed was their by conquest of the indigenous people, to the children of the indigenes and the children of the slaves, as well as the mulattos, mestizos and other combination typical in a cnquered country where equality only comes at night, not even them, with the man on top, taking the woman he wants, and conquerring her. They hate Chavez because he is half Indio hald Negro. Who is he to be running a country where whites have ruled since Columbus’ time? Do your homework, son.

    The recent uproar in Cambridge Mass. home of Harvard, where renowned scholar Dr. Louis Gates was arrested for breaking into his own home when the lock jammed, show that racism is worldwide, and so,it would be nearly impossible to find a panel of people who could impartially look at racism, unless you chose some people from the indigeous people of the Americas. Everyone else is tainted by conquest and attitudes that go with it.

    If you live in a mixed society,the indignities heaped upon people daily, by those who seem to assume that they are better off, whether in wealth or ethnicity, is obvious.

  7. That’s because Ms. L I too have my attachments and cravings that must be eventually curbed as I travel along the part to of the enlightenment / awakening process. My discussion had absolutely nothing to do with Chavez.
    If the people of Venezuela believe that their lives were enhanced as a result of him discarding his military sword / pistolerios and picked up his 3 piece political suit to save them from a lifetime of exploitation and poverty, who am I to be perturb?
    My principal concerns are for halting the progress of the enemies of my country, whether they are local elites or world acclaimed traitors. These folks take pride in insulting the intelligence of global citizens while trying to jockey for political power via transparent, childish ploys, and depicting themselves as victims of some unknown, politically driven prosecutions.
    Chaves simply was a useful conduit to make my bigger point of non patriotic citizens, in much the same way that Obama capitalize on the Cambridge Cops despicable behavior to make his bigger point of continued racism in America, while trying to push his stuck in doldrums Universal Health Care Reform Bill.
    It’s all about the end game Ms.
    L. Let’s keep them honest, as we practice our Chess playing skills, yes?
    I agree with you Cousin Reul D on your suggestion for an investigation of ethnic power in T&T. I particularly like your point of need for some focus on a break down of “the numbers in every important employment category, including the private sector.” This would finally put to rest the lies and propaganda of some of the deceptive victimization agents that are proliferating daily, and seems inclined to destroy our country by any means necessary.
    In addition, I would like to see an up to date comprehensive census, and a look at immigration/ emigration as it affected our country since 1962, under the various governments. Me thinks that just like our confused US Hispanic and Latin Americans population, some ethnicities here in Sweet T&T aka Rainbow Country are unsure of who they are, and as such, has helped bolster the numbers in favor of one or the other of the two dominant majorities – depending on which ways the wind are blowing on any given day.

  8. It is interesting to note that at one point in our history the professions and civil service were dominated by people of African origin. There are those who believe that this is no longer the case.How do you explain this decline?

  9. Once more cousin T- Man the twisted provocateur, always with a loaded question , but never really having just the necessary courage to ask what is clearly on his mind in a straightforward manner. In essence choosing to insult the intelligence of the many of us low cast peons that he suspects barely lasted a day over elementary Schoolin backward T&T.
    Listen buddy, at one point in our history the entire professions and civil service were dominated by white Europeans , along with their numerous bastardized mixed race kids , and a paltry speck of selective token local elites , while the grandkids of indentured , and ex slaves were running around the country bare feet as many dreamed of a better day to come.
    Today the situation has change , and the children of Indenture workers are controlling the entire country , still bawling about victimization , while their African counterparts are left to garner the crumbs that are given to them occasionally by misguided political leaders, as well as greedy and selfish business conglomerates of all types, and accepting blame for everything that ever took place in our country since the Caribs were devouring our docile Arawak cousins for food.
    I do not know how “ you explain this decline,” but is almost certain that you are going to quickly inform us starting with superior culture ,dedication , proper work ethic, and no help by racist African political elites.
    I have an idea as to how we can change this however, but have a distinctive notion that you do not care to hear as well, so I prefer not to bore you.
    Good luck to you in your endeavors .

  10. I know at least twenty in my age group who migrated. They are PhD’s and Department Heads at US and Canadian colleges.One rose to Vice-President of the World Bank. Their children are MD’s, Pilots,and one a dancer with the National Ballet of Canada. They moved on and made room for others. Trinidad’s most popular export is educated Afro-Centric people. Some return later,like Dr. Selwyn Cudjoe, Dr. Kwame Nantambu and Dr. Theodore Lewis.

  11. “Conquer the angry man by love. Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness. Conquer the miser with generosity.” ~Buddha

  12. My African Brothers Of Trinidad and Tobago here he the Indian poulation will never be satisfied until they control everything.They have control every segment of the society from business, law professional, education etc.Now they are whining about the Government profession and next time around will be the Military…..they will never stop until they control everything, thats part of their nature, greed and tribalistic tendency.Just ask yourself this question: Do you think if blacks were brought to Trinidad and Indians were there before they would have accord us the same treatment that we have accorded them?.Or put another, way do you think if Blacks were shipped from Africa to India we could have prosper in India the way they do here? I say Hell no.How is that all black- ruled country in the world…the economy is overwhemingly control by a ethnic minority that does not look like them ? Black people (especially we in the diaspora) are very accomodating, forgiving, sharing, … intergating and assimilatory in our society. We do not come to the table with identity baggage like some other people and such a lot of people see this as weakness or laziness and turn around and bawl discrimination.Talk about etnic cleansing I think they should revisit the Uganda tragedy.

  13. Indians in T&T were not facilitated by Blacks at the outset, but were given a headstart by the British.The Indians latched on to the opportunities afforded to them by the Colonial masters and proceeded to utilize their entrepreneurial skills which is embedded in their DNA, to enter a variety of wealth creating business activities.And yes, they are on a desperate mission to wrestle political power from what they incorrectly perceive to be a Black political party.Political power is the one area which has eluded the Indians(Hindus).Fortunately, Indians in T&T are not a homogeneous group. There are Muslims, Christians, Hindus and many who consider themselves Trinis first. The PMN has examples of the former categories of Indians.The Indian base is not as unified as the African base in T&T and that is why the PNM has been in power for the last fifty years , except for the short period when the “Indian’ party managed to form a very fragile coalition.Indians have done very well in T&T under the leadership of the PNM and I believe their political leaders are fully aware of this.Their continued agitation for rights and equality will only enhance their status as the Indian population in T&T continue to outstrip the slower growth of the African population.

    1. “their entrepreneurial skills which is embedded in their DNA”

      Good lord, are you serious? You really think that more stereotyping is the way out of racism?

  14. “Craving, whether for wealth, sex, power, or fame, can lead you to suffering. But if you have a healthy desire- like the desire to protect life, to protect the environment, or to help people , while still taking the time to take care of yourself , and to love and take care of loved ones- this is the kind of desire that will bring you to happiness.” Thich Nhat Hanh

    Don’t forget T- Man that they also take the lead in suicide rates across the population. It would appear as if greed and selfishness that overshadow most of their successes, does not necessarily translate to inner peace, much desired well being, and full long term happiness.
    You said that “Indians have done very well in T&T under the leadership of the PNM and I believe their political leaders are fully aware of this.” No one really cares if this deceptive leadership is aware, as long as you T- Man and their other vast fan base are. The biggest irony however is this, even as- you claim- their embedded DNA ensured huge dividends and entrepreneurial successes, or they were able to prosper educationally, and career wise in the much maligned Public Service sector, how much gratitude in turn did they display toward a nation that allowed them to thrive? Were many able to suppress the clannish and often selfish predilections and reach out via employment to others in need outside the tribal chasm, even while bawling about governmental job opportunities discrimination? You know the answer.

    Big brother America has their checks and balances, and we do as well in Sweet T&T aka Rainbow Country. It is call the voting boot. Never again shall cunning foxes be allowed to guard ,and or have stewardship of the symbolic Hen House, and why you might ask? Greed and selfishness as manifested by blatant corruption are cultural traits that progressive states try desperately to avoid.
    The Buddha once said, that “Your deepest desire will bring you to happiness or to hell.” My admonitions to you and the pompous , misguided fan base are as follows:- Develope understanding and compassion to others in need across our nation, curb your long term suffering as a result of desperate cravings for fame , power, and profit. It is the only way to finally protect oneself from internal anger , fear , and despair which often leads to crime , suicides ,and other dysfunctions. Regards.

  15. Here is a micro story: the late hadase Sagan Mara, father in law of Sat Maharaj, was illerate. When he worked as a grass-cutter on the American Base at Waller Field, Emmanuel Edwards, who was literate used tosign as witness of his thumb mark for picking up his pay packet. Emmanuel drove a Farm-all, a kind of grass cutting machine. Bhadase cut the areas that were too sloping for the tractor to go there, especially in the wet season.

    After the base closed, my father found other work. He had eleven children to raise. Some people made a fortune stealing electric cable, and breaking up the concrete to steal the reinforced steel.

    My father never became rich, but he raised his children well, and honestly.

    The stealing of electric cable ceased when one man from Cumuto tried cutting live wires and was electrocuted. I still remember the picture of his bloated body suspended from those wires. I was about eleven when this happened.

    Bhadase got rich enough to fund politicl parties, and run for office, despite the fact that he could not read.

    When people say the Indians never got help from the Africns in TnT, I want them also to look at Williamsville, where almost all the land once belonged to my family on either my mothers or my father’s side. Indians own most of that land now. They rented it, ended up paying the taxes, and in a Ministry of Agriculture that was run by Indians, they illigitimately acquired most of it. Why did my family not fight them on this? My mother’s philosophy of “Leave it to God.” Whenever I see the fates of people from that area who belong to a certain group, I think of justice.The one who was a politician, went to jail, and then died is included in that group.

    I take the long view.

  16. Oh , Oh! There goes the Canadian neighborhood . Uncle Israel Khan has joined Dr. Tim Goopesing and his ‘Anti Ethnic cleansing Federation,’ and no one will be spared from the conspiracies even white Canadians elites like UdeCott boss Calder Hart. http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article_news?id=161514777
    I’ll tell you, there is no stopping these people . They just might blame the ‘Black Sun God’ for being a racist simply due to the fact that he is an African and “those that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
    What a comedic situation! Don’t you wish that the unfortunate South Asians that remained in places like India , Pakistan, Bangladesh , and Nepal , first had the same passions like their low caste unsecured counterparts that eventually settled in places like Fiji, South Africa, Sweet T&T aka Rainbow country, Guyana , one time Uganda, and Kenya did , and secondly, did not have to deal with the many indignities these migrants and descendants had to endure – all by themselves -as they rise to the top socially , economically and politically – all with their own individual efforts and the results of the possession of a noble culture ?
    Think of the possibilities for full socio-economic justice for the desperate millions in the motherlands that had to contend with losing their conniving white colonial masters , but are saddled instead with a few neo colonial, greedy, and selfish ,self hating elites that cares little about the interest of the poor masses.
    Although my next comment might sound like a contradiction, but nevertheless I must certainly say that I fine this new trend by a local bourgeois elite refreshing indeed- an Indo Trini finding something critical to say about a European some where on the face of the globe ?
    Quite unheard of. We’ll take a late blooming progressive wherever we can find him , perhaps next up is some symbolic scud missiles at some of the entrenched power brokers that has controlled the agenda of our country and helped stymied it’s progress thus far. Should I hold my breath , or is this a mere aberration by Uncle Khan?
    Perhaps we should listen to what one of my Socrates Black prince have to say about cutting up one’s heart eh Uncle Knan ? A Hart , is a heart ,same monkey pants !

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