Jail Chinese contractors for slavery

By Raffique Shah
October 18, 2009
www.trinidadandtobagonews.com/blog

Chinese labourersSOME five years ago when criminal activities intensified to frightening levels, several people who care about this country suggested to Prime Minister Patrick Manning that he declare a limited state of emergency. I was among those who argued that once the law enforcement agencies were armed with intelligence-identities of the main criminals, overlords of the guns and drugs underworld-Government should move to stem the crime tide by use of emergency powers to arrest the situation, to rescue the country.

I had pointed out, too, that in 1970, during the Black Power uprising, the Eric Williams Government had declared two emergencies. It had detained political activists who had done nothing violent or posed little threat to the stability of the country. Mr Manning’s response was that the declaration of an emergency would “put Trinidad and Tobago in a bad light.” He and several of his key ministers insisted they did not need such powers to deal with the crime spiral. They had a plan. They knew exactly how many gangs there were, their locations and their leaders. The PM himself knew who “Mr Big” was.

Besides, they had contracted, at great expense, world renowned criminologists like Prof Mastrofski to formulate plans for dealing with crime. Five years on, and hundreds of millions of dollars having been expended on all kinds of anti-crime personnel and devices, the only thing we have to show for it is more crime. This country is now the murder capital of the Caribbean, having overtaken Jamaica, Haiti and Guyana, something I never thought I’d live to see. In so far as other dastardly crimes go, we are also in the league of the most lawless countries in the world.

Government has failed miserably to deal with crime. Instead of the country making global news for declaring a state of emergency, we are a regular feature in the international media for heinous crimes like the savaging of two tourists in Tobago. Government’s many crime plans have transformed the once-tranquil sister isle from paradise into hell.

Shaming the country by its failure to deal with crime is worse than declaring an emergency and dealing with the criminals. But Mr Manning does not see it that way. In his warped perspective, better 500 murders a year than one state of emergency.

Then, as if fighting to top the global negative-ratings list, we had the spectacle of Chinese slaves demonstrating on a main highway to highlight the 17th Century conditions under which they live and labour in Vision 2020 Trinidad. For me, the only surprise was that their protest took this long in coming.

I should add that I am not among those who protested the importation of Chinese labour. For decades, Trinidadian employers have exploited Guyanese and eastern Caribbean labour mainly because the work ethic in this country is atrocious. Many among our people, if they had their way, would drink rum all day, all night, and expect to be paid for it. Work, for far too many, is a curse, not an obligation.

So there is nothing wrong importing Chinese or Guyanese or other labourers and craftsmen who are productive, who give us quality work. It is the duty of the authorities, however, to ensure that these people are treated as human beings, not as slaves or animals. In any decent society, the Ministry of Labour would have inspectors who, before recommending the granting of work permits to foreign labour, would ensure that contracts being offered conform to our labour laws. That would mean being paid no lower than the minimum wage-with overtime rates and other basic benefits.

Moreover, there must also be measures in place to approve accommodations and other conditions under which these foreigners are kept. I feel certain that the Cuban healthcare workers who are employed here are paid no less than their Trinidadian counterparts, nor are they housed in hovels. The Cuban government would never countenance that. In the case of the Chinese, Labour Minister Rennie Dumas waited until after the eruption to probe the conditions under which these poor souls slave away to give their families in China better lives.

An issue like this is almost sure to feature in international news much the way it did when “de mark buss” in heaven-in-the-sand Dubai.

There, and in neighbouring Gulf States, Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Indonesians in the main are herded into similar slave-barracks as they labour in 50-degree (Celsius!) conditions constructing the new “wonder of the world”. When the economic slump hit late last year, the mess also hit the global-news-fan. Many protesting paupers were simply expelled from the Gulf.

But in those countries, feudal sheiks couldn’t give a damn about working conditions or tarred images. In Trinidad and Tobago, if the Government does not care, we citizens do. Even those who oppose the use of Chinese labour are sympathetic to their cause. We are a humane people, most of us anyway. And we take umbrage to government condoning slave-like working conditions.

Here’s the perfect case for immediate reparations for slavery. Either the contractors pay up or give them a taste of Trini-jail. We value our country’s image-even if Mr Manning does not.

Trinidad and Tobago News Blog’s URL for this article:
www.trinidadandtobagonews.com/blog/?p=1763

29 Responses to “Jail Chinese contractors for slavery”


  • I am annoyed with the people of Trinidad and Tobago over the abuses to contracted Chinese workers. Over a year and a half ago, I spoke on the radio about the need to have agencies monitor the working and living conditions of these Chinese workers to ensure that they are being treated fairly and within the requirements of the laws of Trinidad and Tobago.

    After I made this appeal, it seemed as though I was talking to the wind since no one took up the matter. I was left wondering if I have to start another crusade to alert Trinidadians to the abuses that could take place when we have people who are brought in from other countries to work here especially when they cannot communicate well due to language barriers.

    We have our history of Indentureship in this country where people were promised one thing and then routinely abused. Part of that history includes cases where the people who were employed as translators for Indentured Indians were part of the conspiracy to defraud and otherwise brutalize Indians.

    The government should have had agencies in place to ensure the Chinese workers’ rights were not being violated.

    Of course, most people just did not care. They were just hoping that these Chinese contracted workers would do their jobs quietly and return home. The government ministers who are now claiming to be shocked at the living conditions of those protesting Chinese are the most vulgar of them all.

    People could have seen some of the cramped barrack-type accommodations for these workers, one set of which was visible from upper Frederick Street, Port of Spain, obliquely opposite the Living Water Community. There was an attempt to barricade these cramped quarters from the public’s view but what was visible should have alerted the authorities to investigate.

    We are talking about greedy contractors who are sourcing labour from among the poor in China. Were we expecting these contractors to be ethical? The plain and simple truth is that most people, including the government, just did not care and that speaks volumes about the character of those in authority and the people they lead.

    People who came through the legacy of slavery and Indentureship should have known better, and of all people, should have been on guard to prevent similar abuses to others. But in a country where conscious historical reflection is disrespected, it is easy for people who came through a sordid history of abuses to become the abusers. This lack of foresight and empathy is as a result of a disconnection from our history.

  • Hurting TT’s image

    Sunday, October 18 2009

    The photograph published on page five of Friday’s issue of Newsday of assembly line concrete latrines constructed at Ramsaran Trace, Cunupia for use by Chinese indentured labourers employed by Beijing Liujian Construction Corporation to work on Trinidad and Tobago Government projects pose a health threat both to the Chinese workers and residents of Cunupia and surrounding districts.

    Not only do the Chinese workers live in sub-human conditions in buildings constructed without any planning approval, prior or otherwise, of the Town and Country Planning Division (TCPD) as well as that of the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation, but that Town and Country Planning reportedly has not taken any action against anyone in connection with the unauthorised construction of the buildings. Indeed, it appears as though only the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation has sought to take any action against the company which erected the buildings.
    Full Article : newsday.co.tt

    Manohar: It’s a Humanitarian Crisis
    Nigerian Security guards have been placed on the compound of the living quarters of Chinese construction workers at Ramsaran Trace, Cunupia and were instructed to keep the steel doors of the camp locked.

    Probe Chinese labour camps
    Imagine being employed in another continent, unable to speak the country’s native tongue and overburdened by an inability to access hard-earned wages.

    Chinese workers’ quarters not up to mark
    WHEN the Sunday Express arrived at Ramsaran Trace, Bejucal Road, Cunupia, and walked into the site that houses about 100 workers of the Beijing Luijing Construction Company (TT) Ltd, the first thing we noticed was the pungent urine smell.

    Elias calls on PM Manning to fire Chinese contractors
    In an unprecedented move, the Government has quietly fired a Chinese contractor it hired two years ago to build the Princes Town East Secondary School, citing a lack of delivery on nearly 90 per cent of the $151 milllion project.

    Cartel hiring Chinese workers, says Elias
    With last week’s protest action by the Chinese workers still fresh in the public’s consciousness comes a new revelation of the apparent involvement of T&T firms in the exploitation of Chinese labour on local projects.

    Shanghai workers satisfied

    Local groups call for probe
    On Friday a number of groups also commented on the workers’ protest in press releases.The Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ) said that Government should broaden its investigation to include all projects in which migrants are being used.

    Mao’s people
    Who knew that we were capable of doing this to the descendants of Mao Zedong? Tiny little Trinidad and Tobago, population of 1.3 million or so persons going up against the historical might of China, population 1.3 billion or so, and managing to break the will, the spirit of a people.

    The immigrants
    WHILE SOME of you yesterday feasted on the delights of Divali, in a small camp at the top of Frederick Street, Chinese workers spent the day in iron cargo containers. Others were enduring squalid living conditions at a camp at Ramsaran Trace, Cunupia. And while this week 70 such workers took to the streets warning the State that they have been illegally trafficked into the country, the response of our State officials has been tepid.

    FITUN told you so
    The protest by workers from China highlighted problems that have existed for several years, but which the authorities have refused to deal with. And let it not be said that they were unaware of the working and living conditions of these workers.

  • Why is anybody surprised by this. Do not blame the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Turn thru the pages of history. Visit the countries where these workers are coming from…online or on tour. Take a stroll thru the streets of China or drive along the county roads. Then post comments.
    Is it right? No!
    Is it Just? No!
    Is it fair? No!
    We who cry out, are we rich? No!
    Do we profit by their toils? ?
    Those who bid on contracts, do they ask the above questions prior to? No!
    Take a look at the photo on the main page of this site. What do you see? Skyscrapers, not too many just a few. Did we cry out when those were built? I don’t remember.
    I would much perfer to see the nature of the Island promoted on the main page of this site, rather than an image of buildings that might make me cry out later!!!
    Keep up the good work…

  • Today, every Church Donation collected should go to feeding these exploited people. Church women should form cooking assembly lines to do simple foods, rice, vegetables and fruit, and take the food to them,set up camp and demand to be allowed to feed the people. THAT is what Jesus would do. Are we really followers of Christ. Do we really believe in a God of Love? It is one thing to wail and lament and call for government action, which is why this is the fifth action of that sort I am taking in 24 hours, and I WILL keep it up; but it is another thing to be on the spot, and feed the people.
    All those contractors who supply food to the Min.of Education for the schools, if you organize together, you could feed these people, and show the world that humane people live in TnT. You have so much more than five barley loaves and three small fishes!

    Putting another foreign group of security guards to keep them in line, is so British, so like South Africa under Botha.

  • Linda Edwards passion and commitment to this cause is commendable. I have developed a new respect for her.

  • Was the government aware of the living conditions of these workers? Does the government care? Are the workers being paid the wages they were promised? Is there a labour shortage in this country? Do contractors have to operate within the laws of this country? There was never a shortage of labour in this country. The simple fact is that many contractors do not want to pay local workers a livable wage, and the government is aware of this. It is very hypocritical for people to suddenly realise that foreign workers are being exploited. Businessmen are always seeking the cheapest source of labour. This is the reason why there are so many foreign workers in this country, sex workers included. Does the Vision 2020 manifesto include an honest days pay for an honest days work? It was imported Chinese labour that was used to build Manning’s new residence that cost 100 millions dollars. I hate to sound cynical, but this scandal, like previous scandals, shall soon be forgotten, and no one will be held accountable. Politicians and businessmen appear to be able to operate outside of the law with impunity. Laws can only be enforced and made more meaningful when citizens become more politically conscious, informed, and demand political change. How much longer are we willing to let ourselves be deceived? The solution to crime in high places may reside within the ballot box.

  • Political activists barred from visiting Chinese workers
    Police were called to the Cunupia dormitory of the Beijing Liujing employees yesterday morning after a group of political activists were barred from entering the compound to distribute food.

    OWTU: Shut down Chinese camps
    The Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) is calling for the shut down of all projects on which Chinese workers are employed and the immediate shut down of the camp located at Ramsaran Trace, Cunupia.

    Chinese workers get their ‘freedom’
    CHINESE workers attached to the Beijing Luijing Construction Company were free to leave their living quarters in Cunupia and go whenever they pleased yesterday.

    UNC to move motion on Chinese ‘exploitation’
    The Opposition is expected to file a motion today on “the wholesale exploitation and oppression of Chinese nationals in Trinidad and Tobago,” said opposition Senator Wade Mark.

    Nigerian guards let food, water in
    A charitable organisation was yesterday met with stiff resistance by Nigerian security guards when it took food and water for 70 Chinese nationals at their living quarters in Cunupia.

    Hanging with the Chinese
    The sight of several Chinese workers sitting on the pavement on Henry Street, Port-of-Spain evoked a lot of curiosity. They caused traffic to slow down as motorists cruised by staring and trying to figure out what was happening. Many inquired or speculated aloud but the Guard and Emergency Branch (GEB) officer directed traffic and ordered them to move along. He even buffed some for not minding their business.

    No Chinese in Chiney Village
    The new wave of Chinese nationals currently repainting the ethnic and cultural canvas of Trinidad follows the migration of their countrymen who began coming here some two centuries ago.

  • The issue is exploitation, not slavery

    Monday, October 19th 2009

    I don’t want to get into semantics, but “slavery” definitely is not the correct word to describe the Chinese living and working conditions in T&T.

    What does the word “slavery” mean? My Collins Pocket Dictionary of the English Language describes slavery as “the owning of slaves as a practice or institution.” What is a slave? The same dictionary defines a slave as “a human being who is owned by another.”

    Do Trinbagonians or the T&T Government (who may not necessarily all be T&T nationals) own the Chinese workers? No they don’t.

    Does the China Jiangsu company or the government of the Republic of China claim ownership of the workers? I have heard no such allegation from the Chinese workers. At best the Chinese ignorance of their “real worth” was used against them. Their desperation for work and a better life than that prevailing in their homeland was also used against them.

    Slaves, as this country-filled with generations of the children of slaves-should know, have no rights. The Chinese had more than rights.

    They had breakable contracts-an option not issued to slaves. So why does the notion of slavery enter the picture, but by ignorance of the meaning of the word slavery and the desire to sensationalise and exaggerate the problems of worker exploitation and rights violations?

    That is what we are dealing with here-worker exploitation and rights violations and nothing more.

    Does it matter that the workers happen to be foreigners? Do T&T workers not endure many of the same types of exploitation? Nationals are also in the process of building and maintaining this country while “enduring” poor housing facilities, a dearth of potable water, long working hours, dictatorial and uncaring employers, underpayment and withheld payment for work done. If one says he/she does not know this, is it really that you don’t know or that you don’t want to know the trials that your fellow citizens endure? Are they enslaved also? What they are is also grossly exploited. Their rights, like those of the Chinese workers, are violated.

    If only the proverbial second greatest commandment, “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” had sincere meaning in this country. Then, from the very beginning, those with authority over this situation would have done good justice unto the Chinese workers as they would hope to have done unto themselves under similar circumstances.

    In the final analysis, a lot of homage is paid to the new shiny buildings built by the Chinese, but good local hospitality and service and respect for human rights (respect for one’s fellow man) remain wanting.

    B Joseph

    via e-mail

  • B. Joseph needs to know that slavery is forcing anyone to work without being paid. They were promised wages to lure them to TnT. When they get here they are given minimal food and living conditions, and no wages. How does this differ from the situation of the millions of Africans brought to the Americas? The Africans were bought as well as stolen, snatched. These were obtained by deceptive practices. The International Anti-slavery Society would consider this slavery, exactly the same as sex workers from Eastern Europe, South East Asia, Africa and Latin America, lured to placs of bright lights with promises of work, then forced to owork in the sex trade and live under inhumane conditions. It would consider this slavery exactly the same as children bought for fifty dollars in Haiti and brought into the USA to work without pay in people’s households. There have been criminal cases based on this, as well as cases based on American and European “tourists” read that dirty old men, going to CAmbodia and places like that and buying children for sex. Some of the children are sold by their mothers, but it is slavery nontheless.
    I would suggest that individual check the UN’s definition of human trafficking and see that it applies to these workers. If the contractor had brought these people from a third country, Interpol woul d have got him on a complaint sworn to by any government official or member of parliament, but I am not sure they will act on a civilian complaint.

    Something about this must have struck a nerve which causes people to disemble, and make lame excuses for this scandal.
    There should be no backing down by concerned and humane individuals and groups.

  • The government has turned its back to unethical business practices in order to prosper. There really isn’t any reason that TNT could not produce a suitable labor force. Well no other reason than cost. What is the cost of freedom? If the government makes its bed rough, the government will have to lay in it!
    A ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.
    It may cost more to hire a domestic workforce, but then at least there can be better control over labor and human rights violations.

  • United UNC gets debate on Chinese ‘slavery’
    Despite rifts in the UNC, all Opposition UNC MPs—including the Ramjack faction—were united yesterday when they out-voted Government to obtain debate on the plight of Chinese workers in T&T.

    Chinese workers get better living conditions
    THERE have been substantial work done to improve living conditions at the housing site for Chinese immigrant workers at Ramsaran Trace, Bejucal Road, Cunupia, reported St Helena/Warrenville councillor Shama Deonarine.

    Dumas: Living conditions okay
    Labour Minister Rennie Dumas says the living conditions at a commune in Cunupia in Central Trinidad for Chinese migrant employees of Liujing Beijing Construction Company is not an issue.

  • Up to now, the Chinese association in Trinidad and Tobago has not made any statement on this matter. They have been noticeably silent.

  • The best way to tackle gangs is by destroying their source i.e broken homes and fatherless children. The gvoverment should focus on developing the strenght of the Social Services and empowering them to take a more proactive stand. The restructuring of the police force, who seem to be the only people who does not know what is going on. Any body who want a gun could go on the the street and purchase one but the police dont know?. My point is that to truly fight crime does not required the kind of expenditure and the importation of knowledge, crime is a problem that could be handle with proper policing and social development.

  • ‘Chinese employed at 19 construction companies’

    Time for Chinese inquiry
    UNC Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal is demanding Government implement “a comprehensive inquiry into the importation of Chinese workers”, in the wake of alleged exploitation of 70 Chinese labourers from the Beijing Luijian Construction Company.

    Town and Country: No approval for Chinese camp
    NO approval was given by the Town and Country Planning Division for the Chinese camp at Ramsaran Trace, Bejucal Road, Cunupia.

  • It seems that a major new investigation into corruption needs to be launched, focussing on who signed permits for the chinese labour camp, who approved work permits for all the Chinese imported workers, and while we are at it, who approved the casino licensse for the Chinese woman who had a casino license and a gun, but could speak no English. Calling Dr. Rowley!

    The whole country, according to a businessman friend of mine, is for sale.

  • Trinis mistaken for illegal Nigerian guards
    Four Trinidad and Tobago (TT) nationals hired by a Port-of-Spain security firm to stand guard at a Chinese labour camp at Ramsaran Trace, Bejucal Road, Cunupia were taken for questioning at the Chaguanas Police Station on Tuesday.

  • Why should any company or business that wish to operate in T&T be allowed to import labor when unemployment is so high on the country. The chinese do not allow forein companies to import labor from their nations of origin at the expense of home grown chinese. Why the hell do Caribbean people continue with this shuffling genuflecting obsequious attitude in dealing with foreigners?

  • Ah the perils of globalization! Our local Chinese Trini elites wants absolutely nothing to do with a bunch of low caste peasant workers, as they are very busy securing their tangible piece of Sweet T&T’s economic pie.
    To expect the Chinese Association to speak out on this and similar atrocities might be expecting too much Bro Heru.
    Of bigger concern for me is however is whether our ‘Chinese construction saviors’ are giving us quality work , or better yet, can our domestic regulators demand that globally recognized and acceptable standards are maintained, so that one of these building don’t collaspe in 2020 where no one would be held accountable?

  • You’re on point Neal! Except, the only people to blame for any future building collapse due to faulty construction by foreign workers would be the fault of those of whom refused to protest their governments policy. All of the people who want to stay quiet about important government transactions and corrupt dealings because any such opposition might shame the nation and suppress its status would be at fault. All of the cowards who are only interested in looking excellent without being excellent would be the blame for any future tragedies as a result of faulty construction projects where foreign workers were favored over the domestic labor force.
    Everyone knows by now that the government and multinational business leaders are corrupt and do not have the people’s interest at heart. Why the people continue to pretend nothing is wrong bewilders me.
    Oh well, Zaijian!

  • Why does it bewilder you? What is their alternative, Panday? When people expect worse from the sucessor who is lurking in the wings than what is current, they will always remain silent.

  • There is a tendency by supporters of the existing regime to rationalize their blind loyalty to the PNM by berating Panday as the heir apparent.There are very few left who actually believe that Panday is a credible threat.It’s highly probable and very desireable that he would disappear into the Caribbean sunset.

  • There are some locked in a simplistic mindset that firmly believes in the rediculous notion that if someone is critical of Mr. Panday and similar non progressives , that this automatically translates to pro PNM.
    The fact of the matter is T-Man, Panday remains the head of that party, and obviously intends to steadfastly hold that position until he is either taken out on a stretcher, or his daughter develops the wish to finally accept her coronation.
    It might be challenging but can be done. What the UNC needs to do at this juncture is to clearly redefine and distinguish itself as a party from that of the PNM -as both are dependent on the same voters for survival.
    A former teacher- that was not the beneficiary of an exaulted Oxbridge/ Havard/Yale education -I once had many moons ago said the following:- ” something is good if it works.” Please do the maths you overpaid political consultans.

  • “There are some locked in a simplistic mindset that firmly believes in the rediculous notion that if someone is critical of Mr. Panday and similar non progressives , that this automatically translates to pro PNM.”
    The fact is that many who ridicule Panday have simply refused to recognize that the present government and its leader have surpassed the previous Panday administration in corruption, incompetence and wasteful spending.
    Most are in total agreement that Panday has overstayed his welcome and that he is desperate to reclaim government primarily hoping that this would be a possible solution to his legal woes.
    One of the disappointing realities in T&T is that no youthful, credible leaders have emerged to lead any of the existing political parties.To settle for “something good if it works” is not an option, because the perception that “it” is working is false.Just visit or read the daily news and one would realize that “it ” is not working.

  • I don’t buy into that fantasy that Panday will disappear into the darkness if people rise up against the PNM. I believe this is what many would like people to believe. The lack of a viable alternative that people can turn to has always been the most potent asset to any entrenched regime.

    Politics is relative, and it will not loose its relativity merely because of fake scenarios. The PNM base is not stupid. They will not follow pied pipers churning out melodies they know will lead them to greater perdition.

  • Agreed Ruel. find it almost insulting , the commentaries of the likes of T-Man when it comes to mass voting populace. What is this PNM base that he refers to?
    Of course a few misguided fools along the dungheaps of East West corridors might blindly follow Manning and his party to the grave simply due to the fact that they and great grand parents got some stupid , inconsequential political morsels through the decades. These are more the exception.
    If the UNC is prepared to put a wholesome package out there , and the people across the nation sense that they are serious about meaningful change and not hellbent on ‘revenge politics’ aimed at getting back at the ghost of the self opinionated Doctor William , then sucess can acrue again ,as was done in the recent past.
    The fact that we are at this stage of the game still talking about Panday and Manning and not viable successors shows clearly the plight our citizens are in.
    To conclude , not only is the “PNM base not stupid,” but neither is the UNC base.If that was the case then how else can one explain the repeated results in the polls.
    Oh yes I forgot, it’s due to electorial corruption and similar political acts committed by thoes in power- not disgust at the rethoric diets of hate and division.
    I wonder if T- Man is implying that my wonderful country’s Judicary is non an independent body.
    Did I read him well that Mr. Panday is attempting to reclaim power simply to protect himelf from his legal woes?
    Let me assure you of one thing T-Man,nothing can protect him from any pending fate.Not even if the DPP, Chief Justice ,and every juror comes from his constituency, and went to the same British Law School as his family, and the remaining members of the phony Privy Council.
    Justice will be done.

  • Two Chinese have now been indicted for trying a fraud ting on Licensing, as if we need more crazy drivers on the road who cannot read the road signs. They MUST be deported. I defend thir right to fair wages, paid to them, not to their distant cousins, and to decent living conditions, but to abuse the hospitality of the country through fraud is unforgieable.OUT THEY MUST GO! All Chinese do NOT look alike,they can tell each other apart, so can observant people at Licensing. You go guys!.

  • I define “base” as the faithful, loyal and semi-literate group of individuals who climb on the racial bandwagon of either the PMN or the UNC at election time. Their vote is primarily race-based and they populate parts of T&T that is not racially integrated. And yes, they are stupid because they allow themselves to be easily persuaded by politicians who appeal to their ethnic emotions by skillfully positioning one race against the other. These groups are quite sizeable and both political leaders are fully aware of the power of these groups at election time.
    A study of voting patterns which allowed the UNC to form government would clearly support this theory. The balance of power in T&T is held by voters who are: Christian and Muslim Indians, Whites, Chinese, Tobago voters and mixed races. The “base” consistently votes along racial lines. The other groups mentioned above are more discriminating. They examine election platforms, economic plans and party philosophies. They very often decide elections in the swing ridings. There are a number of polls which continuously support these conclusions.
    And yes, the Judiciary in T&T is continuously being bombarded with political interference. There are examples of Manning’s attempts to secretly influence court decisions or to tamper with the offices of the AG and the DPP. The Sharma case is one such example. His new constitutional proposal for the formation of a Ministry of Justice is indicative of his hunger to control the administration of justice in T&T. His dissatisfaction with the Privy Council and his unwavering support for the Caribbean Court of Justice highlights his desire for control. The Privy Council has administered many decisions against Manning and his government. It is certainly not “phony.” Hopefully, the Caribbean Court of Justice, when fully functional, would act in a manner worthy of international respect.

  • TMan’s analyses have been unambiguous, objective and to the point. Why would anyone seek to denounce him for trying to explain the facts? On the other hand, Neal’s comments are often unclear, misguided, filled with equivocation, sarcasm, and at times show bias towards Manning.

  • Let me see if I got this correct. Unlike feudal oil Shieks that treat their chiefly Muslim Asian , and poor low cast Arabs brothers and sisters in dehumanizing fashion via commonly known sexual and economic exploitations,we in Trinidad are caring folks . As such, we should not condone modern slavery that is perpetuated against desperate hardworking Chinese laborers that were imported by the government to fill the void left by lazy Trinis with atrocious work ethic.
    I wonder if the great Northern metropolis likewise are historically filled with similar lazy native workers ,why they have opened the doors since independence and the end of African slavery to hardworking immigrants to slave in their kitchens , industries,lawns,hospitals, and computer sweat shops?
    The author is correct about one thing however. You won’t solve crimes in our country simply by bringing in overpaid foreigners as experts such as Prof Mastrofski, as well as the dozens of British Scotland yard blokes.Independent Senator and local criminologist expert Dr Deosaran spoke for years and no one listened.
    Let’s face it people would always gravitate to areas where opportunities abound, and that same on the surface lazy Trini would do five jobs to make ends meet in New York, Toronto, Paris, and London.
    One of the first steps towards dealing with crimes is to create a level playing field when it comes to justice.Some might say, a bullet in the head for treason as would be done in modern democratic , emerging capitalist China,the hangman noose for murder even if you are a religious leader with a high paying politically savvy Human Rights lawyer, and life imprisonment for white color thugs irrespective of their social status .Should I hold my breath on this one?

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