Peace and Love

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar with Govt Ministers

PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar with Govt Ministers

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 17, 2010

Before the elections it was all about peace, love and togetherness. Speaking at Aranguez on May 22 Kamla Persad-Bissesar intoned “As we reach the end of this campaign, I want to thank everyone in and out of Trinidad and Tobago who has contributed to our efforts…Your efforts have been historic because, for the first time in our nation’s history, you have put aside the divisions of our past in order to reach across and unite for a better future and a better way.”

Then came the glorious victory of May 24. Since then several of the People’s Partnership (PP) initiatives have been characterized by vindictiveness and intimidation. In three short weeks we have seen the direction in which PP’s rule is tending. We will hound them out of office; we will put the Integrity Commission on the defensive; we will reopen Landate so that Keith Rowley becomes intimidated and afraid to speak with his usual clarity and brilliance; we will give Ish Galberansigh and Steve Ferguson a little more time to evade their fates (they were arrested on Tuesday); we will see how best to persecute Louis Lee Sing further and thereby make Citadel Limited the poster child of PNM’s discrimination against Indians although the Maha Sabha received a radio license anyhow.

In the process we will unleash the power of the state against our opponents. We will employ (and thereby tie up) all the leading attorneys of the country so that they become clients of the state; hound office holders out of office and then dare them to take us to court where the cost of litigation will be so high that the average person will be unable to gain justice. Many will just walk quietly away to save their dignity as the attorney general’s friends and mentors entrench PP’s rule via the unrelenting power of law and propaganda.

In fact, the aim of this PP’s full-court press is to insure that PNM and its supporters never rise again. It is almost as though the removal of the PNM from the political scene is the necessary corollary to the entrenchment of the PP within the political culture. In furtherance of this objective the attorney general will use his office as another platform to pursue the cases he fought in his private lawyerly capacity on behalf of the Maha Sabha, his most visible client, and those to whom he felt the state had wronged.

Such a posture is in keeping with the ideological thrust of the PP. Even as Kamla spoke about the need for unity and a desire to reach across class and ethnic lines she could not help but depict blackness as a pathology within the body politic. In her way of thinking, African people are not normal persons pursuing their everyday lives and fulfilling their everyday needs. Rather they constitute a disruptive presence, living in disreputable enclaves that are plagued by a self-perpetuating pathology of joblessness, welfare dependency, teen-age pregnancies and a criminal mindset.

Two days before the election Kamla observed: “Anyone who has followed this campaign; anyone who has walked with us through Laventille; anyone who has come to a public meeting with us in San Fernando; anyone who has watched rally voters in Couva and in St. Joseph and San Juan; anyone who has followed our efforts in the newspapers, on TV, or online, can see the dedication and enthusiasm of the diverse interests who have come together for change in Trinidad and Tobago.”

One can infer from this statement that Kamla’s self appointed task is to transform Africans into healthy psychological beings as the necessary condition for solving the nation’s problems. Not only do we represent the nation’s pathological underbelly but hers is the task to administer the necessary cure.

Indians, on the other hand, are presumed to be exemplary citizens who by the dint of hard work have made enormous achievements in spite of the discriminatory practices to which they have been subjected. Freed from the psychical handicaps to which Africans have been subjected, Kamla has nothing to ask of them since, in local parlance “dey business fix.” Africans only have to follow the Indian example to cure themselves of the various social pathologies that have inundated their being.
One continues to look in vain to see the demands the PP asks of Indians as we seek to heal the “divisions of our past” and “reach across” the chasm of the present to find a better future. Yet the question remains, how does the PP intend to cure the social pathologies that exist in Laventille, St. Joseph, San Fernando, Tobago and San Juan that prevent these citizens from realizing their potential in this proposed utopia?

If the challenge is one of the economic rather than the psychical conditioning of a people how does the PP intend to restructure the national economy to create those well-paying jobs (which may just be at the root of their problems) to move them from the margins to the center of the society so they can live healthy and meaningful lives.

The majority of people who voted against the PNM (and for the PP) are not prepared to see the state used to subvert a democracy that took us fifty years to build. When they decided to look past race and ethnicity to vote for the PP they did so because they believe that a better future is possible. They did not intend to give carte blanche to the PP to use the race card against their fallen opponents. While the supporters of the PDD, DLP, ULF, UNC never moved beyond their ethnic enclave to vote for no one but their own, African people moved beyond their parochial interests to vote in the national interest.

Many of us will look to see how the PP uses the state apparatuses to advance their narrow parochial agenda. They may go aggressively after Rowley even as they give Ish and Steve some slack. Nonetheless, how they deal with the nation’s pathology as they defined it by inference will constitute the most revelatory moment in their journey. As we await the answer, we look to see what the Indians are asked to contribute towards the unity of the nation and the construction of a better day?

64 Responses to “Peace and Love”


  • Tman you spent an eternity generalizing during the tenure of the PNM. You and the other triumphalist who are now advocating that black people shut their mouths because T&T has an Indian leader might fool the idiots who voted for the PP, but it will not fool those of us who walked this road all of our lives. I eill continue to expose the hyposcrisy of you and all of the others who exhibit the insufferable tendency to speak with a forked tongue. To the same extent you exerted your right to castigate the PNM, I will exert my right to castigate the PP. And like I said, a couple of black faces peeping from behind a curtain of Indians will not diversity make.

    • Perhaps it would be better to judge people on their actions rather than on what we think that they may or may not do. To pre-judge someone is always wrong.

  • My criticism of the PNM was objective and based on information and events related to incompetence, arrogance, mismanagement and corruption. The facts concerning these charges are slowly but surely being revealed, beginning with corruption in T&TEC, the former PM and his church and the mysterious disappearance of Calder Hart. The sorry state of the country’s finances is also another matter of grave concern. None of my objections to the former government had anything to do with race or racial preferences or struggles.
    I also doubt that the many members of African descent who part of the PP government will ever settle for “peeping from behind a curtain of Indians”. I give them much more credit than that because they are strong and devoted patriots who are not going to buckle under pressure from anyone.
    My comments on the previous government should not be described as “castigation”, but objective, unemotional, constructive criticism. I hope that you, Mr. Daniels let the smokey blur of rabid racism clear from your lenses so that you could become the more effective watchdog you aspire to be.

  • Yeah right. With your skewed sense of balance objective is relative. The fact of the matter is that the PP is a predominant Indian Political Organization with a few prominent blacks scattered around. The PPP is a conglomeration of two Indian Political Organizations. To wit, COP and the UNC, and they manage to coopt some blacks to tip the electoral balance in their favor. Now the under cover supremacist, who flew under the radar of objective criticism of the PNM and Manning, wish for every black man and black woman in and of Trinidad and Tobago to massage and masturbate their ethnic ego by clapping their hands and dancing to the ridicuolous melody that they were being saved by Indians. Give me a frigging break!

  • Ruel, your bitterness is obviously the result of one or more negative and possibly traumatic experiences which you experienced at the hands of Indians.One does not become so bitter and consistently anti-everything Indian without some justification, because you are certainly not an uninformed individual.Whatever your experiences and mishaps, you should make every effort to clear your conscience push those logs off your shoulder. You are being consumed by your hatred. It is not healthy.
    Your comments suggest that you have been away from T&T for some time and is out of touch with the political realities there. As you move within the population you would come to realize that race is not a constant preoccupation and people love their lives in T&T as they coexist with all races.The struggle for political racial dominance is highly exaggerated.

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