Royal Visit to UWI Highlights Lingering Colonialism

By Leslie
March 06, 2008

The Prince of Wales, Charles Philip Arthur George and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of CornwallThe Prince of Wales, Charles Philip Arthur George and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, paid a visit to the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine campus, on Wednesday 5th March, 2008, as part of their tour of Trinidad and Tobago to promote environmentalism and to reinforce British ties with former colonies. The couple made their way to the JFK Quadrangle to view the UWI 60th Anniversary Exhibition, to look at and to play the G Pan and to observe a skit put on by the Centre for Creative and Festival Arts.

The scene was reminiscent of when the Queen of England had visited the country in February 1966, four years after the country’s Independence from Britain. Speaking with a gentleman who as a child witnessed the event, recalled that children lined the streets with flags in hand in the hot sun singing, “God save the Queen!” He reminded me that homage was being paid to former slave masters by a newly “Independent” nation with citizens calling on God to bless and save the royals. Today, the atmosphere was not much different with children and adults scrambling to get a touch of the royals’ hands. “I will never wash my hand again,” was what one female intimated.

The spectacle reflected the wider societal historical neglect, with the University of the West Indies at the helm of the education system sustaining the colonial mindset. Of course, true thinking individuals would know that the university is still an agent of imperialism and colonial conformity with their statues of European figures lining the third floor university library and places such as the JFK Quadrangle and auditorium named after an American president. There is no prominent symbolism that I am aware of in the University to cause appreciation of our African and Indian past.

Yesterday we witnessed children being encouraged by their teachers to touch the royals, seemingly without knowledge of Britain’s historical legacy, or even with their complicity in the mass-murder of millions in recent history. Certainly, this is an indictment against the teachers (among others) who refuse to challenge bogus history and continue to feed young minds with a self-debasing concept of history. The UWI Che Guevara and Bob Marley T-shirt wearing so-called revolutionaries in their childlike dispositions rushed to meet and greet the royals. They were elated to tell them that they were students of Economics, Science and History, showing off their academic status to the royals. ‘Massa, we educated now!’ University lecturers were also in the mix of the ‘I-want-to-meet-the-prince’ euphoria.

UWI’s Centre for Creative and Festival Arts did a skit about climate change. Unaware of the significance of symbolic actions, their continuous prostrating in front of the royals looked like a reconfirmation of colonialist attitudes and the idea of White power and supremacy over Black subordinates.

Without explaining the history of the Steelpan and reminding all that the Steelpan was developed in resistance to colonialism, the royals were allowed to play the Steelpan like children with toys. This came over as a mockery of the instrument. The royals should have been reminded that the Steelpan was born in resistance to their drive to suppress African forms of expression.

No one even bothered to question what the visit of the British royals was about and were thus oblivious to the double-standard and hypocrisy surrounding their efforts to ‘highlight the plight of the environment’. The Independent UK reminded us of the insincerity of the royals’ environmentalist agenda by highlighting the lavishly furnished 246ft super-yacht which calls for high-maintenance and which is very damaging to the environment. The Independent UK article states:

“…there is a slight flaw in Charles’s dreams of a guilt-free Caribbean odyssey: experts are warning that, far from minimising the tour’s carbon footprint, his chosen method of transport could do more damage to the environment than several hundred transatlantic flights. Despite his high-profile stance on green issues and championing of organic food, the Aston Martin-driving Prince has earned his fair share of environmental brickbats over the years, not least for his well-known taste for luxury and penchant for helicopter travel.”

Given the attitudes of the University and the country at large, the prince can do no wrong and his hypocrisy means nothing to them.

What the royals’ visit did highlight was that after forty-six years of Independence, the notion of White supremacy, Crown-worship and Third-world subordination have not changed from the era of slavery and colonialism. The University of the West Indies, at the helm of Caribbean intellectualism, has exposed its backwardness as an institution of higher learning.

http://www.trinicenter.com/tnt/2008/060308.html

Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit UWI in pictures:
www.triniview.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=226681

25 Responses to “Royal Visit to UWI Highlights Lingering Colonialism”


  • Peta ‘Bear’ Dogs Charles and Camilla in Trinidad and Tobago

    Group Wants End to Killing of Black Bears for Palace Guards’ Hats

    Norfolk, Virginia – A PETA member dressed in a bear costume and holding a sign reading, “Bear Hugs, Not Bear Hats”, will confront Charles, The Prince of Wales, and his wife, Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, as they visit Tobago’s St. Patrick’s Church during their yacht tour of the Caribbean. Why is PETA’s “bear” dogging the British royals? Because the group wants Charles to use his influence to pressure the British government to switch to faux fur for the Buckingham Palace Guards’ hats. Other PETA members will hold signs that read, “God Save the Bears”, and hand out leaflets to the crowds:

    Date: Thursday, 6 March
    Time: 10 a.m.
    Place: St Patrick’s Anglican Church, Mt. Pleasant, Tobago

    It can take one bear’s entire hide to make just one guard’s head piece. The skins come from Canadian black bears who are often shot several times before they die. Some escape the hunters and bleed to death. When mother bears are killed, orphaned cubs are left behind to starve.

    “We love pomp and circumstance as much as anyone, but not when the ceremony causes baby bears to be orphaned when their mothers are shot right in front of them for hats”, says British-born PETA President Ingrid E Newkirk. “No tradition on Earth can justify cruelty.”

    PETA Europe has presented the British Ministry of Defence with several alternatives made from the finest faux furs available but has been met with one weak excuse after another. PETA and PETA Europe continue to pursue the royals, following Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles to their engagements at home and abroad.

    PETA’s “bear” has also dogged Charles and Camilla at their other stops in Trinidad and Tobago and will continue to follow them on their tour through St. Lucia , Montserrat and Jamaica.

    For more information, please visit PETA.org.

  • This is a truly insightful article. One merely has to read the newspapers on a daily basis to observe the colossal damage colonialism has inflicted on the TnT psyche. Look at the so-called scholars who cannot break out from the rigid mold of one-dimensional thought. Their analyses are superficial and their “solutions” offered for problems confronting our people are equally farcical. They are schooled in being apologists for class exploitation and are very skilled in concealing the class essence of their biases. They look to their former colonial masters and the American imperialists for validating any thought. The latter are seen and portrayed as the fountain of democracy despite all historical accounts and recent confirmations to the contrary.

    My basic question to the colonized mind is whether anyone who invented or engaged in the most horrendous atrocity to humanity in slavery, can noew lay claim to being the expert on democracy and the model to be emulated? Would one look to Hitler or the Afrikaneers as the source of knowledge for representative democracy?

    No wonder why we continue to perpetuate the racism that is a legacy of both colonialism and imperialism. The divide and rule formula is applied to the detriment of all the people and the delight of those who pillage our natural wealth and their local collaborators, akin to the slave overseer.

  • Kerry Mulchansingh

    If you ask me, it’s all a royal pack of crap! Why should we be revering them. These royals come to our country and we make a big fuss, pomp and ceremony. In my mind, they symbolize the colonial past, the moral trangresions committed by Britain and our struggle to separate from our mental shackles. They represent what we should be working to move away from.

    Until Britain apologizes (and makes repatriation)for slavery, and the pilfering and profitting on the backs of our descendants, I really don’t think that we should be giving these royal types the time of day, much less such respect and awe!

    We are sending the message that we are still indeed their subjects. Trinidad & tobago has moved away from the model with the Queen as Head of State (position now occupied by the Prez), but this does not seem to mean much in the mindset of our leaders, other than symbolic.

    Question..do you think Robert Mugabe or someone of his presence, would be rolling out the red carpet like this? True, Zimbabwe’s colonial scars are freshers and probably deeper than ours, but that shouldn’t matters. The wrongs inflicted upon them, and the same ones metted out to us.

  • These, whatever, “royal people” should be allowed to visit if that is what they choose to do, but the picture of “natives” bowing and scraping before them under whatever guise we choose to call it is demeaning to the University, the national community, and to all Caribbean people.

    Arthur Smith

  • After all that the royalists (sic) have inflicted on the colonies and their people why should homage be paid to any of them now? Time could have been spent much more profitably. If they want to visit TnT all well and good, but do not disrupt the running of the Republic to patronize them. When will ‘freed’ people cease bowing to their former slave-masters?

  • We are forgetting that by fussing about these two we are saying yeah to adultery, to marriage vows that were a lie from the beginning, and were agreed on by the high officials of the Church of England. Perhaps one should say that Camilla is treated better than the late Dutchess of Windsor, Wallace Warfield Simpson, but we are making a bigger fuss about them than we made about the son of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia when he came visiting a few years back. Also, I am sure the Union Jack was prominently flown everywhere. Last year when the President of Uganda spoke in the National Stadium on Emancipation Day, there was neither a Trinidad and Tobago Flag, nor an Ugandan Flag in sight. Three Rastafarians held an Ethiopian Flag aloft for about an hour.

    Smetimes I cringe at how backward thinking we are. Those who would like to see my documented pictures of the flagless stadium, could send their addresses through this medium.

  • Have any of you read Frantz Fannon’s ,” Towards the African Revolution,Black Skin White Mask,The Wretched of the Earth ?”
    Did you al lnotice the ,” Silence of Mr.Daniels ?”
    Please, I am not attacking Mr.Daniels but hoping that he will read the post of everyone here and realize that he has a duty to speak the facts “jack” and stop ” gobble gooking” us to death and come out and speak fairly against evils like the reaction to this visit by officials who use our TNT money to participate in this kind of ,”mockery of our Republic!”
    I fully agree they have a right to visit our country and spend some money in the economy but to be ” meet and greet? by any official especially our institution of higher learning is a shame and disgrace to our country and we all need to shed a tear for the grave illness of ” Englandnitis” which now appears to “inflict” even the teachers!
    As the ,”Temptations ” said in their popular song some years ago,” It is a ball of confusion!” and it is hoped our only real voice the ” Calypsonians” will do their part to expose these sick fools at UWI.
    Please,God,Help us now for if these are the ones to educate our youth we are surely doomed as a nation umless God intervenes!

  • Lemme see, that article came out on the 6th of March, and it is now the 7th. Harry Williamn however is frothing at the mouth because I am yet to respond. Is this obsession or what?

    I’m sorry but I happen to work for a living, and sometimes it takes most of my time. In addition Harry, my ego is fairly moderate, thus inhibiting me from the fanaticism to dissect or comment on each and every excurciating minutae that happens upon these pages.

    Is this the first visit by members of this family to this hemisphere. Why is everyone acting as if this is Christopher Columbus’ fake discovery of the West Indies.

    When I was four years old my father gathered us together and showed us a little book with pictures of Italian Troups gassing Ethiopian Soldiers in Ethiopia during the Abyssinnian War. That book was prohibited in all commonwealth territories in the Americas during that time. But my parents recognized the need for us early in life to be aware of the specifity about our history as a people. I do not become excited by utterances that reflect recent discoveries and consciousness.

    When Doctor Cudjoe spoke about Africans needing to be particularly sensitive to inclusiveness in terms of COP representation in parliament, he was streaming four hundred years of consciousness. He was drawing on the historical experiences of Africans at the hand of the ancestors of those who are being pillaged in this thread, to empathise with the position of the supporters of COP. You cannot take offence at that display of empathy, relagate it to playing the race card, and then proceed to pretend indignation over the current subject of this thread. My consciousness is not ephemeral.

    Like the writer intoned, this visit just serves to remind me that the continuum of color that mightily organizes this world is still alive and kicking. And our acceptance of that order can be measured by its influence over the prism through which we look outward. Many who beat on their chests and scream with feigned indignation over the presence in our region of these, the scions of the class that orchestrated the holocaust of our ancestors, came out with both barrels blazing when the Ivan Van Sertimas, the John Hendrick Clarks, the Manning Marrables et al turned the myths and ill-conceived notions of his-story on its head. My cynicism is not going to be abated by convenient and cherry picking outrages. For me it has to be whole hog or none.

  • Kerry Mulchansingh

    “Why is everyone acting as if this is Christopher Columbus’ fake discovery of the West Indies”.

    I don’t think that our contributions should be belittled. Your opininion and experiences are invaluable, but you are not an authority on all things colonial in Trinidad and Tobago.

    All we are saying is that as a people, we really should collectively re-evaluate our thoughts on our past, and our relationship with the “Crown”.

    Linda made the very valid point that no one got on so tisic (wrong spelling?) when Uganda’a president visited T&T recently. It would be great for us to really consider and take a look at such perspectives, without the squabbling.

    If you are tired of hearing these concerns, and don’t think that we are achieving anything, you are entitled to your views, sir. But please be considerate of others’ similar entitlement.

  • Mr. Daniels intended to remain silent on this issue on the basis of wanting to avoid self-incrimination. He has no quarrel with those who symbolize the lingering legacies of slavery, colonialism and racism. He too wants a world fashioned on the assignment of socio-economic status, political power and inferiority and superiority, to use his words, along “the continuum of color.” This is a gentle, but no less pernicious, phrase for racism.

    I was most saddned recently when Mr. Daniels, in response to a comment I submitted on Cudjoe’s “Acting In Our Self-Interest” article, likened himself to a “Jewish sympathiser of the Palestinian plight,” in his assessment of the relationship between Africans and Indians in Trinidad and Tobago. This personal identification—- with those in illegal occupation of Palestine, who murder with impunity on a daily basis, who pose a clear and present danger to world peace and the regional security of the Middle East—betrays an ideological kinship with Zionism, which has both religious and racist pillars.

    Despite his admirable passion and vigour, it is unfortunate that Mr. Daniels never took pains to educate himself. Anyone who cites a lesson imparted when he or she was 4 years old, as the reason for not protesting an obvious affront to our dignity as a people, has failed to understand that change is the only constant in this dynamic world. This is the type of confused thinking that cannot qualify as “consciousness.”

    Mr. Daniels had nothing to say, for reasons already noted, and he should have followed his first instinct to keep his mouth shut. His dad might have been proud.

  • I did not liken myself to a Jewish sympathiser of the Palestinian plight, as anyone can ascertain by reading my comments. Maybe you ought to tgake some of those comprehension courses you advise others to do. I said like a Jewish sympathiser might draw on his historical experience to empathise with the Palestinian plight, so too can Africans draw on their historical experiences to empathise with the constituents of COP. The test is not how loud one brays. The test is walking the walk. The test is who the enemy is likely to accept into his fold and why.

    Both you and Willamn are like the scribes and pharisees who beat on their chest and wail loudly in the streets so that others might equate their behaviour with commitment. I recognize that this conviction you both seem to have that African Trinidadians need to shut up and learn from Indians and Syrians et al, is not supported by me mulishness not to massage and masturbate your ethnic egos. Well I’m sorry, this homey don’t play that game. Playing the childish game of “look, he aint saying nothing about the whiteman”, is a mechanism of deceit any African Activist worth his salt will recognize immediately. You do not have to teach a fish how to swim. And either of you lecturing me about consciousnes of African history is akin to a landlubber assuming that he or she knows more about swimming than a fish. Give it up you pathetic fifth columnists

    Ruel Daniels is my real name. I wonder if Phil John is yours, or if it is the usual trendy adoption many like you practice in order to hide the true intent behind your positions.

    Like I said this world functions on a continuum of color, and both you and your pardner are closer to the side where white color is king than I am. That is why your views that Africans are ill equipped to raise themselves without expertise from outside is so stirringly reminiscent of the exact views of those behind the slave trade. This raising of dust to comaflage the linkages you accept might fool some not me. Like a bull terrier, I got the scent from the Freudian slip, and I cannot be deterred by your nasal whinings.

    The enemy of my enemy will never naturally become my friend. Not when his views about me paralells those of the enemy we have in common. I prefer to fight my enemy alone, rather than to have a couple of Benedict Arnolds at my side or behind my back. Because I know that as soon as the primary enemy is vanquished, its two symbiotic allies at my side will be fighting mightly to take its place. Me and my brother will fight the whiteman for our rights. We have been fighting him for four hundred years. We do not see those who use these blogs as podiums to empty shallow colloquy around when our heads are being beaten in. Like they say a picture is equivalent to a thousand words. My pictures in the struggle has validity, not the words from those who speak with forked tongues.

  • May I remind some bloggers that great minds discuss ideas, smaller minds discuss things, including material possessions, and the smallest of minds discuss other people’s business.

    Each individual blogger has the basic human right to not comment on an issue, especially when he has no new insights to give.

    As a reader of this column, and its commentaries, I respect Mr. Ruel Daniel’s right to not comment, as said before, and invite other bloggers to give him the same repect. There are some issues on which I do not comment either.

    As the great mystic once said, when asked why he had stayed silent for more than thirty years, “Everything that needed to be said, had already been said.”

    Trying to bait Mr. Daniels is the behaviour of a child in the playground.
    My impression is that this commentary is for mature adults.

  • Why is everyone acting as if this is Christopher Columbus’ fake discovery of the West Indies”.

    I don’t think that our contributions should be belittled. Your opininion and experiences are invaluable, but you are not an authority on all things colonial in Trinidad and Tobago.

    All we are saying is that as a people, we really should collectively re-evaluate our thoughts on our past, and our relationship with the “Crown”.

    Linda made the very valid point that no one got on so tisic (wrong spelling?) when Uganda’a president visited T&T recently. It would be great for us to really consider and take a look at such perspectives, without the squabbling.

    If you are tired of hearing these concerns, and don’t think that we are achieving anything, you are entitled to your views, sir. But please be considerate of others’ similar entitlement.

    Contributions that include my name and equate my non contribution one day after the appearance of the thread is acting like Christopher Columbus discoveries. You guys again are pretty selective about what amounts to belittling. Listen, when you run with the sheep you will be responded to as a herd.

    No all you are saying is not that people should reavaluate their thoughts about the past. Since you used the collective to censure me Kerry, by extension you also said quote, Did you al lnotice the ,” Silence of Mr.Daniels ?” Please, I am not attacking Mr.Daniels but hoping that he will read the post of everyone here and realize that he has a duty to speak the facts “jack” and stop ” gobble gooking” us to death and come out and speak fairly against evils like the reaction to this visit by officials who use our TNT money to participate in this kind of ,”mockery of our Republic!”. When you begin to apply a standard of censure or taking umbrage that is equal, I will concede the validity of your censureship. Until then please, I am under no obligation to accept your blatant selective judgement.

    Based on the referrence and implication behind the inclusion of my name in the post that triggered my response, my Christopher Colombus remark was entirely appropriate. I have seen this methodology before in this DB, and dealt with it in the same way. Since you Kerry choose to assume authority to speak on behalf of the whole, it is obvious that you supported the content of the whole prior to my initial post.

    There is great deceit here that has to be unmasked. You have severally taken umbrage when I infuse an African context into a discussion. Now you begin an assault by pillorying me because I was one day late in doing so, and then wax hypocritically about me being inconsiderate for responding in kind. Are you guys for real?

    And lets take it another rung up the ladder. One of you did not simply respond to this thread, you used it as a vehicle to attack my African consciousness. Obviously you who are pained by my response found comity with that attack. And typically, the convenient blindness that seem to inundate perspective when there is a common enemy, gave the Nelson eye to that slight in order to highlight my inconsideration. Pray tell, what facet of reasoning allows you to apply the variations of Orwell’s Pigs equaller concept in this endeavour. Because that is what you have to apply, in order to decide that accusing me of being short of African consciousness is considerate, but my acusing you of Christopher Columbus like empathy is inconsiderate. Do you really understand what that word means, or does your impetus to attack as a herd prevent you from seeing both sides.

    Kerry is asking me to be considerate about an insult to my ethnicity and my principle. Apparently she believes that such considerations are only deserving by those on whose behalf she chooses to censure me. Well I am sorry. I do not shuffle along to accomodate egos. And I will not ignore a slight and shuffle because it advantagously benefits your collective. Your selectivity in cherry picking which portion of this thread you think should be classified as inconsiderate leaves no doubt that you come to this judgement with dirty hands. And I will not be politically correct and ignore the blatant imbalance

    Webmaster I hope you do not delete my response. Examine the thread. I did not start this, the “we” group did. The “we” group used the article to attack my African consciousness. I, in response cited their Christopher Columbus empiphany like reaction. The person who chose to hand down judgement went for my response while ignoring that which elicited it. And she used the collective “we” to charge me with being inconsiderate. Why should a blackman be considerate of any views that accused him of being disinterested in the history of his group. Why the continuation of this blatant double standard by those who beat on their chest and claim that their views are formulated without favour or affection, malice or ill-will, but automatically behave otherwise as in this instance?

  • Thank you so much Mr.Daniels for your Revelation to us of your Father’s teachings to you from an early age as to the realities of the world.
    It was very generous of you to share your childhood experiences!
    Oh,by the way,I wonder if your Father ever schooled you on the ,” Evils ” of the Racially elected ” PNM Government ” and the political evil which they have inflicted and are inflicting and shall continue to inflict upon the people of TNT especially the poor and downtrodden and your African brothers and sisters in places like Laventille and Kerry’s Indians in the Ghettoes and how the PNM build them some little better than card board houses adjacent to a nasty and stink and hazardous to human health Garbage Dump known as ,” Shanty Town?” Then place another set on another dump known as ,” Embacadere”?
    Then giving foreign MNC the right to build harmful ” Smelters” ( which they cannot build in the USA and Canada because of stiff environmental standards) right smack in the middle of our wildlife and population areas ?
    Did daddy school little Ruel in all these things ?
    I am simply asking Sir???

  • My father schooled me very early that the rationale for slavery was the view that Africans were inferior to other groups. My father schooled me very early that the spoor of anti African prejudice is discernible in the view and notion that we are inferior to others. A statement that postulates that we have to decide to learn how to improve oursleves from others is all the spoor I need to scent and identify the jackal of prejudice that passed by.

    Your pimping of African suffering under the PNM to secure back door inculcation of your prejudicial notions of our inferiority to others is repugnant. African Trinidadians need to expose people like you Willamn. And I will continue to do so here and at every forum where I encounter others. I do not need to speculate about your motives. I can point to your utterances to back up my conclusions.

  • kerry mulchansingh

    Hey, you could have just copied whatever you have written to those who you disagree with. I mean it’s always the same tonguelashing, full of the diatribe and egomaniacal rantings that is typically unleashed on those whom you believe has offended your ethnic beliefs and sensibilities.

    I just made a simple request…for you to be a little more polite and considerate of others’ entitlement. This was apparently very racist of me and extremely out of place. How could I question the Emporer like that? Someone really did a big number on your psyche!

  • Glad to see so many people coming to the realization that sopme people have a sever persecution complex. My advice, stop wasting your time with people like them…in the world there will always be those who only see one side of the coin and no amount of logic nor reasoning will change that. Do as I do…ignore them. Watch how easily I’ll do it once someone has taken the time to grab their thesaurus and post a reply.

    Concerning the article, I agree with it for the most part. I didn’t see so many people line the streets when the Rastafarians’ high priest visited Trinidad or the leaders of other countries. But a lot has to do with our upbringing for young with fairy tales about princes and princesses….subconsciously some see them in this “divine” (for want of a better word) light when in fact they just regular human beings like the rest of us. Regular, billionaire, human beings.

  • Give me a break Kerry. That convenient indignation is for your pals. Everyone here writes generally from time to time. You change the rules when it enhances the fence you dilligently keeps one foot in.

    What the hell are you talking about. Many posters in responding to a topic do so by referencing the third person plural. I do not give a shyte about your sarcasm. We went down this road before remember. And similarly when you were caught practising a double stanbdard you went off on the same tandem.

    There is one constant with you guys that never changes. If the writer is black and writes strongly about the black experience, they are egomaniacal, they are racist, they are devisive. Well you can blow it out girl. I will not be politically correct in order to feed yours or anyone else ego. Take off that blasted white school marm attitude, because it only raises my hackles more. As long as you continue the deceitful pattern of selectivity that you obviously are skilled in practising, I will be vehemently responsive. How dare you have the unmitigated gall to savour the racist attacks led by your pals and then try to upbraid me. Take that back to your damn botom house man.

  • Unlike you, I shall not attempt to practice psychoanalyisis withou a license. But since you are so keen and anxious to point out the “Freudian slips,” I just thought I might ask you how you came by finding any parallels in the political situation in TnT and the Zionist murder of Palestinians, illegal occupation of their sovereign territory and posing a clear and present danger to the peace and stability of the Middle East.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, as you always do. I take it that in your “Jewish sympathiser/Palestinian” analogy, you and other Africans would be the “Jewish sympathisers.” If so, could you please tell me who would make up the “Palestinian” group?

    You may not believe it, but I even suggested that you had a right to keep your mouth shut on the royal visit article.

  • Unlike you, I shall not attempt to practice psychoanalyisis withou a license. But since you are so keen and anxious to point out the “Freudian slips,” I just thought I might ask you how you came by finding any parallels in the political situation in TnT and the Zionist murder of Palestinians, illegal occupation of their sovereign territory and posing a clear and present danger to the peace and stability of the Middle East.

    Like I said, you need to take advantage of your own advise vis a vis comprehension enhancement. I drew an analogy between the empathy behind the position of Doctor Cudjoe and Ryan in relation to marginalization of the constituents of COP, and that manifested by Jews who are opposed to the manner in which Palestinians are treated. Jews can draw on their cultural experience of the holocaust to empathise with the plight of the Palestinians. Doctor Cudjoe can draw on his African cultural experiences with slavery and universal marginalizing based on blackness, to empathise with the plight of the Constituents of COP.

    When you come from cultures that, in every continent in this world, at some time or the other, you were not considered worthy to be part of the decision making process, even in lands where you were indigenous, empathising with the perception of people feeling left out comes naturally. The concept is not as easily recognizable by those for whom subterfuge have become a preferred political weapon.

    Why not, for example, post that piece of my commentary that led you to the conclusion that my analogy was not specific to Doctor Cudjoe’s experience and covered the wide spectrum of politics in Trinidad and Tobago. After all, I did post the comments about Trinidadian blacks lack of capability and their obligation to depend on Indians and Syrians made by your little corporal. And I can do so again to justify my description of a Freudian slip. I cut and paste things like those unto my desktop for easy and future reference. It is remarkable, the dej vu experience you get when you take these observational snippets and juxtaposition them with their historical predecessors. The image of the mouth or pen or keyboard from which they amanate have not changed or altered in four hundred years or thereabouts.

    Frankly I feel no obligation to respond to any query from you guys because your modus operandis and goals are clear. Africans, as articulated by your fearless sage, are ill-equipped to fathom how to develop themselves. They are stupid to have voted for a blackman. No blackman can save them, only Indians and Syrians et al are capable of this feat. For any African, the PNM and Manning, ethical chinks in their armour notwithstanding, are infinitely preferrable to those who like the missionaries of old in Africa, loved black people like they loved their pets.

    The fact that you can proliferate this kind of nonsense in a blog in which black people participate is demonstrable of the depth of your prejudices. “dey stupid, dey aint gon understand it”. Yeah right.

    Like I said, I fight with my brothers against all common enemies. And our common enemy is anyone with the hubris to suggest that that we are less intellectually capable than Indians or Syrians or who ever. I do not give a rats a55 who take offence over my generalizations. When you operate like a synchronised herd, bound together by commonality and selectivity, I will address you as such. Puny rantings will not stay my efforts to lift the veil from the rotten-ness that reverbates from the political sideshow on display in here. You can continue to your worse, and I will continue to do my best to memorialize why Trinidad and Tobago is the way it is. And it will remain that way as long as the disciples of the paradigm that Africans have to surrender their pride in order to feed the egotistical insanity of others continue their crusade.

  • Ghifari Al Mukhtar

    Royal Visit My arse. They scouting the colony.
    They were in Iraq once now they are back, so to in Afghanistan and they planning for Zimbabwe if the opposition gets the power.
    Where were all the Kidnappers, at least we could have gotten some recompense from these Royal Criminals.
    We in the Caribbean like to fool ourselves thinking we are enlightened or we overs them thus with false pride refuse to revisit our history much less demand an apology from these bastards.
    The Black man forever wants to put history behind him as though things are new and the disadvantages we (inherited)face is our inability to move forward. We almost hate ourselves much less the topic of our heritage lineage and our beautiful broad nose.
    I always dreamt of snatching the crown off Queen Elizabeth’s head for the wickedness she done to me and my ancestors.
    This Merchant Of Death never said sorry and until the day I die I will have no forgetfulness towards this menace they call the Royal Family further more forgiveness. Again I ask, where were these mindless kidnappers which terrorise our beloved citizens.

  • Excellent article, and one that (sadly) underscores what I’ve been saying for years: this country has no right to be an independent country and perhaps we need to have that sovereignty taken away (although given our obsession with things foreign, we more likely will give it away willingly)

    Looking at the “cultural” display at the Coast Guard headquarters on TV, I could not help but cringe. Maybe it’s the chip on my shoulder, but I always had a problem with the way we could put on these displays of pan, kaiso and “Mas” only when foreigners coming and then relegate them to some back-a-yard place until another group of foreigners who, more often than not, possess the most skewed idea of Caribbean life, “grace” us with their presence.

    And for that matter, that Coast Guard headquarters, where I once was stationed when I was in the service, shows exactly how we are chained down by our own self-contempt, incapable of doing anything unless it is either prompted by the coloniser or is validated by him. I went to Staubles Bay just last week to take care of some lingering business and reconnect with old friends and was profoundly shocked at the appearance of the base. The first thing struck me was the relative smoothness of the road leading to the base. Then the base itself was paved as far as I could see; I mean everything from roadway, car park, tout/mon baggi in “heavy” pitch. This is the same Staubles Bay that was a veritable dust bowl for months last year long after construction works on the new building and jetties had been completed because everywhere that was dug up to lay down pipes and cables was just covered back with dirt and slipshod surfacing. There used to be a big macco (and at times overflowing) garbage bin that for years was situated next to the fuelling station(!). I used to fear that one day I’d wake up and hear on radio that there was an explosion and fire at the Coast Guard with lord knows how many casualties because some tertiary-educated genius decided to place this huge, stink fire hazard next to the fuelling station. When I visited there last week the thing was gone, practically without a trace. In other words, it was ok for it to be there posing a threat to the locals, no big ting, them life eh that precious, but god forbid that Charles see (and smell) it.

    When are we going to get it right? When are we going to cut this cycle of self-hate and self-doubt, forever pandering to the Euro for validation? Sometimes I think the only thing we changed in 1962 was the flag; we boast about our high “literacy” rate and pat ourselves on the back when we ace foreign exams never mind how little of it is relevant to our situations here. There’s no culture of reading and even less tolerance for critical analysis. We can’t even come up with a formal dress that reflects our culture and climate (how DO you people wear those god-awful suits in this humid place?). But, all’s well, god is ah Trini and Charles and he madam like we. Life goes on.

  • My Royal Family

    I am so sick to my stomach. After all these pirates did to InI ancestors!!!! InI am the ancestors present in this giddeon feh bring judgeManT pun the pirate slave masters and dem criminal brood . How do InI fight?????InI ignorant and traitorous Ethiopians ah bow to massa Charles and his consort. They were testing the watas since the fiyahhhhhhhhhh blazzzzzzzzzinggggggggg pun the mother queen who helped enslave InI mentally, physically, iritically pun she pagan church.
    In Trinidad dem pollute the drums while ina JaHmekYah the ancient Rastafari Iyahbinghi congo man let these pirate vampire male and shemale play the drums (harps) at guess where???????? Yes I!!! at the Bob Marley Museum.

    Figure out how the pirates brought reggae by Chris whiteworst. Dem silence all the drums and pans which are INI VOICES.
    This is a wake up call to all Rastafarians and Pan African families.
    Andrea Williams Green from Irie fm in Jamaica did not take any calls at all during her Sunday morning program “Running African” 6-10 a.m. She played music and taped reactions from InI community. Bro Miguel Lorne explained “WHAT DRUMS R AND WHAT THEY MEAN TO AFRICANS. But the gem of them all was from King Mutaburuka pun him program “The Cutting Edge” last Wednesday night pun Irie fm also from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.. Muta blazed fyahhhhhhh pun all the Africans elite middle class who r Pan African and Rastafarians feh bowing and selling out the lot of Africa and Africans.
    Professor Verene Shepard from UWI Mona was pained because, “OUR REPARATIONS DEMAND” was given to sir professor kenneth hall the queen’s boi. We ah wonder if him give the pirate the document. Check sow mi ah lapse ina patwa cuz dis so treasonous.
    What it also shows is the “WILLIE LYNCH” has done his work. All is well for the pirates to bring “Global Slavery”. Welcome to the giddeon. Dem sure tek ivery trace of InI and InI Motherland away from many of InI brain cells and spirit (irit).
    Almost all dih man ah mentally weak and physically strong. While black slaveWomBman ah mek compliant dawtas who bleach cuz dem hate demselves.
    Meanwhile, the pirate slavemasters, charles ah GERMAN LINE and him generations are willie lynch continuing dem program
    All economic!!!!!lol
    Wake up my people!!!!!
    Time feh Reparations and Repatriations
    NO VISAS…INI COME AS CARGO SO SEND INI AS CARGO ON PLANES….THE LAND AND HOUSES WHERE WE LIVE BELONG TO INI JUST AS AFRIKA IS.

    WATCH OUT PIRATES::: Big Mamma naw wet nurse yuh brats nor raise dem, so watch feh di blowback ina di giddeon

    “Love and “Light”

  • “UWI’s Centre for Creative and Festival Arts did a skit about climate change. Unaware of the significance of symbolic actions, their continuous prostrating in front of the royals looked like a reconfirmation of colonialist attitudes and the idea of White power and supremacy over Black subordinates.”

    The above quote taken from an online article titled ‘Royal Visit to UWI Highlights Lingering Colonialism’ (dated March 6th 2008) and published by a writer named Leslie at Trinicenter.com had been the subject of my interest a few weeks ago, if for no other reason but the fact that the performance in question was directed by this respondent. Then, I wished to respond to the article and thought otherwise; but on this long weekend where one finds himself with a bit of free time that lead to recreational internet usage, and the said article popping up again, as a Facebook posting, I thought it might be useful to occupy my free time with writing. I must admit though that my interest with the article rests also with the fact that I am not in total disagreement with some of the very arguments presented by the writer, but where Leslie identifies “symbolic actions” as the basis for her pronouncements on Arts-in-Action’s performance, which was titled ‘Offering Earth’ I thought it might be useful to make a contribution to this discussion. I would like to begin then with a production note (quoted below) that I wrote for media distribution.

    “About the Performance

    Offering Earth is an adaptation of an earlier Arts-in-Action production, entitled Banwari Earth, which was produced for the opening of the International Association of Caribbean Archaeology (IACA) Conference in July 2005 (refer: http://www.sta.uwi.edu/conferences/iaca/ ). In this original performance we sought to acknowledge the antiquity and significance that is the Banwari Trace archaeological find (refer http://sta.uwi.edu/fhe/archaeology/ ) and to remember and celebrate, as it were, the culture and presence of indigenous people of Trinidad, Tobago and the Caribbean. So what then prompted this adaptation, now called Offering Earth?

    We were invited by the British High Commission to Trinidad and Tobago to deliver a performance for His Royal Highness, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, for their visit to Trinidad and Tobago, and more specifically, the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies. HRH’s office had informed us that HRH had a particular interest in matters relating to the environment, for example global warming. We felt, given the nature of our work in arts education (which we have consciously honed to draw on the indigenous arts and culture of the Caribbean in its devise), and the interests of HRH, as well as the very essence of Banwari Earth (which draws on the first people’s connectedness with the earth in the design of its aesthetic), that there was opportunity to create an item of performance that could at once satisfy the Prince’s interest and our own. It is out of this opportunity that Offering Earth was born.

    For Offering Earth, we kept the Carib smoke ceremony. Through our collaborations then with Carib Chief, Ricardo Hernandez Bharath and Shaman, Cristo Adonis of the Santa Rosa Carib Community, we used the ritual in the original performance for cleansing and welcoming the conference of international participants. We saw welcoming HRH as a similar occasion. We consulted too with Fred Mitchell (aka Composer) and with Pat Elie’s MPhil research and Michelle Goldwasser’s PhD Thesis.

    Still more importantly, the new performance drew on the obvious sense of connectedness that these peoples shared with the earth. We felt that to redress any of these issues, be it climate change, global warming or deforestation, we must begin with a consciousness of respect for the earth itself! Few cultures, save the ones resembling or as old as the indigenous peoples’ demonstrate such a sophisticated understanding.

    As such, the performance told of the Kalinago creation myth that tells of humans being born of a water serpent; it acknowledges the sacredness of Naparima Hills to the Warao people from Venezuela, who make a pilgrimage there to pay homage to their progenitor Haburi. We even created a myth, a ‘nanci story’ if you will, about the anteater who, like people, eats from the ground; he eats ants, we eat yams, dasheen: all this so as to emphasize the relationship between people, and animals and the earth.

    In the performance, a young shaman-aspirant, named Setawa, is escorted by an elder shaman to Naparima for his initiation. Smoke and shak-shak throw Setawa into a trance, and further allow him and the elder shaman to shape shift or be possessed by animal or ancestral spirits. Rocks transform into trees and then into humans. This too is part of the first people’s understanding of the world. In Setawa’s visions he sees the coming of destructive forces that end the world as they know it: modernisation, colonisation, industrialisation, pollution… He says as he sees: “They will come in crafts many times the size of the craft of Haburi… with greed their only god… iron in their heart, gold in their eyes… with smoke and fire in the skies… with heat beating on people and animal… with water that burn and drown”

    Under possession, he is guided by history (memory) and a story of the old earth, whose inhabitants were washed away by a great flood. According to this story, the lone man and woman who survived, rejuvenated life (human, animals and plants) by ‘paying the earth’ with the very food that it offered them: grain. His resolve in the end, to make an offering to the earth, and the subsequent invitation to the audience to participate in this ritual, mark a symbolic commitment then to sustaining life and balance in nature in very much the same way protesting environmentalists aspire.”

    We are faced here with two allegories. In our rationalising and devise of this of this performance, symbolic action featured prominently in our minds. Permit me to make here a useful digression with a truthful anecdote. On the morning of the presentation, I contacted the writer of the performance, to ask if he was going to attend the function that the UWI was hosting for HRHs visit. I knew what his response would have been. And true to form he answered, “of course not!”. I managed nonetheless to persuade him to come see the performance. Forget the Prince! But, I suppose, his spiritual resolve is stronger than his heart’s. Try as he might, he did not make it in time: traffic jams near the campus.

    My interest in having the playwright present was simply for us to share in what was felt to be an interestingly ‘symbolic act’ of subversion. Indeed, we could have chosen not to be there, but where the protocol, given our ongoing links through international projects with UK universities rendered us one of the feature guests, our business there was to ensure that in participating we did not subject ourselves to what Rex Nettleford calls “minstrelsy”, and Trinis, “papyshow”.

    So our “continuous prostrating in front of the royals”, which was read as “a reconfirmation of colonialist attitudes and the idea of White power and supremacy over Black subordinates” was in fact consistent with the aesthetics of the performance. The First People’s connection with the earth forced the playing to be low. In other words the actors were not prostrating before the royals, but performing as truth would demand that rootedness with the earth itself! But we accept, that given the less than superb quality of the sound system (and probably the absence of a stage), the complementary dialogue which should have ensured such a reading, might have left this meaning lost to our reporter. A snapshot out of context, could be read as anything; refer the tabloids.

    We are left now to evaluate the performance, and ensure too that what was presented was not too esoteric. For here it was that we chose as our subject the indigenous people and that aspect of their world view that links them with nature, the earth itself for obvious reasons. In addition, ours was an attempt to escape the nonsensical debates as to which of the two major groups’ culture (Indian or African) should be showcased; we chose none of the above. Still some of the (negative) informal feedback coming our way, were audience members’ alleged remarks, that the performance made us look primitive and that we should not talk about slavery, in front of the Prince. You see, our ‘Amerindian allegory’ was mistaken for an African one: probably because anything with shak-shak and drum and people dressed in brown is African. Don’t mind the players were adorned too with feathers, and every year at Carnival time, various Indian mas are performed in our streets similarly adorned: with feathers. But here too, I’ll blame the sound and the absence of a stage.

    Still the more pertinent issue in relation to the audience members’ alleged remark is why is talking about slavery not acceptable in front of the Prince? I’ve already dismissed as retrograde the very notion that the performance made us look primitive, because till today, the Carib community still practice their smoke ceremony, and up until very recently, the Warao people made their pilgrimages to Naparima. (I say very recently here because I am unsure if it was done as recent as 2007). So perhaps then the prince’s visit is also a forum to raise these issues, not only through stage performance, but in the wider society as well. Why is performance in this particular instance important? It subverts the official ceremony, at once giving voice to the subject, the ‘subjugated’ or ‘powerless’ before the ‘powerful’.

    Ours was a similar intention. The relative apocalypse of the indigenous people’s world and world view came with colonisation, and then modernisation. In other words we can argue that with the beginning of the ‘New World’ came a destruction of a way of life that probably held in it some lessons for a ‘civilisation’ grappling with troublesome environmental issues. And what we felt made the performance so beautifully subversive is its ability to say this, without saying it: sans placards. But I guess, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

    Finally, on the anecdote about the playwright: those of us less interested in investing our energies in subversion, remain absent. We don’t participate. Our playwright does not have a picture or a word to report on our performance. He is simply informed by the production note quoted above. Whether he is satisfied or not with the performance is not the issue. What is important here is that he knows that to be properly informed it is useful to make contact with the players, the people directly involved with the performance. This is the lesson of the second allegory.

    Submitted by
    Marvin George
    Artistic Director
    Arts-in-Action
    Centre for Creative and Festival Arts
    University of the West Indies
    St.Augustine

  • Marvin George,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. However, having seen bits of the skit that was performed for the royals on television, I do concur with Leslie about how it appeared.

    Marvin George said:

    “So our ‘continuous prostrating in front of the royals’, which was read as ‘a reconfirmation of colonialist attitudes and the idea of White power and supremacy over Black subordinates,’ was in fact consistent with the aesthetics of the performance. The First People’s connection with the earth forced the playing to be low. In other words the actors were not prostrating before the royals, but performing as truth would demand that rootedness with the earth itself! But we accept, that given the less than superb quality of the sound system (and probably the absence of a stage), the complementary dialogue which should have ensured such a reading, might have left this meaning lost to our reporter.”

    Explaining why the performance may have appeared the way it did does not alter how it looked. Also, I did not hear your explanation on our local radio and television stations during or after the event (not that it would have changed how it looked).

    Marvin George said:

    “Ours was a similar intention. The relative apocalypse of the indigenous people’s world and world view came with colonisation, and then modernisation. In other words we can argue that with the beginning of the ‘New World’ came a destruction of a way of life that probably held in it some lessons for a ‘civilisation’ grappling with troublesome environmental issues. And what we felt made the performance so beautifully subversive is its ability to say this, without saying it: sans placards. But I guess, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.”

    You have really romanticized your production in this response. You should come out of that bubble to realize that what you have explained here was not communicated to the audience. It is not subversive if people do not get the message and are not moved to act differently.

    Marvin George said:

    “In addition, ours was an attempt to escape the nonsensical debates as to which of the two major groups’ culture (Indian or African) should be showcased; we chose none of the above.”

    and,

    “You see, our ‘Amerindian allegory’ was mistaken for an African one: probably because anything with shak-shak and drum and people dressed in brown is African.”

    I do not know where this nonsensical debate was taking place about which major race to showcase. Maybe it was within your UWI performance group, but as you realized, many people did not even get that you were trying to portray Amerindians. In fact, what I presume most people got, except you folks who were involved in the skit, was that you all jut put on an ‘African’ show to entertain the royals. Any hidden messages remained hidden.

    Even if your intentions were honourable, the spectacle was bad. The people who organized the entire event were interested in showing off, praising and ensuring that nothing offended the royals, and your skit was part of that. I do not believe the university would have allowed any performance that could have challenged or embarrassed the royals. I am not saying that UWI should not have properly greeted the royals, but the spectacle that I saw was disturbing.

    Marvin George said:

    “A snapshot out of context, could be read as anything; refer the tabloids.”

    Come on, that comment was a defensive cheap shot. A link was provided from Leslie’s article to a photo album so people could view the event in a wider scope. That skit was not the only aspect of the event that was criticized. How the skit appeared in relation to the general euphoria from students, teachers and other guests to meet and touch the royals, all together, was rather tacky.

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