Nizam’s Conspiratorial Theories

Why Nizam Must Go

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
March 31, 2011

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn January 20th, 2011 I wrote an article entitled, “Mother Trinidad and Tobago” in which I strongly rejected the People’s Partnership’s position on multiculturalism. I emphasized that Dr. Williams’ cultural policy as enunciated in his “Mother Trinidad and Tobago Speech” seemed a better position from which to base a national cultural policy rather than the nebulous, ill-informed multicultural thrust that the PP adopted. On January 20th I received the following response from Nizam Mohammed:

“Eric Williams and Africans like yourself had this master plan to eliminate the Indian face from this country, so you all set about to import Africans from the small islands lock, stock and barrel, without a second thought, if some were criminal elements or not, did not care were (sic) they will live, or how they will work or eat, as long as they shored up the African population, and voted for the dominance of all Indians, by forcing this half baked idea of Calypso and Pan which by the way is not even indigenous to this country down Indians throats. Well it has backfired, those same people make up the majority of poor in this country (because only poor [people] migrate for better living conditions) and are holding this country to ransom, especially their own African brothers.

“Nine out of every ten crimes committed in this country by an African is against his own kind. You and your kind refused to see, if it was not for Indians, who rent their homes and land to so many of those new arrivals there will be plenty more people living on the streets.”

“You Sir, continue to stir up this racial hatred, but rest assured, Indians know how to give back as they get, for whatever is dished out.”

I was shocked at the conspiratorial nature of this charge. I was shocked that this thinking was coming from a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, the highest legislative body in our land. He supported multiculturalism and argued that “as human beings, we all have two signatures that follow us around all our lives, our nationality (where we were born or reside, e.g. Trinidad) and our race (Asian, African, etc..) We can change our nationality every Monday morning, (This is why we are allowed dual-citizenship). A passport today is worth the same as the paper a ship registration is worth, nothing.”

“To prove this point just let the USA open its doors to Visa list entry from here and half of the people will be out of here by Monday morning.”

“But our race. A stranger coming into contact with one of us for the first time does not see a doctor, lawyer, or our religion. What he recognizes immediately is our race, so why can’t you?”

“Be proud of who you are, and forget statements like ‘There is no Mother India, or Mother Africa’ or ‘Don’t think for one minute you will not have to give up your heritage for CARICOM to survive.’ We live in a global village now, so celebrate your heritage.”

Nizam’s real problem lies with the context of his statement and his inability to understand that statements can mean only within a given context. When Dr. Williams argued there can be no Mother Africa or no Mother India he did not mean that one should be unmindful of one’s original heritage. He meant to argue that people have multiple identities—we are women, Asian, lawyers, etc— although each identity comes to the fore depending on the situation.

Nizam fails to understand that one can be an African and Asante (an ethnic group) simultaneously. So that when one looks at an African he may see a black skin; when he looks at an Asante he also sees a black skin. But within that black skin there are at least two identities that have nothing to do with the color of his skin. The first (his Africanness) has to do with his geography (he is African because he is born in Africa) and he is Asante because of his culture; that is, the particular way in which he organizes his life.

It is therefore a folly of tremendous proportions to imprison someone in their color or their race with the bland statement that we should be “proud of who you are and forget statements like “There is no more Mother India, or Mother Africa.”

It is precisely because Nizam is trapped irredeemably within his race that he is unable to see that Trinidad and Tobago cannot be only about race and that when see racial imbalances within the society or in any of the professions we ought to inquire why it is so and how it came to be the way it is.

The real problem comes down to this: should a citizen who is tasked with looking over the fairness within the Public Service be so trapped in his racial identity that he is unable to see beyond that boundary. And should a person so tasked impute derogatory motives to those who are not of his own “race?”

How comfortable are we with an official placed in Nizam’s position who is informed by a philosophy that says “Africans in this country had a master plan to eliminate the Indian fact in the country;” that Africans sought “dominance over Indians;” that calypso and pan “are not even indigenous” to Trinidad and Tobago and that Indians know “how to give back as much as they get, for whatever is being dished out to them.”

Nizam’s statement was/is not a casual statement. It is noteworthy that his fellow commissioners let him know that he was/is on his own with that particular brand of thinking. And while I am not included to condemn him—he is free to say whatever he wants to says—I find it difficult to allow someone with those particular views to be the chairman of one of the most important commissions in the land.

Nizam’s statement demands that all of us, myself included, look at our beliefs and biases and ask how well they conduce to making Trinidad and Tobago a more harmonious and tolerant society in which to live and do such views bastardize our Trinidadian and Tobagonianness even as we take pride in our various heritages.

Nizam is more concerned with practicing his Indianness. That is a good thing. However, he should not remain as the chairman of the Public Service Commission.

24 Responses to “Nizam’s Conspiratorial Theories”


  • It is difficult to understand how one could ignore that obvious facts to which Nizam Mohammed was referring. It is difficult to see respected intellectuals using the level of abuse that has appeared in some of these blogs and the rather spineless reaction of the Prime Minister. In a democracy, Nizam Mohammed has the right to speak. In fact, for someone in his position, he has a public duty to do so.
    However, without considering what he is saying, abuse is piled on him. These tactics are similar to those used by the white supremist groups in their fight for British jobs for British people here in the UK. They want to shout down the opposition.Is it not statistically correct, a fact, that all the senior positions in the Police are held by Afro Trinis? Is that not something that requires some kind of action by policy makers advocating equality?

    • Raffique Shah, in a newspaper article a few years ago, stated that Indo Trinis were not culturally attracted to the military (which includes the Police Service).I am also aware of that having served as Public Servant for more than 40 years.Is it that these Police officers who have served faithfully and efficiently for all these years and have also improved themselves academically should now be passed over for promotion because of their ethnicity?
      Mr. Mohammed chairs an independent institution which presides over promotions,disciplinary matters,etc and regardless of statistics or his personal views on ethnicity,should reflect independent thinking. That is the reason why he is being hauled over the coals. Trinidadians are educated intelligent people.

      • Mr cudjoe as an intellectual continues to represent the blindness he so enjoys waddling into.here’s an opportunity for rayan and himself to indulge in objective dialogue and what is his take? .perpetuating racial ism with his pen to the ignorant ones .time to forcefully force an open,fair and responsible debate without the expected raw emotions.

    • excuse me! statistics are a snapshot in time and must be used in context if it is to make sense. what u must look at is what was happening over a period of time…… look at the demographics. Why are those of African decent not howling about the amount of East Indians in medicine, engineering, business, customs, licence office…..if u did not pursue a career in a field, then u can’t expect to see proportional representation. I WANT A PROPER SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH DONE…. EMPIRICAL DATA BEFORE WE MAKE UNNECESSARY WAR!!

  • Pot calling kettle black (lol). The facts are there for all to see. It is time for the police force to be restructured to represent the people. All over the developed world, their police force are efficient, but it was not always so. Today, Dudley George an advocate for young black men died in Toronto. His biggest complaint was police brutality. This led to a complete change in the structure of the police force and today the force is inclusionary and efficient. It is the same in New York under civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton. His actions led to a more diversified police force. As Mohammed stands his ground he will be the catalyst for change. And we all know that things are bad in T&T with run away crime rate and incredibly pooor policing.

  • This article is very incoherent. The doc comes out with both ethnic guns blazing. It goes all over the place, but it does touch on the PNM agenda of ethnic dominance. The doc must be applauded for his honesty at times. Under the PNM, State sponsored institutionalised racism/discrimination rule the day. WASA, CEPEP, OJT, URP,police, army, coast guard etc all had the mark of Afrocentric dominance. The PNM was and still is a strongly ethnocentric party. During the Manning years, there was a kidnap list going around with the names of wealthy Indian businessmen and their families targetted for kidnapping. This list was based on the premise that Indians took from Afros (lol) and therefore the money must be “repatriated” to poor Afros.

    To end this subject let me I am always reminded of former President Robinson who said “if you go to far east you will reach west”. And that my friend is what happened to the PNM they went too far east.

    • Nizam Mohammed should be commended for raising the imbalnce issue. Khem says “WASA, CEPEP, OJT, URP,police, army, coast guard etc all had the mark of Afrocentric dominance” and if you do a survey, the numbers will probably confirm it. I want Nizam to succeed in his review because there will be grounds for proportional representation in ALL forms of state supported activity. In particular, PROCUREMENT, a multibillion dollar activitiy that is generally invisible to the public. There can now be a policy framework that requires ALL companies that sells services to the government or are more than 50% owned by the government, to reflect the ethnic composition of Trinidad and Tobago at all levels, from senior management to floor workers. Thanks Nizam!

  • “It is precisely because Nizam is trapped irredeemably within his race that he is unable to see that Trinidad and Tobago cannot be only about race and that when see racial imbalances within the society or in any of the professions we ought to inquire why it is so and how it came to be the way it is.” You miss out the two other steps in the process which are – Do we have to do anything about it? And if so what?? If the answer to the third question is in the negative then the fourth question is no applicable.

  • Viet Nam is a country once divided by European colonizers into two sections: North and South, in a war first against the French, and then against the Americans.

    In both wars, the South Vietnamese sided with the invading Europeans. They adopted their languages, religious beliefs, eating habits, dress, and even acquired their diseases.

    Three decades ago, the North finally evicted the Europeans, first beating the hell out of the French at Dien Bien Phu, and then a decaded later finally occupied the presidential palace in the South and, and the American embassy.

    What might any parallel between Viet Nam and T&T have in common?

    Today, the South Vietnamese complain that they are outnumbered in comparison with North Vietnamese in the military.

    The South Vietnamese however, are today more able to emmigrate to the US, obtain loans for business and the like. They comprise most of the business in the country, despite efforts of the North patriots who liberated their country.

    South Vietnamese still comprise a cultural fifth column element in the country.

    In T&T, the former slaves after 1834, refused to be enslaved by the former slave owners. What did the latter do?

    First, the Europeans, particularly the English, who had stolen Africans from Africa, enforced them to toil on lands stolen from the Amerindians.

    Unlike all other immigrants in T&T Africans are the only ones who didn’t volunteer to emigrate to the Caribbean.

    Unlike all other immigrants, Africans, like the North Vietnamese, liberated the Caribbean, first from imperialism and next fron colonialism. In fact, in T&T, the Indians, like the South Vietnamese fought independence and sought dependence collaborating with the colonizers.

    For being faithful fifth columnists, they were rewarded with land; land brought under cultivation by Black slaves; land initially stolen from the Amerindians. The Amerindians were brutally forced off their lands; the Africans were brutally enslaved to toil on it; the Indians were criminally given stolen lands in the same way 17th century Cromwell, to occupy Catholic Ireland killed off the Irish (including the bees) and gave their lands to fifth column Scottish Protestants.

    Indians were likewise, to some extent unwittingly, England’s answer to reducing the cultural and numerical advantages for which former slaves like Tousssaint, had fought.

    The Indians, like the Scots, occupied the stolen lands, and in gratitude, refused to return to India where hell was, and are now in T&T where heaven is.

    In short, Nazim is in T&T because the Amerindians suffered genocide, the enslaved Africans opposed re-enslavement, and the English happily located another set of grateful fifth columnists.

    As in Viet Nam today, without any knowledge of the past, Indians like Nazim, a condition not adopted by all Indians, feel that he and his are being hard done by.

    In short, there’d be no Indian Arrival holli-Day were it not for African Emancipation Night-mare!

    There is more. Every race who has abused Africans, for example, the Europeans in four years during WWII lost more than 60 million inhabitants, an amount similar to what they’d taken and despoiled out of Africa in 400 years; the Argentinians who in mid-19 century “disappeared” through official genocidal policies, themselves suffered “desparecedos” of white Argentinians by the Military Junta in the mid-80s.

    Likewise, Hindus and Muslims who, especially through their varna culture in India forced their Black populace into being “untouchables” on achieving Independence–one in which an untouchable, a Dalit, Dr. Ambdekar wrote the new constitution–as the first act of independence did nto celebrate the departure of the colonizers, but declared war on each other.

    Today, India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons aimed, not at Britain but at each other. Khan and Sat can only be pals in T&T. As recently occurred in Bombay (Mumbai), in Kashmir, they’d be terrorizing the hell out of each other.

    Today, as in Europeanized South Viet Nam, both of these recent arrivals, enriched by descending from fifth columnists who received stolen lands agitate about being unequally treated. And unlike Viet Nam, are in government.

  • Nizam do your job, If you believe there is an imbalance in TTPS fix it, dont let detractors and racists comments derail your rightful opinion.
    Look around most state projects are given to people of Afro persuasion, look around people.
    I commend Nizam for doing what should have been done a long time ago.

  • Now that Nizam has made his asinine statement, and everyone is up in arms, for and against, one must wonder if that was why he was apointed in the first case, and why we had to get not only one white top cop but two, and those who held the service together, including SAUTT members were sent home preemptorily, and if they were members of the party that lost and not members of the public service. This was the plan all along, Kamla playing “Good Cop” Nizam playing “bad cop”.
    De fool allyuh again, ent?

    • “It is precisely because Nizam is trapped irredeemably within his race that he is unable to see that Trinidad and Tobago cannot be only about race and that when see racial imbalances within the society or in any of the professions we ought to inquire why it is so and how it came to be the way it is.”

      Is this the same man who wanted to lower the bar so that more Africans can become doctors?

  • What is happening in T&T toady occurs in every nation where an Indian regime governs blacks. Therefore it is no coincidence. I am glad that he gave vent to his cultural racist inclinations because now blacks will wake. Especially those who were conned into voting away their liberty and livlihood by putting an organization that is affiliated with ultra racist like Sat Maharaj into power. They say show me your company and I will tell you who you are. Well they now are finding out what the PP is all about.

    Racist cannot hold their piece. As soon as they get a foot in power, the innate triumphalism that is a product of centuries of enculteraton into superior/inferiority of humans, takes over and they all become Nizam mohammeds.

    Malcolm X said, “I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don’t believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn’t want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I’m not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn’t know how to return the treatment.” Black people in the Caibbean need to take this advice and let in influence their relationship with every group, particularly those who came to T&T with the baggage of religious and cultural belief systems based on who was born from which portion of a deity’s body.

  • There is no ned to lower the bar so that Africans can be become doctors. If we examine the academia in the Caribbean, the production of intellectuals among Africans is astounding. In fact, it is African Teachers who took the time to go to the farms of Indians back in the day and encouraged them to send their kids to school for formal education, rather than continue with the practice of keeping them homw to help in agricultural endeavours. The problem is that when people are culturally primed to forget history, and wedded to the silly notion of their superiority because of religious fables, it is virtually impossible for them to examine anything logically.

    Culturally imbedded racial prejudice is an affliction that no amount of learning and degrees can change. It is something that has infested the belief systems of Indians for centuries, and today the reasoning of some of them have become so inseparable from it that their reality is an imaginative version of the cultural mores that held sway in India back in the day and the present. The only difference is now that they are in the Caribbean, they have gone one up into Brahmin status and are attempting relegate Africans to the status of their ancestors when they left, in order to cement their new positions. But black people are wakeing up, and when this arising is proliferated across the Caribbean, they will see the real face of what the British brought into our midst.

    The former slave masters of Africans sought to infuse into the former slave territories a group who they were confident would share their views of Africans, and thus thwart any coalition attempt that would threaten their power. They chose well, They brought strains of Aryan thinking that even preceded theirs. They knew that these new arrivals would relate to the ex slaves with the same racial antipathy they had, and today we are seeing how wise they were in that calculation. Wake up black people, the slave master might have left, but he made sure he put replacements in place who would continue to carry the banner of racial prejudice, the crutch they use to make themselves feel good.

  • The responses to the Doctor mimics the responses to Martin Luther King when he pointed out described and analysed the culture of prejudice that enfolded the US. And why not, there is kinship between the responders in the south at that time, and their Aryan brethren in and from T&T. They come from one strain of humanity, share the same mindset, were nurtured under similar intolerant religious and cultural belief systems.

    David Duke said he never really understood racial superiority until he paid a visit to India. He said he found comity with those whose views on race followed a similar pattern to his. The Nizams and others, we have to understand, are no different than the Governor Wallaces and others who wore white hoods to hide their features. The modern hood today is the claim about too many black people working. Because that is what propells it. They did not seek to highlight imbalance anywhere else, where it favoured their kith and kin. Their concern is that too many black people are working in T&T, and if they wish to get their execution and other political crime tools in motion they had to cleanse work places where the bulk of black people in T&T are employed.

    We have to stop being politically correct and take the same approach to these people that we took when the slave master held our ancestors in bondage. Because that is their intention, their purpose. It is not a coincidence that it obtains only in those countries where racist Indian political leaders get into power. Black people in the Caribbean need to educate their kids about such people, so that when they come into adulthood they will understand that the battle our ancestors fought are still with us, albeit that the oppressive forces are now a darker shade of white.

  • Dr. Lennox Pierre, Drs. Toby, Dr. Courtnay Bartolomew, Dr. Ovid Carmichael, Dr. Adebanji Alabi, Dr. McDowell- These are six known to me , who hardly ever gets sick. There are many,many more out there. Money was the issue. A market vendor’s son in the Africn originated community, was not likely to become a doctor, not from lack of brains, but lack of funds.Levelling the playing field may mean loaning money for medical and other advanced degrees, at a 1% rate, or like Castro does for Latin America, on a pledge to serve a rural and poor community for six years.A Ph D requires the same length of advanced study, in western universities, as an MD does. You cannot count those “doctors” who have a BA in medical studies, as doctors.

  • Look at the intellectual luminaries the Caribbean produced. The Eric Williams, the Forbes Burnhams, and you can go on and on. Examine the ethnicity of the intellectuals who challenged the temple of colonialism and imperialism in the Caribbean. Check out the US and see who fought and sacrificed to open doors that allow current narow assed cowards to live where they like, go to school where they wish, and even run for electoral office where they previously could not. The people who stand behind cowering in fear but step forth to enjoy the products of black sacrifice are always the ones you will this kind of shit from. We cannot understand the warped mindsets that produce their views and opinions. What we should understand is that most of them will never change, we should not expect any better from them, and that our ancestors were dealing with the mindsets back in the day.

    How many ever wondered why Hollywood with its bastion of white supremacy produce more darker skin actors than bollywood where dark skinned people outnumber those in the US by the hundreds of millions. We have become stuck in a thinking that white people are the worse racists in the world, even while seeing examples and evidence that that distinction should be reserved for some a few shades lighter than ourselves.

  • This is what my Trinidad has become, a bunch of people who are as ignorant of their facts, trying to divide Indians(trying to put Hindus against Muslims).
    How dare you damn racist, when a man stands up finally for tyhe rights of others you call him a racist. but when a black man does the same he is a freedom fighter,(Malcom X and others)
    By the way these people who quote what is taking place in India, watch who is killing Africans by the millions in Africa.
    And on the topic of slavery it was black African who kidnapped other black Africans and sold them to white people for a mirror and a hair comb.

    • And who assisted the Naziis in the labour camps where Jews were being gassed?

      Kapos!

      And who assisted the English under Cromwell to subjudicate Catholic Irish?

      Protestant Irish and Scots.

      And who assisted the English to meet their quotas of Indentured Indians?

      Arkaatis

      All of these: the kapos, the Protestant Irish, the arkaatis, were all at tghe lowest levels of benefitting from the oppression of their kith and kin. In addition, they ran the risk of being themselves punished for not being collaborators.

      By trying to accommodate slavery of Africans by citing slave catchers for the slave traders you condemn indentured Indians, your ascestors, many of whom, like Sai Baba, the Indian mystic had afro nappy hair.

      For your ignorance of history and your despising the plight of Indentured Indians, you have no right to observe neither Emancipation Day, nor ceelebrate Indian Arrival.

  • “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” – Mao Zedong. In my view Nizam’s heated rhetoric was not necessarily about race but about power as an African dominated protective service may represent a barrier to a perceived eventual Indian domination of political life in T&T.

  • Rafique Shah

    Given these ingrained imbalances, how Nizam expects to reverse them defies logic. If the race-profile of the Defence Force or the Police Service is skewed not through discrimination, but by people’s choices, how do you redress that other than by naked racism?

    I made referrences to this in an earlier post. And this illuminates the devious pattern that is followed to promote Indian Domination of Africans in every sphere of power in T&T through the usage of these tools. In other words, they make choices on what best serves their interests, and then when the opportunity is ripe, they attempt to explain the results of those choices by pawning their cultural prejudices off on Africans.

    Africans have been too tolerant of the rank racism and compulsion to eliminate them as a political and economic player in the affairs of T&T by some Indians. This same pattern exist in Guyana, existed when Panday was in power, and is the template used by Indians in every society where they grab a hold of political power. When the white man do the same things we call it racist without hesitation. When it is done by those who seek to become his power replacement in the Caribbean, we allow political correctness to condition our responses. Enough!!!!

  • Muslims were the first group to enslave Africans on a group basis, so get your facts right. We do not need to divide Hindus and Muslims because they have been fighting each other in the Kashmir and other parts of the Indian Subcontinent from time immemorial. Africans have always been the most vocal supporters of Islamic concerns,even while as individuals they were profiling Africans in the US. And after 911, Africans continued to join Muslims in protesting racial profiling, an irony that is astounding and exposes the hypocrisy of many in the Islamic community who did not consider it unethical to do the same to Africans in their 24/7s and Taxi Cabs.

    Contrary to your ignorant and facile presentation of history, aligned with your utter supremacist thinking that you have the right to tell an African what holidays he can celebrate, the facts are their to substantiate everything I wrote. Indentureship was a voluntary migration process, slavery was not. The plight of indian indentureship, contrary to whatever hubris condition your thinking, gives you and your racist brethren no authority to dominate Africans in a Region our ancestors built with their blood, sweat and tears. I do not give a heck about your double standard views that we should tolerate your racist behaviours because of your concretized conviction from your religious interpretation that stratification of the human family according to color is an acceptable societal value. The gloves are off, Nizam took them off, and from henceforth expect responses that will parcel and conjugate history to provide evidence of behavorial patterns and attidudes to the anectdotal self serving filth you serve up on this blog.

    Black people had no role in the invention of racism. Black people have no historical connection with the parcelling of the Human family according to color and race. We will no longer accept the fractured human personality traits that were brought to T&T by others, but who now seek to maintain it into perpetuity by insinuating and blaming us for it. Take it, it is your history not mine.

  • K.W says ” Take it, it is your history not mine”. This columnist is so illiterate. From the beginning of time, there was always racism be it Hutu killing Tutsi or black hating white or vice versa. or Forbes Burnham in Guyana sending his “posse” to rape and kill “them Indian” or Eric Williams calling some Trinis a recalcitrant minority and let me say with authority we are no longer minority.
    So acting as its not there will not make it go away.We are all guilty of it.
    We need to do things to alleviate the effects of it and not blame others who try to make the wrong things of history right!!!
    Mr. Mohammed is trying to make some of these wrong issues right.

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