Race is not my compass

By Raffique Shah
August 24, 2020

Raffique ShahIt pains me to return to the issue of race and politics in Trinidad and Tobago, but since it seems impossible to dismiss its impact on not just elections, but on the body politic of the nation, I feel obliged to address it. Note well how racism reared its ugly head as we got closer to the recent general election, and it peaked in the few weeks before and after polling day.

Much like the Covid-19 super-virus, race and racism disturb the equilibrium of the country in waves, peaks and troughs, some more damaging than others. Worse, it seems there is no cure for racism, no vaccine to halt its contagious nature. And, as if these virulent strains weren’t scary enough, there is an abundance of evidence to suggest that racism is contagious, even hereditary, possibly part of the DNA of some people.

Now, if you isolate yourself from political activities on the ground, as well as avoid the mad, mad world of the anti-social media platforms on the Internet, you could perhaps escape the race-wars, and believe that T&T is the multi-ethnic paradise that so many of our calypsonians have praised in song. You will never imagine that your neighbours, fellow Trinis by the thousands, are trolling Cyberspace, hurling invectives and racial epithets at each other, waging cyber-warfare in your name and mine, polluting the airwaves and now “cloud” with their toxic waste.

Many of them seem to be online around the clock, which suggests they are either unemployed or they are unproductive workers who spend their working hours engaging in hurling abuses at perceived enemies. Since government is by far the biggest employer in the country, one can conclude that most of the racist “warriors” who engage in stirring the race-hate pot are being paid by taxpayers to engage in such nihilistic activities.

Can we citizens who believe that the race-hate rhetoric has gone too far do anything to halt the slide into the hell-hole of racial strife such as we have witnessed in other parts of the world? I know several prominent patriots propose to stage public discussions on the issue. I wonder, though, if they would attract broad-based participation by important stakeholders, or if they would merely provide platforms for extremists in the two main ethnic groups who will the bent on sabotaging any such interaction.

While most people will argue that the race problem is more apparent than real, that we do not even have a problem, others will tell you otherwise. For example, I don’t know how many people noticed that in the tension-filled environment of what seemed to be unnecessary recounts in the recent elections, there was a bid by someone or some group to rally public support by way of signatures on a petition to nullify it and stage a new round at the poll.

Had that not-so-subtle attempt to disrupt the peace and harmony in the country gained currency, it could have triggered an uproar, or quite possibly outrage and unrest. Luckily, those who were behind it seem to have sensed the futility and they quietly slithered away, waiting to strike another day. There are extremists in every ethnic group, every religion, hell, many criminal gangs, who are eager to exploit discord in sections of the population to pursue their nefarious agendas. Whether it’s a spontaneous Black Lives Matter eruption or farmers seeking to highlight their woes, there are devious individuals and gangs disguised as legitimate protestors who infiltrate and manipulate the event.

But race is an open, festering wound in this society that is real, that we must decide at some point we need to deal with. Or we can pretend it’s not important, leaving it for our children, our grandchildren to face. As someone who was never affected negatively by race, I pity people who see other human beings only through the prisms of their colour of skin or texture of hair. I am now 74 years old. My father, Haniff, was a semi-literate sugar worker and my mother, Khairun, a simple housewife. But somehow, in an era when racism was rampant, they were unmoved by it. They saw human beings as human beings, judged people by their character, not colour The “N” word and the “C” word did not exist for Ma and Pa, so they did not exist for their children. There was never the need to tell us not to use them. Not just that, but we all had friends across the ethnic-board, and we lived easily with them, as, I imagine, they lived with us.

So when, in this day and age, I see people, many of them young professionals, use race as their compass to guide them in choosing friends, in voting in elections, in living their lives, I weep for them, for what they are missing. Thanks, Ma and Pa, for sparing m us that torture.

41 thoughts on “Race is not my compass”

  1. It is very lovely that Ma and Pa spared you the torture of racism. It is unfortunate that more parents were not like yours. A sober, historical review of your articles reflect your attempts at objectivity on race, but in your quest to demonstrate your impartiality, you tend to overcompensate.
    I am disappointed that you never confront the issue head on .You skirt around “race” reassuring your readers that you not a racist , seeming preoccupied with the idea that you are not like “Them”.
    Responsible and credible journalism calls for candid discussion of the topic and numerating effective, specific solutions for solving the race problem in T&T.
    Portraying yourself as the tolerant, “nice-guy” Indian from the sugar belt ain’t going to cut it.
    By the way, I am also 74.

    1. Raffique Shah should come clean on WHY his foreparents rejected brahman-ism, and how the ‘why’ connects to indian-african relations, and social harmony(dis?)

  2. Brother Shah, you forgot to say that your background is of Islamic traits, Islamic belief says that Racism should never exist. In Trinidad, racism have always been the make up of Hindoo/Islam, “ah Indian is ah Indian” they say, inter mixed marriages have solidify the wrongs, FETTERED in inner quietness among themselves. Not so long ago, Africans were not welcomed in the South Asian mosque, to this day, the Mandir is no access, while some of the Baptist gatherings will leave some of us gasping. In Trinidad, among themselves, the South Asians of both Hindoo/Islam speaks ill in their Hearts, MANAS and Mouths against the African. The Ancients told us that the South Asia wasn’t born into Racism, forced racism was imposed on them by the invading Hords of caucus barbarians, dividing the once BLACK Indus valley Civilisation forever. This history is lost to Trini-Indo, not uncovering this historical fact, continue to keep our South Asian family in perpetual ignorance, while holding onto the transient professions of the Rajas conditioned, and the aspiring Tamas. What is distinc here , is that the higher comprehension of South Asian belief systems are not practiced in Trinidad, our Trini=Indo family do not qualify for PURITY, being SHUDRAS, have disqualify and Diminish them in the eyes of Higher Caste hierache which still exist as i pen this comment. Today, a once Enlightened people, are left HATTING themselves and people who have done nothing whatsoever to them. The TAMAS doctrine of Hate, Deceit, jealousy and the greatest of all, Show and Tell, have exposed all the ILLS of a MIS-EDUCATED and CONDITIONED people. Some can only imagine, had our South Asian Family been the overall Caribbean majority?.

  3. Well said, Sir. Like you, I was born in 1946 and was a member of the T & T Cadet Corps, A Company, from 1958 until I ‘left school’ in 1964. I believe that we participated (maybe ‘were subjected to’ is the more appropriate term) in at least one, maybe two ‘camps’ at Gasparillo. The corps did a lot to mould young men into productive, right thinking citizens. I never experienced any ‘racism’ in the Corps. There should be a Unit of the Corps in every post-primary school in our nation. There is a saying: ‘There is no racism in a foxhole’.

  4. Race and racism is a human construct. It was designed to make people feel bad about themselves, whilst the enforcers lived of the division created for the sole force of power. The colonialist in Rwanda were from Belgium to control that nation they created the Hutus and Tutsis. The Tutsis nose were narrow whilst the Hutus nose was wide. A slight variation in DNA. We are all the same except for the DNA that gives us skin, hair and physical features.

    Racism is more evident around election time because our politics started on race. Indian DLP versus African PNM. The PNM mastered the art of mind control over their followers. And in the process created euphoria, religious fervour and cultism that is usually stirred up around election time. It is only this cultist party that can take the word blank, covert it to black and turn it into a racist statement. Never been done before such is the power of mind control. The PNM knows their supporters well. Dr. Rowley called the election 10 days after Emancipation and campaigned on a “racist add” and “blank man” reminding them of who they are. It work wonderfully as he stirred their emotions to come out and support the tribalist.

    Anyone who is leading or want to lead the UNC must understand the psychology of race and the PNM. Unfortunately, Kamla didn’t, 2015, 2020 elections she needlessly attacked Rowley instead of focusing on her vision. 2015 it was spin the wheel, 2020 was an add and blank man. Kamla should have won the election by 1 seat, but the PNM activated their assets to steal 2 seats. Thus confining her to the dustbins of history. The PNM support base is will do anything for their party. Nuff said.

  5. The PNM, from its inception, has been fighting against racism, because it knows what racism is. Dr. Williams came to be noticed by his struggle against racism at Howard University, where he taught social and political sciences and where he became a consultant to the Anglo-American Caribbean Commission. The ideals of a common humanity have been enshrined in the PNM’s party constitution and in the Constitution of T&T. Every creed and race find an equal place. Some UNC commentators are now blaming Kamla for the overt racism displayed by the UNC in the 2020 campaign, but the racism displayed is just an expression of what some influential members of the UNC really think. Looking at some of the analyses of those who realize that something went wrong for the UNC, one realizes that Kamla Persad-Bissessar has been defeated, many times, but the ideas that give rise to KPB are still there trying to resurrect themselves, trying to live a life beyond death, trying to turn the UNC into a zombie party. We have defeated KPB many times but Kamla-ism still lurks around infecting all that are near it like a virus. We hear the Kamla-ism announcing itself – the robber talk by real robbers, the opposing for opposing sake by those who care nothing about the country, the intent to continue the sabotage, the undermining, the undercurrent of racism, the Orwellian double-speak, the hatred. It’s all there oozing from those who seem to want to replace Kamla-ism by a more extreme Kamla-ism. Make T&T fail, and the UNC will succeed, that’s their thinking. What they will succeed in doing is to destroy the UNC, and we will all say with one voice – good riddance.

    1. “The PNM since its inception has been fighting against racism”
      What a joke. The primary purpose of the PNM party since its inception has been and still is to promote the interests of the Black residents of Trinidad & Tobago. What this means is that all other races are considered to be potential aliens not worthy of attaining any semblance of political power.

      In the PNM party and T&T Government institutions a few token whites, chinese and indians are sprinkled about for window dressing and these people always need be aware of their second class status.

      This is how it has been and will always be. Any deviation from this state of affairs is accompanied by loud bawling and crying about racism when the PNM as a party has been practising systemic racism primarily against Indo-Trinidadians since 1962.

      By last count, 2734 votes separated the Government from the Opposition (St Joseph -811, La Horquetta/Talparo-1973) but you would not know this given the boasting in the PNM camp.

      When close to half the population are denied their political rights how can you expect a country to progress. Is this any less discriminatory than the former apartheid system practiced in South Africa and Rhodesia?

      Racism is not a victimless crime. When practiced at the State-level it denies large groups of citizens of their basic human rights and secures the wealth of the country for a privileged group.

      No need to put up a sign saying “Coolies not wanted”

        1. Mr Birdie, whoever wins the election is important for the development and progress of the country. The fact of the matter is that the PNM has been winning elections since 1962 and today in 2020 the country is in worst economic conditions than it was then. Rising crime, high unemployment, failing infrastructure, criminal gangs controlling large parts of the East- West Corridor.
          These are the sort of things a responsible Government looks after in a civilized state.

          The PNM leadership’s sole purpose and energies are devoted to remaining in power. Their only economic policy is to provide an “Eat ah food” social welfare system for their supporters-subsidized housing, guaranteed Government jobs in Police, Army, Civil Service, Elections Commission etc where you are well paid for doing little or no work.
          The rest of the country have to scratch out a living as vendors selling provisions, doubles, roti etc or as taxi drivers or fisherman or agricultural workers. You get my drift. The rest of the country is working hard and still struggling to survive while the PNMites are living high on the hog from one generation to the next. They like it so, and you see nothing wrong with current state of affairs.

          This is what racism and discrimination is all about. One elite group depriving another of a basic human right-Equal treatment.

      1. “the PNM as a party has been practising systemic racism primarily against Indo-Trinidadians since 1962.” Really!!!

        Now I can understand the deep disappointment of the UNC supporters, who thought that they ‘deserved’ the right to win the election of 2020. It would appear that the majority of them are thoroughly uninformed when it comes to the history of this country. That is because they have NEVER considered themselves TRINIDADIANS and insist that they are INDIANS.
        If they really wanted to learn, they would know that Dr. Williams was accompanied by Dr. Rudranath on his trip to London to negotiate independence for our country. He negotiated and was granted conditions sought by the Indians. Indians consciously abstained from arts and culture that are distinctly Caribbean or Trinidadian. They insist on adapting and cultivating everything they inherited from India. Chutney is only a mild adaptation of inclusiveness. But for the most part Indians adapt an ALL OR NOTHING approach to politics and governance. Maybe Tariqandalus can show us how Kamla or Panday gave us a diverse cabinet when they had the opportunity to govern.
        Maybe if they did, they would have been returned to power.
        What these Indians don’t understand is this: when they freely express these racial animosities towards African people, they are in fact causing African people to view them more closely.
        Kamla may very well have been victorious in the last election, but when she decided to go “racial”, not only Africans but other groups are scared by the same apartheid that he is talking about. The electorate did not hear a call to nationhood or unity from Kamla. They heard her saying loud and clear that we must fear “de blackman”. And that my friend is why one has to think twice before we have to considerbefore replacing the PNM with the yellow flag.

        1. The election is over and PNM will rule for another five years. Do you expect your life to improve over the next five years?
          I think the topic on discussion is racism.
          In a number of countries some of the comments being expressed in this comment section about Indo-Trinidadians would be considered hate crimes.

          Mr Kian is implying that a prerequisite for the entire Indo community to be considered truely Trinidadian they need to give up their culture and customs.

          I recall a line in the National Anthem which says “Where every creed and race find an equal place”. I think the writer intended to acknowledge that Trinidad society was made up various races, whites, blacks, Chinese, Syrians, east Indians etc and each was entitled to an equal place.

          For history buffs on this blog a little story.
          In the run up to the 1961 elections, the PNM held a huge rally in Los Iros Beach with busloads of PNM supporters from Diego Martin, Laventille, Morvant and other parts of the PNM heartland joining the caravan. On the way to Los Iros, the caravan stopped in the sleepy village of Debe and the revellers feasted on watermelon, doubles and other goodies and rushed into the buses without paying the vendors. One watermelon vendor went into one of the buses retrieve his watermelon and was badly beaten.
          What happened next changed the course of Trinidad history and is the real reason Dr Williams took Dr Capildeo to the Marlborough Conference in London.

          After the PNM caravan left, the residents of Debe got together and lined the roadside with bottles and stones. At that time there were two railway tracks crossing Debe Main Road, with gates to prevent the traffic from entering the track.

          Later that night when the caravan of revellers entered the zone between the gates, both gates were locked. What ensued was not pretty.

          I was there to witness it.

          I sincerely hope this sort of thing never re-occurs in Trinidad & Tobago.

          1. Tariqandalus, don’t know where you are going with your stories but Im sure that there are literally millions of them that can be written. They are grievances we hear each day ad nauseam. Indian multi media is replete with insults towards African people but we can’t go on
            bringing it up with every grievance like you guys do
            with the “Culcutta ship” and “recalcitrant minority” statements.

            Elevate yourself, elevate your concerns for a better Trinidad and Tobago. If we remain and recycle old grievances we will remain in the gutter. Trinidad is a small country and I will not allow you to run me out of it and Im sure you will do the same. Lets learn to communicate intelligently, maybe, just maybe we can discover that those insulting epithets encourages distrust. I am smart to have an intelligent conversation if Im allowed to. Are you?????

          2. Do you notice how the UNC and its supporters have changed their tune? Before the election, the entire UNC campaign seemed to be about how PNM people had suffered under the PNM, how they were eating grass, etc. Now suddenly UNC supporters are saying the opposite, how UNC people have suffered or will suffer under the PNM. You would want to – know why this turnaround? Well there is a strategy. Now that the UNC has lost the election, the UNC is threatening all kinds of things, they are going to make life rough for the PNM government, they are going to do this and that, now Tariq… seems to be threatening racial war, etc. “After the PNM caravan left, the residents of Debe got together and lined the roadside with bottles and stones. At that time there were two railway tracks crossing Debe Main Road, with gates to prevent the traffic from entering the track. Later that night when the caravan of revellers entered the zone between the gates, both gates were locked. What ensued was not pretty.” And “What happened next changed the course of Trinidad history and is the real reason Dr Williams took Dr Capildeo to the Marlborough Conference in London.”
            It’s really laughable, Tariq … reminds me of those Japanese soldiers who couldn’t accept that Japan had lost the war and they holed up in the jungles not giving up and decades later would be seen wandering about with their antique weapons and emaciated bodies not realizing that Japan had become America’s number one ally in the Asia. Tariq talking about bottles and stones, well brother bottles and stones are from the dark ages, now people have guns.
            It’s all part of a strategy, call it the “appeasement” strategy. Historians will know of the appeasement strategy of Chamberlain towards Hitler, and how it was so successful for Hitler. He agitated and threatened aggressive actions towards Chamberlain until Chamberlain thought – well to avoid war, I better give in to their demands, and then the demands multiplied. Appeasement is outdated; it’s gone through the window. T&T is a democratic country, we have elected a government, the government has a mandate to administer the country, there is a parliament where there is debate about issues and laws, etc. There is a voting process in Parliament, in some cases, the majority rules, in others, a special majority is required. The Parliament is a place where rational discussion and debate is supposed to take place. Whatever laws are passed in Parliament, the police and the judiciary is there to ensure that it is carried out. That’s what we have – a democratic country. For those threatening all kinds of things (and they are merely talking), we have had terrorists attack the government before and plant bombs, etc., the police and the army are prepared for those sort of contingencies now.

      2. Your response lacks depth. You need to write in simple persuasive format on the following statements which, so far, are unsupported and probably held as articles of faith.

        1. The primary purpose of the PNM party since its inception has been and still is to promote the interests of the Black residents of Trinidad & Tobago.

        2. When close to half the population are denied their political rights how can you expect a country to progress.

        3. Your statement “Racism is not a victimless crime. When practiced at the State-level it denies large groups of citizens of their basic human rights and secures the wealth of the country for a privileged group.” can be taken as fact.

        However, this is what was practiced by the KBP gov’t to and extent such that it has destroyed the COP and relegated the UNC to minority status as long as it continues to be obstructionist with respect to good governance; be devoid of a national outlook; continues to seek out the treasury for plunder, and continue to view Afro citizens as a cast not worthy of redemption.

        This country has learned and it will take another ten years in opposition before the UNC understands the error of its ways.

  6. The “UNC”, is just a brand name for indian politics. Since 1995, the UNC’s politics has been seared into the psyche of every indian aspect of indian society, to the point that UNC=The Indian Community. The brand name and kamla will be ‘juiced’ for every last drop, then they’ll ‘rebrand, continue disrupting and eroding,eventually discard her as they did with panday and PP.Unlike PNM and african trinidadian fantasies of governing fairly and peacefully in social/ethnic harmonious bliss, it seems that the indian community’s sole political ambition, is to get power by any means necessary, and remodel the society and it’s actual history into ‘Indesh’.

  7. When I see what’s going on in T&T, I now understand why many of my friends and relatives have emigrated to Europe and North America and vowed to return only as tourists.
    They claim to live overseas mainly free from prejudice and racial discrimination and without the preoccupation of race on a daily basis. In Canada in particular they believe that their children have numerous opportunities and they see themselves represented in every institution in a mainly liberal, multi cultural society, even though people of color are a small minority.
    Living free from the race albatross relieves stress and tension, knowing that opportunities are based on merit , competence and qualifications rather than race or political affiliation.
    One relative in Canada commented that if there sometimes is prejudice experienced, it is not as bad and less frequent than in T&T.

    1. LIES!
      T-man, the real reason your family and friends migrate to europe and canada, is because the societies are much wealthier, developed, and plenty of white families to marry into and have near white children, so they can show them off to you WHEN THEY VISIT TRINIDAD AS TOURISTS! https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-trinidad-hates-its-olympic-gymnast-marisa-dick Please…The behaviour of your ‘family and friends’ hasn’t gone unnoticed by ‘other’
      trinidadian migrants. It is disgusting, and downright embarrassing, to see people who are so arrogantly racist to africans in T&T, bend over and lick the *** of racist whites and other non-africans, just to be accepted as white-ish! We see you T-man (mr. drupatee)! To claim that african societies are racist to indians, but white societies are not, is maliciously dishonest. Tman (mr. Drupatee), spins lies and half truths about T&T, out of racial and political malice. Just as his canadian and european emigrant friends and family, Tman hates african people because of their skin colour, facial features and because they cannot have their way politically and control the society!

      https://www.dalitcamera.com/indian-racism-towards-black-people-is-almost-worse-than-white-peoples-racism/

      https://www.queensjournal.ca/story/2020-01-23/postscript/addressing-the-persistence-and-foundations-of-south-asian-anti-blackness/

      https://newcanadianmedia.ca/anti-black-racism-protests-should-prompt-introspection-for-south-asians/?doing_wp_cron=1598889436.7792239189147949218750

      https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/29/world/indians-migrant-minority-black-lives-matter-intl/index.html

      https://www.refinery29.com/en-ca/anti-black-racism-south-asian-community-allyship

  8. The election is over and PNM will rule for another five years. Do you expect your life to improve over the next five years?
    I think the topic on discussion is racism.
    In a number of countries some of the comments being expressed in this comment section about Indo-Trinidadians would be considered hate crimes.

    Mr Kian is implying that a prerequisite for the entire Indo community to be considered truely Trinidadian they need to give up their culture and customs.

    I recall a line in the National Anthem which says “Where every creed and race find an equal place”. I think the writer intended to acknowledge that Trinidad society was made up various races, whites, blacks, Chinese, Syrians, east Indians etc and each was entitled to an equal place.

    For history buffs on this blog a little story.
    In the run up to the 1961 elections, the PNM held a huge rally in Los Iros Beach with busloads of PNM supporters from Diego Martin, Laventille, Morvant and other parts of the PNM heartland joining the caravan. On the way to Los Iros, the caravan stopped in the sleepy village of Debe and the revellers feasted on watermelon, doubles and other goodies and rushed into the buses without paying the vendors. One watermelon vendor went into one of the buses retrieve his watermelon and was badly beaten.
    What happened next changed the course of Trinidad history and is the real reason Dr Williams took Dr Capildeo to the Marlborough Conference in London.

    After the PNM caravan left, the residents of Debe got together and lined the roadside with bottles and stones. At that time there were two railway tracks crossing Debe Main Road, with gates to prevent the traffic from entering the track.

    Later that night when the caravan of revellers entered the zone between the gates, both gates were locked. What ensued was not pretty.

    I was there to witness it.

    I sincerely hope this sort of thing never re-occurs in Trinidad & Tobago.

  9. Tariq is talking about some event that took place in 1961, he must be over 70 years now, or maybe 80. Instead of Tariq sitting in his armchair, peacefully eating his roast baigan and sada roti, and making sure his adult diapers are on properly, Tariq is trying to incite the country for some kind of racial war. Tariq compose yourself, ask your caregiver is you took your medication today. Jeez you are wasting our time with your nonsense.

    1. To my fellow Trini compadres Kian, Birdie, and Inconvenient,
      let us put our differences behind us and focus on the the future. You can only learn from the past, recycling it is fraught with dangers.
      It has always been my belief that Trinidad & Tobago is among the more blessed countries in the world primarily because of the various cultures and races who live here. Where else do you have Amerindian, Spanish, French, British, Portuguese, African, East Indian, Chinese, Syrian etc all mingled together and bringing with them the best of their homeland to our rainbow melting pot.
      And I ask myself where did we go wrong that today more than 50 years after independence we are at each others throats and this beautiful land is in disrepair with criminal gangs roaming the streets freely, annual flooding in large parts of the country, crumbling roads, intermittent supply of drinking water, growing unemployment, and a collapsing economy.

      How did this happen to us? Is it punishment from the Almighty? Are we the new Sodom and Gomorrah? No, this present state of affairs is a direct result of poor governance and leadership we have experienced in the past.

      Will things improve in the future? I hope so.

    2. Birdie,
      Tariqandalus is just about as honest as Kamla, the UNC and the farmers who intentionally plant crops in flood prone areas, in order to fleece the state. Do you actually believe his anansi stories? Don’t you find it strange that the african narrative on how indians behave socially and politically is never heard? “Hindu” Nationalist politics, is about DOMINATION! The media in T&T, is overtly dominated and run from an indian, brahman-ist, UNC interest perspective. All of the prime time slots on any frequency is either overtly or covertly, aggressively spewing indian brahman-ist social and political talking points, or wherever there’s an influential counterview/program/person, they pull strings and send in a ‘ralf’, sheela or ‘siewdath’ to derail it.

      Indian Express (ralf writes editorial? Or sheela?)
      Indian Guardian
      Indian Newsday
      UNC3 (jack warner gave it that title on a platform)
      iralfmaraj.5 fm (trusted name in unc ???)
      IMATT???

      Meanwhile, during this media apartheid era of T&T, nobody notices or says anything.

  10. PNM “till ah dead” supporters on this Blog seem to be euphoric over the election victory, interpreting the PNM victory as a repudiation of Indians and Indian culture in T&T.
    These tunnelled vision sycophants should curtail their gushing enthusiasm and celebratory posturing by remembering that in TRINIDAD, the PNM majority is one seat.
    In TRINIDAD & TOBAGO the PNM majority is three seats.
    This is hardly a resounding victory.
    The UNC also won the popular vote in TRINIDAD. The PNM won the popular vote in TRINIDAD & TOBAGO by a slim margin.
    There is nothing to celebrate here. We should be lamenting the tragic division in our country along racial lines and recognizing the frustration of the 10-15 % of the swing voters who stayed home on election day, allowing the PNM supporters, Afro-Trinis to give the PNM narrow victories in the marginals.
    UNC supporters should take note of the fact that the PM has made an effort to create a racially balanced cabinet as best as he could with approx 12 non-Africans.

  11. There are spinmeisters “crunching the numbers” and telling us that the PNM victory is small, it is unstable, our democracy is split into half for and half against and that is almost unworkable. Let’s reform the system. Well here are some statistics from elections in some of the democracies that are considered paragons of democracy. UK: 2019, Conservatives 43.6% of the popular vote, won a majority government with 365 out of 650 seats; 2017, Conservatives 31.7% of the popular vote won a minority government with 317 out of 650 seats; 2015 Conservatives 36.3% of the popular vote won a minority government with 330 out of 650 seats; 2010, Conservatives36.1% of the popular vote won a minority government with 306 out of 650 seats. Now there is a statistical analysis that most of our “number crunchers” are missing. Our total number of seats is 41, the UK has 650. It means that one seat in T&T is equivalent to 16 seats in the UK, so a majority of 3 seats here is equivalent to 48 seats in the UK. So look at the numbers, nobody is saying the parliamentary system is unstable, even though the party that has formed the government has not won more than 43.6% of the votes since 2010. As a matter of fact the highest percentage of votes that the Conservative party has gathered over the years is 49.7% in 1955 and the highest percentage of votes that Labour, the other main party, has gathered is 48.8% in 1955. I will give the statistics on election results in Canada from 2010 and the US from 2000 later, they show the same narrow victories over the years, it’s only in some unique years that the results show large margins. So these spinmeisters need to focus less on spin and more on accuracy.

  12. Canada: 2019, Liberals 33.1% of the popular vote, won a minority government with 157 out of 338 seats; 2015, Liberals 39% of the popular vote won a majority government with 184 out of 338 seats; 1011Conservatives 39.6% of the popular vote won a majority government with 166 out of the 338 seats; 2008, Conservatives 37.6% of the popular vote won a minority government with 143 out of the 338 seats. A three seat majority in T&T is equivalent to a 28 seat majority in Canada.

  13. The USA: 2000, Republican George Bush won the elections with 47.9% of the popular vote and 271 votes in the Electoral College (EC), Democrat Al Gore got 48.4% of the popular vote and 266 votes in the EC; 2004 Republican George Bush won the elections with 50.7% of the popular vote and 286 votes in the EC; 2008, Barack Obama won with 52% of the popular vote and 365 in the EC; 2012, Barack Obama won with 50.9% of the popular vote and 332 in the EC; 2016 Donald Trump won with 46.0% of the popular vote and 304 in the EC. There are 538 votes in the EC, so once you get 370 votes in the EC, you win. Although it is not strictly the same in terms of the makeup, three seats in T&T are equivalent to 39 votes in the Electoral College of the USA. In any case one can see the closeness of the results. In T&T the PNM got 48.9% of the popular vote, the UNC got 46.8% a difference of 2.1%. Compare it with the results from the USA, Canada and the UK. There is not much difference in terms of margins of difference, in fact I would say that the PNM 2020 has a greater share of the popular vote than the winning parties in either Canada or the UK since 2000 or maybe even since Parliamentary elections began in those countries. In the USA, the average difference between winning and losing political parties between 2000 to 2016 is 2.36%. So what is the brouhaha about?

    1. In the countries you reference people vote for Parties which represent their ideologies and philosophies. In T&T people vote for Parties which represent their race.
      Also, after elections winners and losers are willing to compromise on legislation for the benefit of ALL.
      In T&T winners gloat and embark on an authoritative approach while losers disrupt and oppose.

      1. LIES!
        The PNM (african supporters) were in opposition thrice, 1986-1991, 1995-2002 and 2010 to 2015. Neither the PNM leadership, nor its african support base, promoted ‘disruption’! Neith officially, overtly, nor unofficially, covertly. Indian politics has defined opposition in T&T since the mid 1950’s, and the indian community’s political/religious/union leaders, have consistently promoted overt disruptive, racist antagonism towards the PNM and african people. The westminister system is not the root cause of indian anti-african racism. If african political, religious and union leaders, had mirrored indian opposition politics, T&T would be a VERY different place! Truth and in fact, if indian politics was mirrored by africans, T&T would have never have seen basdeo panday or kamla in office bia NAR or twice elected as PMs…NEVER would have happened! 1986 and therefore 1990, 1995 and 2010 would be fiction. Abu Bakr, an african muslim, did what he did to A.N.R.R., an african PM, and tried to make winston dookeran, an indian man PM in his place. Would an indian muslim leader and group in T&T, if ones as brave exist, do the same to an indian PM? and try to replace them with an african? Never! African politics has always been anti-racism, unlike indian politics, which is PRO-racism!

        Inside the Mind of a Hindu Nationalist The Diplomat
        https://thediplomat.com/2017/05/inside-the-mind-of-a-hindu-nationalist/

    2. Melbourne, Australia. +Birdie McC. “so once you get 370 votes in the EC, you win. ” You wrote. I think the figure should be 270 EC votes not 370 votes. TT has a just and fair Parliamentary election system. Why compare it with the corrupt US so called Presidential election? It should not be called US Presidential election but US Electoral College election. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won more than 4 million popular votes than Trump. In a real democracy, Hillary Clinton would have won. But,you know who was declared the winner.

  14. Mr Birdie you are good at research but poor on analysis.

    In Canada and the UK there were several strong parties contesting the elections whereas in T & T there are only two. Also the US system is entirely different from that in T&T so you really cannot compare US results with T&T figures.

    The results are in, for better or worst PNM is the winner, enjoy, and quit gloating and trying to justify why you won.

    Your time is better spent trying to save the youths in the PNM strongholds from a future of crime and begging.

    Bonne Chance

  15. The people who say “PNM till ah dead” are honest with themselves and judging from experience cannot be compared
    with the alternative. Why? The alternative don’t say “PNM till ah dead” they just never ever vote other than the standard UNC.
    Kamla can’t even get herself to argue her case for “631,000”
    she insisted at her swearing in she only represents “309,000”.
    The President had to remind her that in Opposition, she too
    represents “the 631,000”. What does that tell yuh?
    UNCs interest is only for those in the South, Caroni and South East Trinidad. If the UNC wants to form a national government, their focus must be throughout Trinidad and Tobago. Of course, had Duke done better in Tobago, they stood a good chance of
    “purchasing” two seats.

    1. Mr Kian, I recall the free laptops was for all children, and the increase in pensions was for all pensioners, and the Tobago ferry primarily benefitted people living in Tobago and most of the oilfields and agricultural lands are south of the Caroni River. This area is probably 2/3 of the T&T landmass.
      The UNC represents the weak, the poor, the law abiding and the hardworking citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
      The Leader of the Opposition is an elected Official, the President is a PNM appointee who I see carrying on the long-standing PNM tradition of publicly insulting people.
      Numbers don’t lie. it is no accident that the PNM can win three extra seats with a majority of 13,062 votes (less than 1/2 the number of registered voters in a UNC constituency).
      Fifty years of election rigging, gerry mandering, and social engineering using HDC housing has paid off and will continue to be successful. PNM till a dead.

      The real losers are the PNM youth who face a future of thievery and beggary and the country as a whole which is on the slippery slope of becoming the next Haiti.

      Enjoy your victory.

      1. “he real losers are the PNM youth who face a future of thievery and beggary and the country as a whole which is on the slippery slope of becoming the next Haiti.”

        No surprise with that statement. It is consistent with all the insults Indians speak of the African youths. Granted, we have more than our fair share of youths who have chosen the wrong paths of life but it surely is not the paths most African parents chose for their children. Trinidad has a very long history where, depending on the era, one can find that groups
        have travelled paths that are not consistent with the rest of the population. As a young child (in elementary school), I and several other African children were used every day to prepare milk (klim) for Indian children. You know why? Because we, the African children were seen as healthy and because of
        diet fed to Indian children (roti), they lacked the nutrients to sustain them from the sun. They usually fainted with the heat.
        Now, this is not a critic. It is meant to distinguish a bygone era where some Indian children succumb to the weather due to poor diet. THIS IS NO LONGER THE CASE. But it was a time where many Indian children were seen as lacking in diet.

        The case you made for Kamla, confirms my point. I reasoned that being Opposition Leader does not mean she is not representative of all of Trinidad and Tobago. She (Kamla) is the one who told the President that she represents 309,000
        people. So the points you made admonishes Kamla, not me.
        As for the President, the appointment is the domain of the Prime Minister. Kamla appointed Carmona, who many were not in favor of but we respected Kamla’s right to make that appointment. So your point does not make sense.

        Your numbers are skewed. The EBC says 322,000 voters voted for the PNM and 309,000 voted for the UNC. Yes, you are right “numbers don’t lie”. How you see a lie there is French to me.

        In conclusion, life is a cycle of ups and downs. While it is true
        many of our young African youths have not lived up to expectations, our history of development was by primarily championed by people of African descent. It is unfortunate that our education system does a poor job of educating our children about their history. For example, if I were to ask the question “what is the name of the first black female flight attendant in Trinidad?” maybe none of our youths will know that. The answer to that is Pearl Marshall. But our young black children may never know that because, it is information that is not taught to them. In my eras past, most black people were self-sufficient. Because of the times in which we live now, some ethnic blacks do not see our educations system as teaching them what they think they need to succeed.

        Eras go and eras come. We succeed and fail depending on how equipped we are to deal with the requirements to success.

  16. Mr Kian,

    I don’t know which primary school you went to, but as a child in the 1960s I too prepared milk for the younger students and also cleaned the toilets. I never knew the milk was for Indian children only, or felt it was some kind of burden. We were happy to have a school even though it was considered a cowshed by the Prime Minister of the day.

    Moving on, I am not an apologist for Kamla Persad or the UNC or the Indian people. It has always been my hope that we Trinis see ourselves as one people irrespective of race, religion or culture and work together for our mutual benefit and that of the present and future generations.

    To achieve this requires visionary leaders and citizens who are willing to unshackle themselves from the narrow confines of their ethnic group and create a society where each person can thrive and reach their full potential through hardwork, perseverance, and the grace of God.

    Maybe we need to take examples from some of the more successful countries (Singapore, Mauritius, Canada, New Zealand, Israel etc) and develop a long-term National plan ahead instead of planning from one election to the next.

    I think the country is in a worst state of affairs than it was in 1962, and things will get worst if this current generation does not assume individual responsibility to identify and eliminate one of the main impediments to our progress i.e. the historical racism that exists in T&T society.

    Is the PNM party able to undertake this task? I hope so.

    1. From your comments, I gather that while we may not be of the same age, it is of the same generation. If you notice my writings, I am very careful with words. Your words equating Trinidad with Haiti sounds very foolish to me. Anyone, whose knowledge of Haiti is informed, will reason that Haiti’s original and continuing problems stem not from their own people but from the Independence debts that the colonial power (France) incurred on every government occupying power there. Western powers, such as the United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany and France to this day DO NOT afford Haiti any preferred trading or lending status because of Haiti’s original SIN – the overthrow of Napolean’s Army. In addition to that, nature has not been very friendly to its development either. It is also true that dictators such as DuValier ran the economy to the ground.
      I am very familiar with the Haitian people. From my knowledge of them outside of Haiti, you cant find a more enterprising people. They are versed in education, business, culture and maintain a good social network for the development of the Hatian patriots.

      You cannot look at our development strictly in terms of UNC/PNM or as commonly associated with racial designations as African/Indian/Chinee. Developments such as PLIPDECO, Point Lisas, Chaguaramas etc were NOT inherited from Great Britian. It was initiated and developed by the same PNM that appears to be so blasphemed by those who follow the UNC. Our problems are really not economic but SOCIAL. It is unfair and ill conceived to put all of our problems in the lap of the PNM. Our social ills have everything to do with our vision of how we see ourselves as a people.
      For example, one CANNOT be Hindu/Christian/Muslim and be defined with one Trinidadian character. The complicity of race, religion, class, economic standing and social engineering determines who we are and how we are accepted in the society. So, with that as a definition, it is not difficult to understand why it is so easy to classify residents of Laventille, Beetham and Morvant with one brush to denigrate their standing in the society, which you so easily accept.

      The intent of the IRO was to make the transition from muslim to Trinidadian more easy, hindu to Trinidadian more easy, christian to Trinidadian more easy. The opposite of that intention is what emanates from the IRO. When it is chaired by the hindu you get a different standard from what is offered by the muslim or christian. In other words, there is NEVER a common denominator from which we can all originate our thinking. All this is confusing to our youths who are not educated about our own history and development. Reading and writing alone CANNOT be the extent of our knowledge. An academic education alone cannot be considered a good education. The truth is, we know little or nothing about each other, hence the reason it is so easy to cast blame and insults so easily across the racial divide.

      Our politics CANNOT solve the racial divide. Grassroot efforts have to be made by society and knowledgeable professionals to narrow the gap of information between us before any meaningful steps can alter what we are now experiencing. The Ramsaran effects will always play out when the UNC does not get what it wants and similar when the PNM feels disgraced. What needs to happen is to open the channels of communication with intent to fix things. If nothing happens then we will be forever be at each other’s throats.

      1. Listen fellas there is no value in us trading insults.
        For the record, I always considered Dr Williams to be a visionary, well educated and sincere person who had the best interests of the country in mind and did his best to work with the tools and resources he had at hand.

        In university, I worked with many real African students in my part-time job at the International Students Center and through friends in the Black Students Union (BSU) and never experienced any form of racism or discrimination or negative comments or was called a Coolie by any of them.

        It is sad that this is more likely to occur in my own homeland by some fake Africans who only have a faint idea of the richness and diversity of the continent of Africa and it’s cultures, and think jumping up in a carnival band somehow links them to Africa.

        Life continues and we only reap what we sow.

        1. See? Keep talking, Keep talking…Now we know that you studied in the U.S. under the patronage of africans whom you hate, benefitting from affirmative action and policies birthed by africans’ (civil rights) struggle in the U.S. . Attended university in the U.S. , because africans made it possible for you to, even though your midset towards them is worst than the KKK. You have the nerve to talk about fake african identity? Why didn’t you attend a brahman-ist (“Hindu”) university in india, instead of chasing after african made opportunities in the U.S.? Why not join your fellow upper-varna (“caste”) there?Is it because by yout very name and lineage and phenotype they’d know YOU’RE A FAKE? Puhlease….

          https://theprint.in/opinion/south-asians-in-the-us-must-support-blacklivesmatter-but-first-undo-your-own-anti-blackness/432754/

  17. LIES & MORE LIES AGAIN!

    Keep talking though, because even lies can expose truth….Kian, Tariqandalus just admitted to being a graduate of bhadase sagan-maharaj’s segregationist schools. Do not try to reason with this cultist!Indoctrinated from primary school into dlp unc , anti-black anti-african, anti-black power,anti-independence,anti-chaguaramas reclamation,anti-pnm, anti-Dr. Eric Williams poltics. Hi mind has marinated for 65+ years of filthy, hateful, vicious, dishonest, racist propaganda about african people, trinidad history and the pnm and cannot be reasoned with.

    The Cowshed Fable
    https://www.trinicenter.com/Cudjoe/2012/3005.htm

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