By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 26, 2011
On Monday next (Emancipation Day) black folks will come out in full ethnic regalia to commemorate the emancipation of our forefathers and foremothers. They will march from the Brian Lara Promenade to the Savannah and make uplifting speeches (as they should) about our condition. The next 364 days thereafter they shall continue their slide into penury and humiliation as the People’s Partnership (PP) government does everything to ensure that African people eat the bread the devil kneads. In this new dispensation no mercy will be shown and no sympathy offered.
When the PP came to power the mouths of its leaders were replete with sentiments of transcendent love and inter-racial unity. Kamla was the queen; Jack Warner was the king; and the royal retinue included resurrected Africans such as Makandal Dagga; Errol McLeod, Ashworth Jack; Rupert Griffith, Winston Peters, all of whom Cro Cro characterized as “lick-bottom Africans.” “Lick-bottom” may not have been the most felicitous adjectival phrase but it captured the essence of a particular condition. He understood that after all was said and done all of those court jesters would be left with extended lips ready to praise or to kiss appropriate persons and places as their power waned within the coalition.
It didn’t take long before the affections ceased and extended lips weren’t sure whether to kiss; to cuss; or to praise. One year after the initial victory the queen announced changes in her Cabinet. Whatever pretences were made in the heat of victory realpolitik quickly showed its ugly head and Sat Maharaj began to demonstrate his power within the PP. Although we thought Jack was king we soon realized that he was merely a regent posturing as Hindu god until the ruler reclaimed his birthright.
Wade Mark got the word early and married in full Hindu rites. Jack did not show as much foresight. He was still under the illusion of one-love politics and interracial unity. When Kamla gave Devant Maharaj, Sat’s right-hand man, most of Jack’s Ministry, and superseded Jack in every meaningful way in the Cabinet and in the party, Jack knew his time had come and Hindu nationalism was entrenched. If he thought that a non-Hindu would be granted free movement within the royal household he was in for a big surprise.
After Jack’s dethronement eleven of the sixteen critical ministries were given to Hindus: Glen Ramadharsingh (Minister of the People and Social Development); Tim Gopeesingh (Education); Surujrattan Rambachan (Foreign Affairs and Information); Devant Maharaj (Transport); Chandresh Sharma (Local Government); Winston Dookeran (Finance); Roodal Moonilal (Housing and the Environment); Prakash Ramadhar (Legal Affairs); Vasant Bharath (Food Production); Beau Tewarie (Planning, Social and Economic Restructuring) and Anand Ramlogan (Attorney General). The head goddess is also a Hindu.
As soon as these ministers assumed office Sat outlined PP’s new political direction: “Serious housekeeping is needed in the PP. There is an urgent need to look at the strategic positions that influence the Government and its progress. Patrick Manning in his political glory had placed within the corridors of power ‘his people.’ He has placed them there and now they frustrate the process and progress of any government other than his own. The PNM loyalty charge [given by whom, he does not say] attached to so many people that still hold office today and seem to be untouchable is a PNM strategy to frustrate. The PNM has entrenched and embedded within the Public Service party faithfuls for a possible 10 years of ‘control.’ While the PP holds the office, Patrick Manning and PNM appointees hold the power.” Only a pogrom, PP style, can rid the nation of this PNM plague.
Less we forget the Constitution gives each citizen the right to join any political party he wishes to support. However, PP doctrine decrees that once the PP wins, all of a citizen’s fundamental rights, including his right to employment, become null and void unless he is a Hindu. “Serious house-keeping” becomes the order of the day. Smash citizens’ rights; denounce his right to chose his political alliance; deny him a livelihood and make sure he is pauperized. To them, this is the essence of democracy.
We are faced with a frightening choice: the chief guru calls for “serious housekeeping.” Anything that looks black or sounds PNM ought to be eliminated. His disciple is much more explicit: “Execute all Muslims.” Lesser disciples are even more intolerant of citizens’ rights. Anil Roberts, Minister of Sports, calls for the dismissal of Andrew Jupiter and Frank Look Kin, who have worked in the Ministry of Energy and the Energy Industry for 77 years because he believes they support PNM. In PP country, none is safe; none is free. Only one’s adherence to Hinduism guarantees full citizenship rights.
The PP will continue to erode our citizens’ rights unless we demand that they discontinue their victimization against non-Hindus. We are going down a dangerous slope with enormous speed. Let us say “hold up” before it’s too late.