By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 06, 2011
And Jack wept just as Peter wept after he betrayed Christ. Brigadier John Sandy bemoaned: “We must recognize that it is people looking like me who are being murdered, mothers like my mother, God rest her soul, who are out there weeping more than any other race.” There is no doubt that Brigadier Sandy loves black women. He is married to an Indian woman.
Now we are told that Indian people love black people more than black people love themselves which is why they had to impose a State of Emergency (SOE) in certain areas and abrogate of civil liberties as the normal part of life in Trinidad and Tobago. It ought to be recorded that the first concentration camps in T&T were built by an Indian government to warehouse black youths which may be the beginning of what one can continue to expect from such a government. Most of their dirty work will be done by black men in their party.
We are told by the same Brigadier that 57 percent of the prison population in 2006 were Afro—Trinidadians; 54 per cent in 2007 and 2008; 57 per cent in 2009; and 51 per cent in 2010. They do not keep the racial statistics at the University of the West Indies—or, at least this is what Dr. Bhoe Tewarie claimed a few years ago—but they do for prisoners which tells you where their priority lays.
In 2003 the PNM proposed a special program for Afro—Trinidadian youths between 17 through 24. The UNC/PP objected strenuously. No one would listen to me then but history is a strange beast so I repeat verbatim what I wrote in the Trinidad Guardian on December 30, 2003 in “Race Matters:”
“For the life of me, I do not know why Trinidadians and Tobagonians don’t get up and thinke rather than cast their eyes in the sand and refuse to come to terms with the realities that inhere in the condition of our being.
“Some months ago I raised the question about the enrollments at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of Tecnology (TITT), what an education should mean for a citizen of T&T, and the role it should play in the society.
“I was condemned roundly by all and sundry. Not one columnist, Indian or African, came to my defence. No person in the media could see the wisdom of my concerns.
“The question persists and continues to plague our land. Yet we continue to feign ignorance.
“The latest manifestation of the problem revolves around a provision in the ‘Social and Economic Policy Framework 2004’ in which COSTAATT suggests that the Government of should ‘establish targeted recruitment programmes for male Trinidadians aged 17—24, especially Afro—Trinidadian males” (Express, October 28).
“Not concerned with nuance of language or the distinction between the general and the specific, Subhas Panday, brother of Basdeo, thundered that this was an open form of racism against others in the country and that the UNC would take the matter to international organizations.
“For reasons best known to himself, Mr. Panday could not understand how an educational document could outline a proposal for the general populace (all males) and then zero in on a specific manifestation of the problem (the Afro—Trinidadian male between the ages of 17—24).
“Ganga Singh, the person who inflicted on our nation a principal at UWI and a manager at TTIT, both East Indians, seemed indignant:
“COSTAATT would be admitting students on ‘a quota system and a Cudjoe mentality’ and Government was being ‘offensive’ in dealing with Afro—Trinidadian male under achievement rather than male underachievement (Newsday, October 28).
“The Express reported that Singh accused the Government of using ‘Cudjoe ideologies’ and changing the paradigm of policy making to that of ethnicity [sic].” He continued:
“I agree that there is a need for measures to deal with the situation but not by sleight of hand. The matter needed to be brought to Parliament for debate as such bais comes at the expense of women and other ethnic groups (Express, Oct. 28).
“Responding to these criticisms, Keith Rowley noted: ‘It was a fact that the Afro—Trinidadian male was the biggest under—performer in the country and there was a need to address that issue. By addressing the problems of the Afro—Trinidadian did not mean that East Indians was being neglected. Our policy is to create increased opportunity in tertiary education for all of our citizens. So that when we say COSTTATT will target a particular problem, and we expand COSTTAT, that is not at the expense of ‘A’ to feed ‘B.’
“When I raised similar issues I was left out in the cold to dry. Danny Montano condemned me for ‘waving a racial flag.’ Not one member of the PNM supported me publicly and every black columnist—Morgan Job, Lennox Grant, George John, Reggie Dumas, Selwyn Ryan—condemned my intervention. Raffique Shah delighted in satirizing my position.”
I wrote these lines in 2003. In the recent debate on the SOE when Dr. Rowley reminded the PP/UNC of their hypocrisy, the Prime Minister condemned him and the PNM for not having the courage of their conviction to carry out what, in hindsight, was a progressive way to deal with the problem.
And she may be correct. Yet, the fact remains that when the PNM sought to deal with the problem, it was labeled racism, and the PP/UNC condemned it. Now, we are told that they not only have more sympathy for black people but have been sent by God to be our saviors.
I have no doubt that this racist pogroms, called a state of emergency, will result in the further criminalization of the black population, promote greater ethnic divide, and brutalize the society even more.
History will record that an Indian government built the first built detention camps in our country, thereby initiating the first stage of making Afro—Trinidadians a permanent underclass. In years to come many of the enablers will weep at having assisted the PP in their diabolic design against black people.