Raping the Patrimony of Central Trinidad

By Stephen Kangal
August 20, 2008

IndiansDharti Mata’s rich productive plains of Central Trinidad have suffered from yet another devastating blow to its hard earned agri- based patrimony. This follows upon the ill-advised and politically motivated cruel closure of the sugar industry of Caroni Ltd just when enviro-friendly sugar-cane -based ethanol emerged as the lucrative renewable fuel of the future.

Ten thousand citizens were then thrown on the bread line in a grand urban, electoral security generated conspiracy engineered to marginalize and neutralise the Indian vote and kill the influence of their sugar union in one fell swoop.

The severance benefits pittance that these former Caroni workers received were invested in large amounts in the HCU for rainy days. They have now even lost their small retirement nest-egg in another grand conspiracy this time a clear case of Hindu inhumanity being perpetrated against unsuspecting Hindus. Has Hindu unity in the financial services sector been exploited again by another corrupt Hindu leader to hoodwink Hindus and rob them of hard-earned millions while the current State Administration that pretends to act to safeguard all of us looks on with callous and detached indifference?

Central Trinidad united again politically with Panday to return him to Government in 2000. One year later in return he confined and consigned them permanently to Opposition. That was another case of Hindu betrayal.

How can the Manning Administration who inflicted the first “et tu Brute” stab in the backs of these docile and hard-working people could have remained so unpatriotically indifferent for so long while Harnarine’s HCU pillaged and plundered their savings and investments in a most callous, illegal and inhumane dishing out their investments to a small clique? Do the underpinnings of political-ethnic divide transcend caring governance?

Is it not time for the Manning Administration to embark upon an emergency rescue package to rehabilitate and salvage the devastated people of Central Trinidad having regard to the closure of Caroni and the current collapse of the HCU? What is the fate of the 900 innocent employees of the defunct HCU when millions were disbursed to save the employees of BWIA and to prop up the CEPEP and URP voting bank? Is it different strokes for different folks?

What counseling services are being offered by the state to the thousands of depositors of the HCU as well as the former 900 HCU employees who have suffered enormous stress and trauma? Are suicides the only way out for these people or sudden degeneration into diabetes and cardio diseases from the trigger mechanisms provided by the severe and persistent post-traumatic shock disorder syndrome?

The Manning Administration can make an effort to think and act outside of the ethno-political box because these people from Central are human beings. They have a right to access the overflowing national patrimony like the people of St. Vincent and their airport did, to bail themselves out of a most depressing and unjust series of events that have emaciated their present and destroyed future. The national patrimony also belongs to them as well.

Someone must have a heart because human hearts do not beat to the drums of ethnicity, polarisation and partisan politics.

15 Responses to “Raping the Patrimony of Central Trinidad”

  • Any relevance here?

    The ‘gimme-gimme’ culture

    Cudjoe creates fiction at emancipation dinner.
    Government not forced to give Maha Sabha radio licence.
    Indians’ wealth did not stem from free land.
    African community death blow delivered by PNM.
    Dr Selwyn R Cudjoe’s emancipation dinner address on July 31 at the Centre of Excellence unconsciously highlighted the reason why the African condition is the way it is under the People’s National Movement (PNM).

    Dr Cudjoe’s theme was essentially a continuation of the “gimme-gimme” value that has been actively cultivated within the Afro-Trinidadian population by his PNM.

    This calypso academic began his address with errors of facts when he stated that “the Government was forced to give the Maha Sabha a radio licence to undertake its own form of propaganda.”

    Everyone knows that the Maha Sabha did not “force” the Government to do anything. It was the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London that ruled that the PNM Government actively discriminated against the Maha Sabha in denying our application for a radio licence after we had fulfilled all the State’s requirements and even assigned a frequency.

    Dr Cudjoe’s friend and fellow PNM supporter, Louis Lee Sing, was however really given a radio licence in true “gimme-gimme” style during the 18-18 election tie. It was that singular act of discrimination by the PNM against the Maha Sabha that resulted in the Privy Council ordering the award of a radio licence.

    Today, years afterward the Government lost at the Privy Council, it is still to pay the Maha Sabha costs and compensation for the over $1 million spent on the legal battle as well as the millions of potential lost revenue.

    Now like Lee Sing, the government-appointed Central Bank director Dr Cudjoe wants to be also given a radio licence by the Government.

    It will not surprise me if my friend Cudjoe even asks Mr Manning for money to by broadcast equipment and a home from which to broadcast.

    Following this appeal to be given a free radio frequency, Dr Cudjoe then objected to the Government’s “massive transfer of state lands to East Indians at the expense of Africans.” Without providing evidence of the terms and conditions of the closure of Caroni (1975) Ltd, he juxtaposed this with the shutting down of BWIA and the Port Authority.

    Another piece of fiction created by Dr Cudjoe is that the Indians’ wealth stems from the free land received through the planters and colonial masters. Indian historians have denied this falsehood.

    Dennison Moore, author and historian, writing from Ottawa, Canada, states in the Guardian of August 11:

    “Finally Cudjoe states that according to the terms of their indentureship, they (Indians) were given lands in lieu of their passage back to India. No such terms were written in the indentureship contracts.”

    Radica Mahase in the Guardian of August 13, quoted historian Prof Bridget Brereton:

    “Most Indians however received their land not by a commutation scheme but by purchasing lots of Crown Land in the normal way.”

    Mahase also observed that Cudjoe the historian had his facts wrong:

    “Other than getting the basic facts wrong—1470,900 Indian labourers came to Trinidad, not 237,000—Cudjoe is also mistaken about land grants and Indian indentured labourers.”

    What should be asked by Dr Cudjoe is whatever happened to the African middle-class that was striving and had dominated the professions in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.

    The Maha Sabha suggests that what delivered the death blow to the African community was the PNM and people like Dr Selwyn Cudjoe.

    Slowly the PNM made the African communities dependent on the State with “make work” schemes such as DEWD, LIP and URP, and with an encouragement to the civil service with no level of performance management.

    The newest incarnation of the PNM with Patrick Manning as leader has seen a modernised version of this tired strategy. There is now the policy “to create entrepreneurs, there is the Civil Conservation Corps, Mylatt, Mypart, Gapp, UTT” and a host of other measures giving away opportunity and taxpayers’ money to predominantly Afro-Trinidadians.

    This is of course excluding secret scholarships awarded by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Public Administration. Do these programme, in Dr Cudjoe’s words, “not have the effect of keeping Africans in fiefdom for the rest of their natural lives?”

    Emancipation Day celebrations received over $4 million from the State and millions more from the state enterprises and private sector. Indian Arrival Day saw nothing close to that level of public expenditure.

    So while the State pays for African presidents and prime ministers to be feted at Cudjoe’s emancipation dinner, the Indian community has to essentially find its own funding to celebrate Indian Arrival Day.

    The Indian community has thrived and excelled not because of government support but despite lack of support. Indeed, that starvation of the largesse of the State has resulted in the Indian community forcing itself to become self-reliant.

    We wish Dr Cudjoe well with his demands and we suspect that he may get it as he is in the right party. He might get a free radio station to spread his version of history.

    n Satnarayan Maharaj is the

    secretary general of the

  • East Indians have no more claims of rights to the spoils of prime lands that constitute the old State owned Sugar Cane Industry, now that such an industry is dead. It belongs to all our citizens. If Mr K and his sidekick T-Man seriously believes that it is a PNM ploy to encroach on Indo – Trinidadian political bases, then let them encourage Panday and his big wig advisors to entice some of his fan base to do the same on the reverse. Let him try his luck and convince residence from Couva, Caroni, Oropouche, Princess Town, Siparia and other UNC strong holds to move into former slave settled communities like ‘pristine’ Lavantille, La Canoe , Mt Dor, and other PNM dominated East West corridor regions, so as to win elections.
    Sometimes I wonder what these fools are learning with respect to politics in these fancy educational institutions abroad, as it sure isn’t translating to anything of worth on the ground. Many are still operating in similar fashion to their poor and illiterate ancestors that came ashore to our beautiful islands since 1845 on the Fatel Rozack and similar ships. Do these clowns believe that the PNM survived for so long with such huge successes simply because it only received support form Afro Trinbagonians? How ludicrous! Kamal Mohammed, and Errol Mahabir where are you- the types of politically savvy, intelligent guys that our country benefited from in that past distant era? Let’s just say that a gerrycurl head kaisonian, and a safe –seat, corrupt tied- tongue sport conglomerate magnate won’t cut it as broad-based representatives.
    Mt T- Man with your equally dishonest self, the government owes the Maha Saba hierarchy along with the crooked elements that controlled and destroyed the Hindu Credit Union nothing as far as bailing out compensations packages for anyone. What they owe the ‘nation’ however is the presence of mind to finally tighten the loopholes and perhaps prevent similar mishaps from occurring to innocent citizens. The gullible people that lost their millions deserves to know that every culpable person that had their hands in the ‘kitty scheme,’ with intentions to dupe citizens ,will be investigated, arrested , convicted , and punished to the very full extent of the law. By this I not only mean prison sentences, but freezing of local and foreign assets where possible, to compensate members and hopefully salvage the integrity of our noble local financial bodies. If this entails the Maha Saba organization as well as its viciously racist and deceptive leader Sat, so be it. The State is not in the business of rewarding people for their involvement in dishonest acts that borders on breaches of the law, so don’t kid yourself on this perennial victimization ploy.
    It is not the government that allowed people to get exorbitant loans without proper collaterals or adherence to basic Credit Union financial regulations, including to foreign South American embassy officials. In like manner, President George Bush and the Republican Party are not responsible for the actions of Americans that decided to take shady loans from unscrupulous financial institutions so as to finance houses they could ill- afford , thus encouraging a spike in foreclosures later when the housing bubble occurred. Do us a favor both of you; discourage fellow citizens to cease forthwith this common cultural penchant for greed, quick rich , ‘bobols’,and blame -game mentality, It will get them no way, as it is claimed that “the night can run all it wants , but the day still catches up with it.” You’ll do it if you really care about our country’s image with concerns that we loose the ‘Trickidanians’ label, that might soon make us become the Nigeria of the Caribbean -as far as corruption.
    Finally, please leave Dr. Cudjo alone; he is simply doing the opposite of what you and your ilks condemned successful middle class Afro- Trinbagonians of failing to do for their own people – uplift by striving to be part of the solution. Get over it, in time his behaviors will become infectious as others at home and across the globe will get into the act of sacrifice by giving back in appreciation that “unto whom much is given much is expected.”

  • The Claptrap of the whingers who feel hard done by the present PNM government, seem to forget that the Panday regime opened the doors for the flood of foreign used vehicles into T&T without any planning for the increase of roads to accomadate these vehicles.
    It is easy to point the finger of blame, when one did not get enough of the ‘cake’at the time of sharing, but elections come around every four to five years,so stop ‘whining’like spoilt chidren.
    One wise man once said’ that all men are brothers’ is this the same in Trinbago.

  • I don’t think Neal noticed T. Man was not the author of the article above but it was written by Sat Maharaj and would therefore have a definite bias.
    It should be pointed out though that Indians form the largest population group in T&T and their population is increasing at a faster rate than any other group.Should they be entitled to a larger “piece of the cake”?

  • Thank you Colom Bus, and my apologies to T – Man for including him in my comments when he was simply the messenger. They can certainly get a bigger slice of the cake but it won’t be at the expense of other neglected members of our population, especially the ones that allegedly holds power, but as we know it’s only in name since 1956. I continue to warn power elites in my country to “beware of a man with nothing to loose.”
    Once you decide to make historically neglected people stake holders, the responses can be tremendous. I for one can only be at peace when we see equitable distribution of natural resources among our population.
    Speaking about East Indians and demographics, is any of our Social Scientist or political Think Thanks doing any major studies on the state of or impact on our ever increasing mixed races in the country? They too can impact percentages one way or the other don’t we think? It is for this reason why I am sure there is so much apprehension by a few power brokers on this subject. The day we decide to have symposiums and serious discussions on race and ethnicity in our country , it’s when we can start growing together in deeper understanding of common needs and wants. Although ,we can continue to sweep the issue under the carpet and allow racist , devisive pseudo leaders to control the agenda as they pour the oil of hate to the detriment of the nation in search of cohesion.

  • To ‘Colom Bus’,

    Neal was quite right to respond to ‘T-Man’ as if it was his views that he posted. ‘T-Man’ posted that article quite badly by not clearly crediting the author and the source. It therefore came over as ‘T-Man’s’ views.

    If one is posting other people’s writings, it is important that one credits the author at the beginning of the article and then place a link to the bottom of the article back to the source.

  • Heru is quite right.I posted the article but share none of those views.

  • To Neal – Dr. Cudjoe is not helping anyone by lying about historical facts. Claiming that the state was forced to give the Maha Sabha a license, or claiming that Indian wealth stems from free land transfers are all lies are they not? Cudjoe is simply deflecting blame from his party to others for African failure. By blaming African failure on Indian success he is actually contributing to the problem of finger-pointing and racism, he is not helping. He is unable to honestly address why African education and poverty levels are what they are today. He does not depict the entire story but only those parts that suit his political motivations. Because of he is a liar and is extremely biased I believe he is a menace to the development of a good, honest African society and is in no way a role model of any kind.

    “Finally, please leave Dr. Cudjo alone; he is simply doing the opposite of what you and your ilks condemned successful middle class Afro- Trinbagonians of failing to do for their own people – uplift by striving to be part of the solution. Get over it, in time his behaviors will become infectious as others at home and across the globe will get into the act of sacrifice by giving back in appreciation that “unto whom much is given much is expected.”

  • I can see the logic of your point Lisa and even agree with some of the conclusions re Dr. Cudjoe with respect to the plight of his people, and his government role in the debacle. Nevertheless I am not in the business of attacking people that I believe are sincere and care for my country. You see elevation of African people in this country and the world as large as negative and racist, I’ll take what I can by any one that wishes to bolster hope amongst perennially neglected people, since if Africans rise in both in Trinidad and the world at large, you can guess who shall be the beneficiaries. Yes, Trinidad and Tobago, and the world at large respectively.
    Some years ago the crafty Don King in his useful comically bombastic way, made a distinction between himself as a black Boxing Promoter, and the millions of white ones that became millionaires while exploiting black American illiterate athletes through the years. He said “I rob them a little less.” I’ll live with that, as preposterous as it make sound to you. Boxing great Larry Holmes used his acquired millions to do great things for himself and community, the stupid bum Mike Tyson threw his away and now he is some bumbling buffoon running around in Vegas “bojanglings for a few dollars,” in idiotic sideshows for gambling octogenarians- go figure who should be blamed ,as both were managed by the great Don.
    I do not need convincing that some of the biggest ‘political, social, and economic pimps,’ of black people are their own, globally. I won’t tell other sectarian and divisive leaders to not exploit their own people and country to get ahead, and surely is in no position to tell the more accomplished and good Doctor what to do at this stage of the game. All I care about for the time being is to encourage leaders that I perceived to be passionate about our country and are willing to take tentative steps in an effort to build a nation with all of us in tow. Unfortunately one cannot start to love others, unless one first begins to love one self. Ready to start the journey “right now,” so as to be part of the solution, or do you prefer to remain part of the problem yourself? It’s your choice.

  • Neal when will you realize that TnT is nothing like the USA. Black people of USA are so much culturally and radically different to Africans in TnT because of the situations and conditions they live under.

    If anything, black people of tnt are like the whites of the US with the indians being treated as blacks. This black consciousness is all well and fair since you must and should take pride in your ancestry but at the same time be mindful of the conditions one is living under. There is no place for Afro centric and Indo centric thinkers in TnT and they ought to know that. Currently Indians are being hugely oppressed by this Manning administration.

    TnT is in no way similar to the US and if black people continue to make themselves out as victims generation after generation even though they govern the wealth of TNT, they are going to be faced with one hell of an awakening by the currently oppressed Indians of tnt.

  • Raj
    Can you tell us specifically how Indians in T&T are being oppressed.You cannot make such a charge without supporting your claim. We are patiently awaiting to hear your evidence.

  • Raj , are you trying to rile me up with this preposterous comment ? I promise not to fall for it at this moment, as I have a country to care about at this stage of the game, and is busy putting my plans together with intentions of playing my role in ensuring development and seeing it rise, for the benefit of my children as well as yours- if hopefully they are smarter than you.
    “black people of tnt are like the whites of the US with the indians being treated as blacks.” This got to be the harmful effects of some form of drugs you are presently using. I’ll simply advise you to leave the Fernandez Vat 19 Rum alone for a while, as it’s definitely affecting your thinking. Do you believe that you are communicating with your newly acquired, naïve, yet apprehensive white neighbor that is desperately wants to sell her now under valued property to escape the downward spiral of a once healthy neighborhood of Richmond Hill or Ozone Park Queens New York?
    If both you and Lisa want to listen to a political dinosaur as Panday with his phantom cries of exploitation, injustice, and discrimination at the hands of so called black power, it’s your privilege to do so. It is the same diatribe that was once spewed by his ‘wet behind the ears daughter’ in England , when she tried to explain away her sudden increased hefty spending allowance acquired from the actions of her greedy ,corrupt father after both him and the phony Human Rights Guru Ramesh Maharaj served only two weeks in political power. Two months after landing back in the country, she became a big time parliamentarian continuing the legacy of hate, divisiveness and sectarianism that is destine to make the UNC opposition members until perhaps 2095. In the mean time the PM is about to expand his fan base with eager Caribbean neighbors desperate to be part of the T&T development experiment.
    So what is “hell of an awakening” that is planned by “the currently oppressed Indians?” Does it have anything to do with imitation of busy middle class Europeans habits such as decisions to make fewer children, or is it the decision to sell out your lands or business and run for Canada, England and America? I believe a more productive approach is to encourage Mickela, and her Uncle Subhas to ditch the old man and become part of the PM Caribbean overture experiment, so that they can encourage Surinam and Guyana on board. Think of the possibilities for demographics.

  • After careful reappraisals I believe that I am doing many of the readers a disservice- including Ram, and Lisa – by going off on such foolish tantrums that I had promised not to indulge in. On second thought, I concluded that it is better to listen to the point of view of Lisa and Ram and others that hold such fervent opinions about the wrongs, and inequalities that they believed are occurring only to their community.
    I have also concluded that it is irrelevant if others and I think otherwise, the fact is that they feel strongly about the subject and deserves an ear. Perhaps it is the only way forward, and if we the fortunate few with this beautiful option of time, a computer, and the internet at our disposal, cannot converse amicably with a view to full understanding, then imagine what the reality is for those without.
    What had me a bit perplexed also was that highly educated and intelligent folks such as Mr. Stephen Kangal, with great influence, also share this skewed view point of view that African people are doing great, and Indians are in dire straits because one had political power for a longer period. Absolutely no credit is given for any of the positive things that are done in our country. No responsibilities are taken for any of our problems that occurred. Yet they are confused as to why Afrocentricism is become popular and someone like Dr. Cudjoe is gaining influence. I am prepared to be honest and admit this much, but would treasure the day when such honesty will emanate from the other side.
    The Afro dominated government that existed for all these years, can be said to have failed and neglected all our citizens in many respects at times, but unfortunately we do not have a viable Opposition to replace them because the leaders lack the ability to convince the national electorate that they can do the job. In essence trying to eat soup with a fork. I could be wrong, and stand corrected.
    So there it is, please put forward your case guys, but for heavens sake do respond to charges when made about the other side of the divide. We should be prepared to start a new page with honest communication as the watchword.
    A final note let us make some attempt at defining our concepts as well. Part of the major problems that major issues such as terrorism, and genocide cannot be resolved and finally eradicated is because there are no globally accepted definitions. Let’s find proper definitions of what we mean by inequality and discrimination I am not sure if failure to get a job or a handshake constitute discrimination. I am not sure if the DPP decides to press ahead with charges against Mr. Panday in 2007, or the ex CJ in 2005 when it neglected to do so against a PNM member in 1991, or an African Judge in 1983, constitutes discrimination. It is these types of thinking why Africa remains divided, and India has Bangladesh, and Pakistan on its borders and daily bloody fights between Muslims, Hindus, Sheiks, and Christians. Trinidad can ill afford any of that I believe.

  • It seems when there are things going wrong with the Indian section of Trinbago, it is Manning ang the PNM’S Fault.When things are good with them, it is still the PNM’S Fault.
    I fail to understand these imaginary boundaries that exist for central trinidad where the community should be predominantly indians.Trinbago or any part of does not “belong” to anyone group or race of people.

    Being a proud trinbagonian, I never suspeted that the ugly head of this type prejudice would rear it’s head as it is doing now.
    I was naive to think that africans and indians in trinbago could live together, but it appears that the indians feel hard done by…. I am not sure why.

    The time is now to stop the stupid babbling by ill motivated politicians and others whose agenda is questionable, by trying to incite something that isn’t warranted.
    Remember every ‘dog has it’s day’

  • Things are not as bad as it looks Gerald. It is important that we attempt to have such honest dialogue, say what’s on our mind , and make efforts at rectifying the problem. It is not a bad policy by some of the bloggers to look abroad for guidance in terms of a model, however one should always recognize that we are a young Republic , with a unique history. All I ask of my fellow citizens is to remain loyal to our country ,and do whatever is in our power to see it rise, even if we are’t too fond of the actions of some of our various elites in control across the nation.

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