Real Independence — Afri-centric View

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
August 21, 2012

Dr. Kwame NantambuAs Trinidad and Tobago celebrates 50 years of political independence, it is a sine qua non to deal with specific, poignant issues/questions in order to ascertain whether this independence is real or imagined.

The first issue that comes to the fore concerns national independence heroes. In other words, contrary to Euro-centric conventional wisdom, Captain Arthur Andrew Cipriani is not this nation’s main and/or primary national hero.

From an Afri-centric perspective, Trinidad and Tobago’s first national hero is Hierryma. He was a Kalinago/Kalina (Carib), a chieftain/cacique who established villages throughout north-east Trinidad. His national claim to heroic fame is that he masterminded the destruction/burning down of Trinidad’s old capital, St. Joseph, on 14 October 1637. More specifically, Hierryma sought to totally destroy Euro-Spanish colonialism in Trinidad.

On the other hand, Cipriani’s national independence claim to fame is that he sought to destroy Euro-British colonialism in Trinidad on 19 June 1937— three hundred years after Hierryma.

Ergo, from an Afri-centric point of view, real independence would suggest that Hierryma’s statue should be standing on Independence Square, Port-of-Spain instead of Cipriani’s.

The second issue that emerges is the overt truism that the colonized in Trinidad and Tobago kicked out the Euro-British governor on 31 August 1962 but have replaced him with a Euro-American colonel from California, United States of America.

More specifically, on the nation’s 50th anniversary of independence, one finds that a massive Euro-American fast food marquee towers over and above one of this nation’s revered national heroes. And this putative insult to the country’s independence is on Independence Square, not Beetham Gardens, Laventille or Nelson Street.

The logical Afri-centric question then becomes: Can anyone imagine a massive Trinidad Hosein’s Roti Shop marquee towering over and above George Washington, the “Founding Father of the United States” on Constitution Avenue in northwest Washington, D.C.? Never happen, period.

And the sole raison d’etre is that the colonized in the United States of America achieved their independence from the same Euro-British colonizer on 4 July 1776 through armed revolution. As such, they automatically sought to destroy all the relics/symbols/legacies of Euro-British colonialism.

Conversely, the colonized in the Caribbean, including Trinidad and Tobago, achieved their independence in 1962 through negotiation. Ergo, they automatically have sought and continue to perpetuate the Euro-British colonial relics/ symbols/legacies as exemplified in the Privy Council and Westminster system of government in 2012.

From an Afri-centric perspective, therefore, the colonized in Trinidad and Tobago have only changed European colonizers’ hand, that is, Euro- British colonization in 1962 to Euro-American re-colonization in 2012.

Is that an indication of a country’s real independence?

And this current Euro-American re-colonization is overtly manifested in this country’s culinary habits via the plethora of American fast food outlets at almost every corner in the nation’s capital city, including Independence Square, Ariapita Avenue in Woodbrook and Western Main road in St. James, just to give a few examples.

Are these indicators of a people’s real independence?

Furthermore, from an Afri-centric perspective, one must hasten to deduce that the colonized in Trinidad and Tobago have basically replaced the Red, White and Blue Euro-British Union Jack with the Red, White and Blue Euro-American Stars and Stripes.

Is this “flag independence” or what?

Truth Be Told : Why do these relics/symbols/legacies of Euro-British colonialism still exist in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago after 50 years of putative political independence: Chacon Street/Abercromby Street?; Queen’s Park Savannah/Queen’s Hall/ Queen’s Park Hotel/ Queen’s Park Oval?; Adam Smith Square/ Woodford Square/Victoria Square/ King George V Park and worst of all, Columbus Square?—Oh please!

Are these indicators of a people’s real independence?

In the final analysis, social commentator as in calypsonian Singing Sandra hit the nail squarely and directly on the head when she aptly opined in the lyrics of her 2012 presentation that the colonized in Trinidad and Tobago are “still living in dey mammy house.”

Happy 50th independence anniversary birthday Trinidad and Tobago.

Shem Hotep (“I go in peace”).

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies.

4 Responses to “Real Independence — Afri-centric View”


  • Trinidad US&Canada only 3 countries voted in favour of UK extradition of Julian Assange and opposed Ecuador’s political Assylum not to mention the UK/US un-diplomatic behaviour in the Ecuador embassy issue.
    The PP Government refused to extradite two politically connected crime suspects to the US even though two of their proven accomplices have served time and have since been released.
    Erick Williams must be spinning like a top in his grave.
    Are we going to reopen Chaguaramas to the US so they could invade neighbouring States?
    A disgusting Shame Shame Shame Shame!

  • I fail to see where Trinidad and Tobago (that is the name of the country) voted in favour of the extradition of Mr. Assange. They voted to not discuss it in the OAS. The correct venue is the UN since the UK is not a member of the OAS. The case also hinges on major international law and if the OAS will take on such an issue and the UN overturns it then what??

    I agree with most of the comments of Mr. Nantambu, but we are also independent enough to not change everything that was done during our history. We can correct but I think changing everything from a certain era is a defeatism move. If it was part of our history then it is so. And we should name new things in other peoples honour. Why is it NAPA, why not call it the Hierryma Center for Performing Arts.

  • AI, There’s no one venue let alone The correct venue. Pointless you try to scapegoat the Gov’s disgraceful behaviour at the OAS. Also it would be much healthier had you raised the other issues pointed out i.e. PP’s High ranking party members that escaped Extradition to the US. You should have compare and defended the PP position on that.

    You just don’t get it: It was a move to consensus and not on a basis of law. Haven’t you taken cue from the so call Friends of Syria high profile meetings lately: Western Governments are ganging up on small states thus developing countries are uniting and cooperating in many fields to safeguard their economy cultures sovereignty etc etc!

    In fact the UN also have no binding law to force any country to accept or reject legitimate or illegitimate citizens. Trinidad&Tobago a disgraced betryal of the Latin American&Caribbean peoples:OAS backs Ecuador http://t.co/Iv8KMg4y

    We were never a colonial service hub and if it is the Southern Americas are uniting after centuries of slavery, forced & Under paid labour citadel death squads funded & legitimise through foreign domination where on earth should T&T find its place? Clearly we have taken the side of aggressive unlawful posturing. What say you of the other majority states that took the view that a matter affecting the OAS should and can be discussed by member states?
    You’re right about one thing, it was the name Trinidad and Tobago. I like calling a Temple a Temple

  • This message is directed to Prof Kwame Nantambu. I’ve been trying to get a copy of your book “Egypt & Afrocentric Geopolitics : Essays on European Supremacy”

    The book should cost $14.95, but unfortunately Amazon is selling it at 150-160 dollars/pounds-Sterling, which is way outside my reach.

    Can you tell me where to buy the book at close to its original price? Or do you have a copy you can sell to me, even if it is used?

    Thanks for your assistance.

    Dr. A. A. Agbormbai

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