Let Charity Guide Our Utterances

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 14, 2012

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeSometimes in our enthusiasm, we say extraordinarily silly things; such as the mutterings of Dr. Neil Parsan, our Ambassador in Washington, D.C. What is one to do with the following statement: “The Indian diaspora is a formidable force in Trinidad and Tobago, the largest numerical representation in the entire Caribbean; the most well-to-do and culturally strong and progressive ethnic group in the uniquely plural society of T&T.”

It is certainly true that Indians in Trinidad and Tobago form a part of the Indian diaspora and, as the largest ethnic group, represent “a formidable force in Trinidad and Tobago.” I presume the same is true for Africans who represent approximately 38 per cent of the population. They, too, are a formidable force in the society. There is nothing unique about this phenomenon. However, it is false to argue that “the Indian diaspora. . .is the largest numerical representation in the entire Caribbean.” The facts belie this assertion. For example, the entire population of Trinidad and Tobago (1,227,505); Guyana (744,768) and Suriname (491,989) where there is a substantial Indian presence is approximately 2,464,262. If we argue that 60 percent of the population of those countries are Indians, then we can conclude that approximately 1,500,000 Indians live the Indian diaspora in the Caribbean.

On the other hand, if we took the African populations in Haiti (9,716,932); Jamaica (2,868,380); and Barbados (286,705) we find that there are 12,872,017 persons (Africans) in these three countries alone. If we subtract 10 per cent for non-Africans, we can conclude that in those three countries the African population is about 11,584,816. Thus, Dr. Parsan is incorrect on his figures.

The next question is this: what does Dr. Parsan mean when he says that the Indians are “the most well-to-do and culturally strong and progressive ethnic group” in our plural society? I would grant him that the Indians have prospered under fifty years of Independence. What I am not sure of is how one measures the strength of a culture and its progressive content. Is Dr. Parsan willing to say that Hinduism and the culture it spawns is “more progressive” than the other cultures (“African culture”; Chinese culture; etc.,) in “our uniquely plural culture?” Is Dr. Parsan willing to say that all the cultures we find in Trinidad and Tobago are worthwhile but one—the Hinduism—is of more valuable and more worthwhile than the others?

Dr. Parsan’s utterances is a good case of Indian chauvinism gone wild and the tremendous amount of uninformed persons who represent us at national and international levels. When we place such mis-information and religious bias on our Trinidad and Tobago website we certainly need to think again about the poison we pour out into the world and the divisiveness we create at home.

Let us celebrate all of our cultures, even the last one that arrived on our shores. Our motto ought to be: Charity in all things; magnanimity in all of our actions.

16 Responses to “Let Charity Guide Our Utterances”


  • This again represent the how impossible it is for Indians to resist exhibiting their racist hubris. This is similar to the comments made in India a couple of years ago. I continue to warn Caribbean Africans about the Indian Aryan complex that has invaded this hemisphere, and is attempting to stamp its supremacist perspective across the Caribbean.

    We Africans, despite our overwhelming numbers in this geography, have exhibited a great degree of tolerance that is being misinterpreted for weakness by a culture that does not embrace such tolerance as a value. It does appear that neither time or distance have managed to separate some people from the system of human stratification in operation in their motherland, and which was transported across the seas to the Caribbean with indenturship. Thus when emancipation came, and while efforts were consumed in fighting to eradicate the stratification brought about by slavery, its replacement was quietly but steadily inserting itself as the substitute.

    • I see that Mr. Williams is still obsessively stuck on his singular, limited thematic thought and statement on this newsblog.

  • I think you misunderstood. He probably meant there is a higher numerical representation of Indians in Trinidad and Tobago than in any other Caribbean country.

    • hel ..HELL NO .. no misunderstanding here OK ..you want a candle to see in the night what clear in d day light? what is wrong with you ? a blind man could see this idiot saying t&t indians more valuable ,better,prosperous and i could go on on, than t&t africans,they more self worthy and benificial to the land of t&t.The next thing we will here coming out of people like he and sat mouth is ‘kill all remaining africians”.But that will be the day… time stood still in t&t.When we have a pm saying ‘we is the light of the future” ah sure every africans even those who was in the audiance know she was not talking or refering to them ,we have this idiot saying indians better than everybody else and dottish jack instigating a racial war with every breath he takes, where are we heading ? this government want a racial war to break out in t&t and then stupid ,ah cant stan dat man ..jack … will bring out all the army forces and order them to start shooting anything black with nappy hair that moves.This is not a joke people.this government serious.The only reason why this thing ent take off in full yet is because the botton line is the people of t&t is not as racist as they want them to be , througt out t&t africans and indians still existing in love or at least some degree of love and the worst part of it is the majority of citizens of t&t are of mix race so what they go do kill theyself or they family ? i am of mix race and habor no hate for any race i judge a man by the context of his character not by the color of his skin or his race. ah tell all ya this government is the worst they wicked and evil,every thing they do and say wicked.But i believe in my people ..ALL TRINIDIANS of every creed and race, i betting on all of you to hold on to the balance wheel ,dont let this nasty stinking thinking take up any perminent residence in your mind body and soul if we all do that simple thing then we will never ..never be victims of this evil.i love all the different beautiful races of t&t say that 3 times a day and you good to go.Thank you my people.

  • Linda Edwards, class of '67

    Savita from Galway: A young Indian woman died in Ireland last month. This is her story. She was 17 weeks pregnant, and began having severe back pains. Her husband rushed her to the doctor. She was having a miscarriage. They asked the doctors to terminate the pregnancy. The doctors refused on the ground that “This is a Catholic Country”. The baby took two days to die inside her, meanwhile poisoning Savita’s blood. By the time the doctors removed the dead fetus, Savita was dying. She could not be saved.

    This has caused such a furor among White Irish CAtholic Women, that they are protesting in the streets of this newly Multicural country. Her husband took his wife home to India for burial, and Galway cancelled its Divali celebrations. I have posted a note about this on my facebook page, and friends from all over the world are outraged and sorrowful.
    Their sorrow reflects the unity women feel on issues like our bodies. The attitude of the doctors in the hospital are typical of the narrow views of people in politics. As I was writing my facebook comment, tears were streaming down my face for a woman I will never meet. Comments like Neil Parsan’s make me think of those Catholic doctors who let an immigrant Hindu woman, a dentist, die in the name of a God they clearly misunderstand.
    Thanks for listening.
    Love can conquer all the evil comments ignorant men make, all the divisiveness they work at. Had that woman begun miscarrying at the side of the road in our country,Trinidad and Tobago, would African originated,Chinese originated and European originated women, and all the mixtures of which we are capable, would we have walked idly by?

    More on this isssue at http://www.bbc.co.uk.

  • “The Indian diaspora is a formidable force in Trinidad and Tobago, the largest numerical representation in the entire Caribbean; the most well-to-do and culturally strong and progressive ethnic group in the uniquely plural society of T&T.”
    Dr. Neil Parsan has removed this statement from the website and did not use this statement in his Divali speech. Maybe his wife of African descent proofread his speech and suggested that the statement be revised.
    Let us examine his statement.

    “The Indian diaspora is a formidable force in Trinidad and Tobago”. TRUE

    “The largest numerical representation in the entire Caribbean” FALSE
    Did he mean the largest numerical representation in T&T? TRUE
    Was he referring to what was known as the British Caribbean? FALSE

    “The most well-to-do and culturally strong and progressive ethnic group in the uniquely plural society of T&T.”

    “Well to do” Was he referring to material wealth? Probably TRUE

    “Progressive ethnic group” Was he referring to education and technical savvy? Probably TRUE.

    Statements of this nature are serving no useful purpose except to prolong the ongoing cultural and superiority debate in Trinidad. Cultural and ethnic sensitivity are now dominant in the minds of the people of T&T. Port of Spain is feeling displaced as the center of the universe. Statements like, “we must take back our country”, are becoming the rallying cries of many in the capital, Opposition leader included. We all know what White Tea party members meant by similar statements in the USA!
    At a time like this, ambassadors, politicians and other leaders should temper their statements and strive for accuracy.
    Similarly, there are many in T&T who should turn down the Hindu rhetoric.
    I agree, “let charity guide our utterances”.

  • If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck. Neil Parsan’s “apology” saying his wife is a black woman, is pathetic. The fact is, that “draft” was POSTED OFFICIALLY on the EMBASSY WEBSITE. It is dishonest to try to cover up now.

  • Freedom of speech is under attack again by those who pretend to defend it. Neil was simply qualifying the presence of Indians in the Caribbean similar to Cudjoe’s “indian time ah come”. Cudjoe saw Indians as intelligent, economically and politically arrive. Thus Neil statement does not diminish the truth but recognizes it except he is Indian and any such utterances, unlike Cudjoe’s recognition of such reality is met with abject scorn.

    Must the people who have suffered the long journey across the “kalapani” and built Trinidad, Guyana and Suriname remain silent about any celebration of their identity. Neil suffering from momentary delusions of grandeur exaggerated figures yes, but that does not mean that there are no profound truths in his statement. It does not subtract from the African contributions to the Caribbean. Just look at their great contributors, Papa Doc, Forbes Linden Burnham, Gary,etc.

  • Tman said,”Maybe his wife of African descent proofread his speech and suggested that the statement be revised.” So dat is one of the ways we were able to get so many Douglas in T&T ,and Guyana , eh T-man, and it had nada to do with alleged rapist Afrikan males, running around in certain enclaves preying on innocent Indo women? Excellent response Dr Cudjo.
    I am always amazed at this idiotic census claim, by these immoral cretins , who fail to appreciate that many Douglas often put their fingers in their mouths , then place it in the air to see which direction the socio economic- com political winds are blowing ,before stating their race to a census taker.
    Let the push back begin, by real progressives , I say!

  • you is the stupidest ,most ignorant ,dottish person, no sorry ,not person that will identify you as belonging to the human race ,so whatever you are at least be proud you are graded ‘exceed’…now that is freedom of speech.ah hope you was not fruitfull and multiply and if you did they did not take any of your genes..”LORD HAVE MERCY”.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajXXQNeUeJo

      Speaking of freedom of speech- something dat did not just begin two years ago, one should appropriately add- which of these two musical ditties do you prefer Kim?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7BlVaLEHWs

      Remember Kim ,ah time when Trinis would enjoy songs like these, or a bit of satire , os well as a lil over de edge , yet honest banter ,on socially sensitive , neo racial/ ethnic affairs, and not take offense?
      Now unfortunately kim, political correctness is the new order in T&T , aka Baby America, and so ,a learned Professor , as our good Doc ,is viewed as stirring up an ants nest ,simply because he has de audacity to raise a few relevant questions. Who should get de blame for dat one should enquire?
      Guess what , these comedians want me to hate my beautiful, cosmopolitan country? The person who can make me do dat ain’t born yet, ehhh Kim? It’s simply nice to be home in de land of my birth , as I conduct my own ethnographic studies, on socio – political leanings – re T&T.

      • neal ya make me laugh lucky for you i have a good sense of humor ..right ? just joking ! but i really do.. but serious i like both of them now that is kiaso ! kiaso !! and real talent.It hurt me to see and hear people pushing that dottish stupid racist thing down we throat ..thanks for making me laugh ah hope ya dont want to send a man for kim !! ha ! ha ! ha !!!!

  • PM wants mangoes
    I heard that the Prime Minister statement on the removal of import duties from food items in a bid to further cut the price of food.
    In this She mentioned that the state is sourcing a variety of mango (which is native to India) from the United States.I Question to this is What Does the United States Know about Mango??
    My dear people stop this move here; This mango that they are talking about is a Genetic altered mango-Has no taste, no Fiber, and even no smell as a ripen fruit.
    Why not invest in keeping our local mangoes= Doodoos, Long mango,calabash,Box and spice, Starch, Rose, Etc…
    Fruit trees were not created to be bearing all year long this is CRAP.
    Away with this Mango the PM is talking about, block it, get rid of it. When this is introduced in the Island -all of a sudden you would see all the local mangoes disappearing from the scene.
    In the US- only one company wants to control the bananas, the mangoes. Their aren’t much mangoes as varieties. If the mango is a native of India, Get it from India !!!
    I know what I am speaking about on this one- Reject this Genetic mango from taking over our local one’s.
    Is this what those Summit meetings was all about ??? Depending on the outsiders Genetic foods.
    Get real on this One Madam Prime Minister -You are Dead WRONG on this one…

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