Race Politics in T&T: Afri-centric Analysis

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
January 15, 2013

Dr. Kwame NantambuOne of the ultimate, stupid, insipid, divisive, dysfunctional, Euro-centric variables that has reared its ugly head is the issue of race in the upcoming Tobago House of Assembly elections.

At the outset, it must be emphasized categorically that the public “Calcutta ship” no-brainer, rubbish, diatribe vomited by Mr. Hilton Sandy only speaks volumes as to his utter myopic, ignorance and Euro-centric mis-understanding of Euro-colonial history; that is, the relationship between the European colonizer and the colonized in the Caribbean.

In addition, he also seems totally void of any scintilla of knowledge of European enslavement in the Caribbean.

The fact of the matter is that historiography proves that Europeans brought Africans involuntarily and violently from Africa to be enslaved on plantations in the Caribbean between August 1516(17) to August 1834(38).

As a corollary, Indians came mostly voluntarily from India at the behest of the Euro-British to be enslaved on plantations in the Caribbean between May 1845 to March 1917.

In other words, then, both Africans and Indians were enslaved by disparate Europeans (regardless of what title His-Story gave to those who came from India).

Moreover, European colonialism lasted in the Caribbean from September 1493 (Euro-Spanish) until August 1962 (Euro-British). And the Euro-British colonized India until its independence in August 1947.

Ipso facto, both Africans and Indians have been duly colonized and enslaved by Europeans- that’s our common historical denominator, period.

However, because of the overt manifestation of the evil genius of the intrinsic divisive genre of Euro-centric mis-education, the legacy of this divide and rule phenomenon is now alive and kicking in politics in Trinidad and Tobago.

The salient fact of the matter is that Africans are not Europeans; they are not White. Indians are not Europeans; they are not White.

Indeed, the official population census figures of Trinidad and Tobago reveal that Africans account for 37.5 per cent of the national population while Indians comprise 40 per cent. Ergo, these figures prove that the majority population of Trinidad and Tobago represents people who are neither White nor European, period.

As such, mere deduction would suggest that Trinidad and Tobago does not have a racial problem; on the contrary, Trinidad and Tobago does indeed have an ethnic problem – figures and our Euro-colonial history do not lie; people and politicians do, 24-7-365.

As C. L. R. James once stated: “The race question is subsidiary to the class question in politics and to think of (today’s neo-colonialism in Trinidad and Tobago) in terms of race is disastrous. But to neglect the racial factor as merely incidental is an error only less grave than to make it fundamental.”

After fifty years of putative political independence, now is the time for Trinbagonians to judge/classify ourselves using Our Story as the historical backdrop instead of using the divisive, dysfunctional, ahistorical Euro-centric model/backdrop as per the ridiculous “Calcutta ship” model/backdrop in Tobago.

Trinbagonians need to assiduously adhere to the lyrics/spirit of our national anthem to the extent that Our Story not only demands that “side by side we stand” but also the salient fact that Trinbagonians must seek/strive to completely destroy/sever that imposed/inherited Euro-centric colonial, divisive umbilical cord and see /treat/respect each other as one former colonized/enslaved people– that’s our common historical denominator, period.

Trinibagonians might have come from different places/countries and on different European ships but at the end of the day, we all have been lodged in the same former European colonized and enslaved boat, period.

Truth Be Told: As the “Father of the Nation” Dr. Eric Williams once stated: “On August 31, 1962, a country will be free, a miniature State will be established but a society and a nation will not have been formed. After August 31, 1962, the people of Trinidad and Tobago will face the fiercest test in their history… whether they can invest with flesh and blood the bare skeleton of their national anthem, ‘here every creed and race find an equal place'”.

In the final analysis, unfortunately and regrettably, this “fiercest test” as in final exam is still under the control /supervision of a presiding invigilator in January 2013– results still unknown.

Shem Hotep (“I go in peace”).

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

10 thoughts on “Race Politics in T&T: Afri-centric Analysis”

  1. Good slant on this issue. Today, race should have no place in the national discourse. What should be on the national discourse is equality and fairness. Creating a just, equitable and socially strong society should be the goal of all citizens. The preponderance of race talk has been the cultist thinking of the balisier brigade. The older PNM guard has always felt ethnocentric ideology would be the best way forward. Times have change and a genuine dialog on building a just, equitable society standing on the national anthem “here every creed and race finds an equal place” should be the heritage entrusted to the next generation. Hate does not build anything, in fact it sets the world on a course of “self-destruction”.

    It is my hope that this dialog on equality, justice, fairness and love for each other would become the guiding principles that would govern the conduct of each citizen. To deviate from this course would be a sad commentary on our national objectives. I applaud the media for its strong condemnation of the “Calcutta” comment. It is a good sign and being intolerant of this ethnocentric machinations is the best way forward….

    1. While I understand you I think that “destroyed” might be too strong a word. But he did substantial to T&T.

      I read and listen to many on the subject and I am surprised that for the PNM supporters they see nothing wrong with what happened under his watch. However, when the same things are done under another’s watch they are highly offended.

      Having participated in numerous political actions in my youth, I see that equal place getting closer but this could be distorted in the immediate with the swinging of the pendulum.

  2. Ohhh ‘AfroBuddahSunGod,’ who resides in our hearts ,and not in de sky ,grant me some patience to deal with dem non patriots!
    Any one with an inkling of a brain would be aware that “equality and fairness,”will be nothing more than ‘pipe dreams,’& so , never can be an option, policy , or practice,where , unscupolous ,culturally depraved ,race mongrels ,abide- be it in old Apartheid South Afrika,white ,genocidal , Jim Crow North America,Jewish controlled /Palistinian homeland (Israel)in de Middle East,and sadly,present day T&T.
    Therefore ,it’s naive , or worst yet , foolish ,to think ,that the question of race ,has no part in the T&T ,national debate , when it comes to the present dispicable state of affairs , across our country.
    For de record Marmoo, I ain’t saying you are a fool,or naive , but if de cap fits, then feel free to pull those strings – as tight as possible.
    Let me add in all seriousness folks , dat Afro Trini leaders ,do have their flaws, but the Mamboos of de world, , and similar deceptive others ,can talk until dem water buffalo / cows ,come home , but they won’t convince a single soul ,that one such characteristics,was ,indulging in racial discrimination , against their Indo Trini brothers and sisters.
    Unfortunately, only one group of people ,has systematically engaged in racial discrimination against others across this land , once they were able to obtain some semblance of power. Call names Mamboo, and I will whistle.
    Trust me when I say , that , I was able to look closely over the years , at the negative impact that can accrue, from fellow human beings ,who succum to practices of inhumanity towards de other , due to what can only be described as ,their having morally depraved souls.
    Let’s hope Trinis ,with limited hope ,ain’t wilt under pressure , as the ‘political blowbacks ,’might be more than we can deal with, being such a small nation Si?
    Otra Vez,I must remind ‘you alls,’ to first , ‘beware of a man with nothing to loose,’ and secondly, ‘luv humanity ,’and forget de tribe, si?

    1. “Therefore ,it’s naive , or worst yet , foolish ,to think ,that the question of race ,has no part in the T&T ,national debate , when it comes to the present dispicable state of affairs , across our country” Neal
      What despicable affairs? Neal you are delusional at best. The pursuit of equality is the better way forward rather than cries of victim hood. What fruit would it yield to stir up ethnocentric passions. “Can’t we all just get along “. The PNM and its Afro centric base savoured the fat of the land, enriching themselves at the expense of others for over 40 years. The civil service was 80 percent Afro and others were simply excluded no explanation given. Now that the PP in charge it is better to pursue equality rather than to continue PNM policy of ethnocentric discrimination. That is the way you build a better nation. PNM will always feel that the PP would continue their policy even though empirical evidence prove otherwise. The PP is building and distributing thousands of housing, none in my large family or nobody I know has applied or is living in any of those houses. It is going mainly to those who supported the PNM. The programs that the PP has put forward has benefited PNM supporters such as the Orange program millions given to the unskilled. They say they want good jobs but bullet flying all over the place, who would want to invest in those hell holes. Yet in your narrow ethnocentric diatribe you will place your African labels on the PP. Shame on you!!! Tell me one instance where the PNM ever did anything to help PP supporters.

  3. Sorry Mamboo, but I don’t have time for your baseless ,mambo jumbos,disguised as fruitful debate on matters pertinent to my lovely Twin Republic.
    It’s Saturday evening, and the first time in two deades that I am listening to a Parliamentary debate in my country. The two speakers are The Honorable Opposition leader , in DR Keith Rowley, and young Dr Baker , Member for Tobago West.The subject under review on de verge of de ISland WArd election is – The Constitution,( Amemdment )(Tobago Bill)2013.
    I find it quite intreauging indeed. Very spirited.We have been down this part before sadly , but, I am optimistic,as I too attempt to formulate my own initiative ,to help my island of birth, and by extension nation.
    I wish you well, as you too try to develop your neglected UNC controlled community, since as you claimed , they too were ignored for 50 years ,since your white Massa departed, yes? I luv this land folks. Long live de people of Tobago, and long life the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago.


  5. Just as we can break down chemistry in to two basic components: acid and alkaline; social relations can also be broken-down into two diametrically opposite components i.e. Trust and Fear. Mr.Mamoo I believe, is emotionally genuine in his sentiments about Africans robbing Indians of their perceived chances of social mobility, it was with this sincerity that many of our Indo-Trinis applied to the Canadian government for refugee status—to me it is very unfortunate that such a large segment of our little community should hold another similarly large segment of its society in such a negative profile. But, humans being humans, they would prefer to believe whatever, placates their comfort zone.

  6. ” Mr Mamboo …believe Africans robbing Indians of their perceived chances of social mobility … It is very unfortunate , that such a large segment of our little community,should hold another similarly large segment of it’s society ,in such a negative profile.” wegopickup
    Excellent/ astute analysis indeed!
    Let me add, bu asking the following:- If South Afrika was India , Pakistan , Bangladesh,Nepal, or Sri Lanka, guess what would have occurred , the day post Aparthied Independence took place, Wegopick? You bet,everyone of the white racist bums, would be given 1st class status, while dem stupid,Afrikan savages, kicked out of the country ,for condoning the dehumanizing system called Apathied, and there is a logical reason- trust me on that.
    No matter how terribly White folks treat them,or how wonderful their existence might be , when living amongst Afrikan peoples, our good South Asian , brothers , and sisters ,just cannot help themselves ,but adhere to two basic behaviors, and here it is.
    1. Cuddle up to European , even while internally despising them, since they feel inferior towards them, due to an inate self hatred.
    2. Lament, whine,complain, accuse, denounce, all Afrikans,and where appropriate , discriminate , while displaying ,blatant ungratefulness, and contempt, since they feel superior – and how idiotic.
    In contrast, no other race on planet earth, have been more welcoming,magnanimous where necessary,, and accommodating to others- even at their own people’s expense.T&T , of course , being the perfect example of this.
    The ironic, almost laughable tragic reality, in our country today , is the fact that the majority of Afrikan folks, are stuck in the bowels of socio – economic- com -political- despair, due in great measure to neglect by their own leaders, who dominated the political scene, over the previous 50 years.
    As is their nature , such misguided leaders , in their quest to hold on to power, were more contented, to appease ,and ‘elevate de other,’who are currently ,’flipping the scrip ,'(as it were )to the extent you’ve so eloquently alluded to. Go figure!
    I unlike many, don’t necessarily have a problem with many of these rabid fans of this lose / lose doctrine ,such as Mamboo, T-Man , Loyal Trini and the likes,mi amigo.
    Their presence – from a Sociological,neo- functionalist perspective, serves a useful purpose.
    Since as I suspect ,you are an educated ,wise , progressive minded fellow, I’ll leave you to figure out what it is.

    But Aye , aye, look what my country has reverted to , just like big Brother America, with them self serving , pandering , political freaks, pretending to love Trini culture ,more than the other.

    In de mean time where were they ,over the past few years when Super Blue , just like many other overwhelemed artists,such as Boogsie ,were suffering the vagaries of unmentionable imported substances , that threatened to destroy their souls?
    Do we , as a country ,have any properly funded ,viable, non politicize ,drug rehab programs, to help unfortunate others ,who succumed similarly, and more importantly, how many our young citizens , are languishing in our Americanize , profiteering , Prision system, when in actuality , they should be given the help , to get their life in order , the way our Road march king did?

    Take note , wegopickup, for what dem culturally depraved,immoral, social bandits are hoping ,is that you and I give up, run away , or collectively jump into our dangerous ,shark infested waters,as they assume victory in the end.
    There is a moral obligation entrusted on us ,the more globally savvy , visionaries , to continue to give hope to those in desperate need, expose the evil amongst us , as we try to preserve what still remain of our fledging democracy.
    Our people must know that they too came from good stock,are son, and daughters , of Kings/Queens, and are resilient folks, that inherited a land that their ancestors fought for, hmmm?
    Thanks Granny ,for reminding me dat “de longest rope has an end.”
    Enough of this , and there’s work to be done , beyond escapist ,Trinicenter bla bla , wegopickup, so roll up your sleeves , and get down and dirty in dem symbolic trenches – feel me?
    I luv dis land people , and de folks who could make me hate it , ain’t born yet.
    Luv humanity!

  7. I was a student of Professor Nantambu at Cipriani College five years ago. His divine knowledge which he imparted to his students is one of the most sacred things i took with me when i migrated to the Silicon Valley U.S. I am of East Indian descent and his words have instilled in me what it really means to be a Trini. ..not that rubbish being fed to the nation via cable tv(MTV,VH1 Reality shows). These are merely tools designed to brainwash entire populations using superficiality as the vehicle to control. I am forever grateful to Prof. Nantambu for helping me to understand the tru meaning of Globalisation and I pray that Trinidadians can Shut Up and Listen To a very wise man who we are lucky to have on our shores.I follow his articles religiously and am grateful that i have this knowledge to impart to my own daughter.

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