Rowley’s attempt to woo Indian vote

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
November 10, 2014

Dr. Kwame NantambuOne of the least noticed events in the nature of the political beast in Trinidad and Tobago is the overt attempt by the leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM) and Opposition Leader in Parliament, Dr. Keith Rowley to woo the Indian vote in the upcoming 2015 general elections.

Indeed, one of Dr. Rowley’s first political-electoral actions was to mend fences with his former boss and former PNM leader Patrick Manning. Of course, no one was fooled by Dr. Rowley’s public farce, period. It tantamounted to a puerile exercise in futility on Dr. Rowley’s part.

The second political-electoral aspect in this scenario that must be noted is that while he was in office then Prime Minister Patrick Manning never personally attended any festivities celebrated by Indians. Prime Minister Manning always sent high-ranking government officials to represent him at these functions.

Today, it’s a different picture. As a complete 360 degree turnaround from the previous PNM-Manning era, one finds that the current PNM leader Dr. Keith Rowley and other high profile PNM members always make sure that they are seen, captured, recorded and photographed in all the newspapers when they attend festivities put on by Indians.

This is the new, albeit skillful, political-electoral modus operandi orchestrated by the PNM leadership today. However, the salient question that immediately comes to the fore is: will it succeed in 2015’s general elections?. The answer is a Big No, period.

The statistical fact of the matter is that according to the latest (2011) population census figures Indians comprise 35.43 per cent, Africans 34.22 per cent, Mixed-Other 15.16 per cent, Mixed-African/Indian 7.66 per cent, Caucasian 0.59 per cent, etc.

Ergo, Indians account for the bulk of the voting electorate. What this portends is that because of the historical, endemic ethnicity-based-biased voting structure/pattern in the country, the PNM cannot and will not win any general elections without a large chunk of the Indian vote, period.

Hence, it need occasion no great surprise that Dr. Keith Rowley has now embarked on this Indian-driven political venture. Electoral reality has set in for the PNM.

Moreover, the legacy of Euro-British colonialism dictates that Indians, on the whole, will not vote for the PNM despite Dr. Keith Rowley’s elaborate/expensive live TV broadcast of the party’s Divali celebrations, period. It will not work— another mere political-electoral exercise in futility.

The fact of the matter is that on the one hand, Indians vote in a strict clannish manner while on the other hand, Africans will vote for anybody, period. Indians do not and will never switch ethnic allegiance while Africans are prepared to vote with “eat ah food” mentality.

Put another way, Indians will never split their potent ethnic electoral vote while Africans are more than willing to participate in a political-electoral threesome. That’s a fact, period.

As a result, the PNM will never win any general elections even if it were to receive 100 per cent of the African vote. And, of course, that will never happen.

Indeed, the only suggested way out of this political-electoral dilemma is the vital need for leadership change at the helm of the PNM. It must be emphasized that at this point in time, Indians will not vote for the PNM under the leadership of Dr. Keith Rowley, period. And that’s a fact. It is just that simple. Does Dr. Keith Rowley recognize this?— “Hell no”.

In the final analysis, Dr. Keith Rowley needs to clearly understand that he is not fooling any voter by pretending to remake/re-invent /re-package himself from the ominous “raging bull” cum “wajan behavior” posture to a cool, calm sari-clad, scarf-wearing politician, period— “himself told himself.”

Shem Hotep (“I go in peace”).

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

17 thoughts on “Rowley’s attempt to woo Indian vote”

  1. What a pile of rubbish Doctor! (are you really that qualified…I suspect not, based on your unadulterated racist outlook.)
    So what if Rowley is wooing the Indian vote? He is doing what has to be done to win an election, something Mr. Manning should have done decades ago.
    I wonder what your comment would be if Rowley ignored the Indian electorate/
    As an ex-pat (0.6 per center) Trini living in South Africa, it grieves me that this simple racist mindset rules in Trinidad. I thought Apartheid died in SA in 1994…looks like its alive and well in T&T., especially in the Indian community.

  2. As a citizen of the island of T&T, I am glad that You Mr Kwame is just a part time lecturer, because if you were in my school
    system , it will be clear to me that you are more a product
    of a divided people. Any one person or persons wanting to serve
    the public and get tax’s payers money, it will be an understanding
    that they are serving the interest of T&T , and not wanted to served
    the chosen few like your self. You represent one who wants to
    set the island backward . Don’t you think the people of the
    island is tire of the kruption . you better check yourself .I am not surprise if you will like to join icsc.

  3. I am sure Rowley is busy moving people into the marginals to ensure things are tilted in his favour. The PNM successfully did this in St.Joesph.
    In Rowley’s effort to rebuild a strong PNM indian base he is making the mistake of bringing in people with questionable character to run for office. He has doubled his efforts with the Muslims and Presbyterians.
    The PNM have to target at least 6 seats to bring in a victory and even if that happens Rowley will have to do the song and dance to ensure none gets too upset with him. Knowing Rowley temperament that is going to be a challenge.
    Rowley is facing a popular PM and his best hope for 2015 is an imploding PP. That would be difficult because Kamla is not Panday. She has manage to keep this coalition together and in the process get rid of at least 20 even those presumed to be close to her, citing her “serve the people mantra”.
    Keith has not cast a clear vision of the future and so it remains to be seen how this next election will turn out.

  4. I find that the views expressed in this apology for an article to be extremely Afro-centric and ant-Indian without rhyme and reason. Did not the Muslims ( influenced by Kamal Chach) and Indian Presbyterians (Instigated by Winston Mahabir and other south-based Indo-politicians)t vote for the PNM since 1962 onwards? Take a look at the poll results of all general elections in Indian constituencies and see how many Indians voted for the PNM. In fact since 1956 Africans have been voting solidly for the PNM until pre-1986 and disabuse your mind from the self-inflicted myth that Africans vote for any body and their voting behaviour is not racially-determined. In 2007 the Indian vote for the COP (against the UNC) split the vote and caused PNM to win in the marginals and win the elections.
    The Indians have a legitimate institutional memory since the 1970 Revolution when Indian and Africans united but was followed by the most vicious form of exclusion and discrimination against Indians. These people will not fall prey to the cultural cosmetics of Rowley because they that is the PNM, preach one thing (fairness and inclusion) publicly from the platforms and practice the opposite (the anti-Indian agenda) in private caucuses. The PNM has to earn the trust of the Indians over time to convince them that they are seriously including them in the development loop. Timeo PNM et dona ferentes.

  5. Well Dr. Nantambu, I am not sure whether Indians will simply not vote for the PNM based on clannishness for “clannishness’ sake. I will have to do my own research before concluding that the Indian vote is strictly based on fealty to the Indo-Trinidadian grouping.

    However, what seems more plausible to me is the false narrative of African victimisation of the Indo-Trinidadian group which influences the Indo-Trinidadian vote for the “Indo-Trinidadian” party. Mr. Kangal has again raised the spectre of African racism, a fact that I am yet to witness for myself.

    Having grown up in San Fernando, I have always seen persons of Indo-Trinidadian descent working in the Licensing Office and other government offices and the majority of wealthy individuals in the San Fernando tended to be of East Indian descent. I have always observed this phenomenon in other parts of Trinidad that I have visited. Tobago has never had a sizable East Indian community to begin with, so I cannot say whether or not there has been any systematic racism against Indo-Trinidadians. With that said, it would still be extremely problematic to impute racist motives to a PNM administration under which many East Indians have acquired much wealth. The evidence is there for the average Trinidadian and Tobagonian to see.

    Unfortunately, it does not matter what I think or believe. The false narrative of African victimisation of the Indians in Trinidad has gained great intellectual currency in the East Indian community in Trinidad and Tobago.

    This inherent distrust based on the intellectually mischievous propagation of the African victimisation is more likely to make it difficult for the PNM to make any significant electoral inroads into East Indian voting constituencies,

  6. the contents of the article is wrong,the indo votes have split on numerous occasions,muslim,presbyterian and the famous knife &fork indos.the only time these folks will vote in a pool is when the pressure is unbearable under the pnm.history will show that once the unc looses,it takes 10 yrs to recover!

  7. Timeo PNM et dona ferentes means I fear the PNM even when they give us (ferentes) the gift (dona) of a Divali celebrations. This is to reflect the lack of trust by the Trojans of the Wooden Horse of Troy left by the Danos (Greeks).

  8. This questionable Doctor obviously has not done his research before presenting his dubious information and postulation. The statistics clearly show that the PNM received a consistent number of votes in every election over the last 10 to 15 years, averaging 285,00 votes, win or lose.
    The votes recorded for the other “Indian” party varies considerably from one election to the next, depending on voter turn out and the formation of coalitions.In 2010 when the PNM was soundly defeated, the party still received their loyal support of “diehards” totaling 285.354 votes.One of the conclusions that could be reached here is that the Afro vote for the PNM is solid and unwavering. Based on this logical conclusion, the claims of the Afro vote abandoning the PP in the next election seem to be without merit. Obviously the PP did not receive any substantial support from the solid Afro community, in spite of convenient political claims to the contrary.
    The swing voters will decide the election: the Presbyterians, Muslims,Whites, Chinese, and mixed race peoples. Ethnic block voting is not new to T&T.

    1. Pray someone, please explain why the Afro dominant PNM ,has won 97 out of the last 100 elections in this blessed country, since conniving White Massa departed these shores?
      I’ll tell you why. Savvy Indo Trinis, knows fully well, ‘where dey bread butter ,’ as we like to say on de streets.
      Once in power,African leadership has always been good to them, while their own trade union party,will repeatedly find ways to mmess up / ‘stink up de joint,’once , given a mandate by voters.
      Translation:- There is absolutely no reason, why the Tobago Wajang , would need to woo any Indian voters.Their leaders will do , all his indirect canvassing for him , as they ‘shoot themselves in the foot.’
      por ejemplo:-
      Neglect they own -especially the poor, solely support their high end cronies,indulge in political overreach ,via opaque policies, and laws, and the list goes on.
      The blues singer B.B. King, once wrote a fine song entitled , ‘the thrill us gone.’ Indo Trinis have had their fill of these self serving elitist Hindu leaders , and now wish to get back to normalcy, and steady , stewardship, where their overall interest, can again be advanced , at de expense of stupid Africans.
      Enough with unconstitutional curfew, Rammy, and his Prison lawyer , and Range Rover gate , Section 34 to help corrupt business blokes,repeated firing of cabinet members, White foreign Police Commissioner , and a blatantly divisive administration , that has done more to piss off, progressive members of the tribe , including that lurking mixed swing votes.
      What Dr Rowley needs to do is put his own house in order, if he wishes to become the next PM , and the reasons are clear.
      The vindictive Christian Manning, and his ardent Sando fans, are seeking revenge,Opportunistic Penelope , de Arima Queen ,is not finish as yet, since she , for some extremely strange reason , think this is her time, Folks from his Tobago island ward, ain’t trust him, as they think he too would give them the political middle finger, as predecessors.

  9. If the PP did not receive any significant votes from Africans, then that party can hardly be termed a broad coalition of the T&T population. And it also makes solid the position that the Government does not consider the concerns of Africans as important. I personally have no problem with this, because I know of no country, no nation, no society, where Indians have not generally reflected the same level of racial antipathy for Africans.

    It is a fact that Indians came to T&T and the Caribbean with an entrenched caste belief system, and this has defined their relationship with Africans. Despite the silly attempts to present the racial hostility between the two groups as something with mutual beginnings, the fact remains that racial prejudice in humans do have a history, and that history links it to religious and cultural belief systems that view human groups are genetically superior and inferior. There are no such belief systems among Africans, and in fact the absence of automatic prejudice and suspicion is what is responsible for the destruction of many African civilizations, and also their exploitation.

    If one examines every geography in this world, they will discover that every racial group is able to open business ventures in African communities without fear of Africans commercial behaviors being influenced by the race or ethnicity of those business owners. And they park there bloatingly while projecting all of the prejudices that have been cemented into their psyches for thousands of years upon Africans, mostly because they expect Africans to accept their inferiority, and act accordingly. In some twisted and depraved pattern of reasoning, this refusal to accept as fact the racial superiority of Indians have become their definition of racism.

    The British are said to have pondered deeply about which was the best population group to bring to the Caribbean to replace the captive labor force, and not risk the specter of that group finding commonality with Africans and thus constituting a broad front against the Colonial Powers. They were very astute in their choice, and after being in control of India for more than a century and becoming familiar with the thinking of the inhabitants, they concluded that the likelihood of such a coalition was as remote as the likelihood of some other white group finding commonality with Africans. In fact they considered Indians in the context of their perspective when it came to black people, to be no different than they were, and thus were far more likely to find commonality with that of the previous slave master, than with the former slaves. History stands as a living testament to how right they got that.

  10. somehow or the other we as people have a disconnection in rationalization temporary for some and never connected for most. Right now there are PNM party groups planning riots if Kams and the PP win next year which is the real reason those vehicles were purchased. I as a nonracist, yes I wouldn’t say in a crisis I want my own race to help me and neither would you, have been told by PNM supporters stop looking at Indian females as wife and mother material, stop looking at latinas, asians, etc…

    who therefore thenhas the racist mindset?

    Imagine at Bruse bar in curepe this week here a PNM OWTU supporter start an argument with 2 indians that Kamal Mohammed MAKE negro females tie their tubes. The most f.. ing stupidity ever.
    The response was that Kamal negro PNM boss, the other negro ministers and medical personnel DID NOTHING TO PREVENT or even make women look for a 5th opinion thereby leading to a logical conclusion that it was thePNM IGNORANCE PLAN with the indian for a scapegoat.

    Beware the PNM bringing colorful boxes, racism is alive and perpetually propagating within the ranks. The PNM is the epitome of that eurocentric racism that has yet to be eradicated from the wider Caribbean.

  11. Hey Bigga927, were there riots , when the PNM , or if you prefer , Africans lost those 3 elections, out of the 100 they voted in , over the past 52 years, since evil , White, conniving massa departed? If you aren’t still drunk, then I’ll guess your answer.
    Don’t worry, I am coming to your Curepe bar next week, to start an argument that the mixed race /swing vote , fastest rising Trini population ,did not come about, solely because out of control African savages , were running around T&T, raping delicate Indians Chicas , as claimed by a few .
    Oh, and by the way , the same idiot claims were made in neighboring Guyana as well too.
    Do you think I’ll get much reactions, from your fellow idle, grog guzzlers, and doubles/gyros munchers?
    It’s about damn time dey make weed smoking legal, in T&T, as alcohol, is destroying the brain cells , and perhaps logic of my fellow nationals, hmmmmmm?
    How is dat high spirited lady Kamla doing bigga927?
    Say no to drugs people!
    One of their own self loathing intellectuals ,label us all Caribbean folks ,Euro mimics, but no other tribe but his own , has emulated , lock , stock and barrel, every characteristic, of White Europeans like they have -including their penchant for racism.
    Surprise , surprise , on every occasion, where convenient, they enjoy pointing accusatory fingers at others.
    Ummmmmm…’Pot ah tell kettle….’finish de line bigga927.

  12. so neal when we talk the truth of what the pnm section of society saying we get dissed by people like you for exposing the for brains mentality that still permeates the society. i hope you come and ask the regulars most of whom are university educated types in order to realise the truth that the incident actually occurred…… hope then that the coming out your mouth and mind don’t stick to your face permanently…..

  13. “..Regulars most of whom are university educated types ..”, huh bigga927?
    I’m quaking in my boots at this challenge, mi amigo.
    Trust me when I say however ,dat none of ‘you alze ,’ drunken bozos , ain’t want nada with me.
    Watery beer guzzling , clueless ,bums, attempting to analyze the finer intricacies of Trini tribal politics -as made popular by your corrupt ,UNC dominant PP- while playing stupid , politically incorrect games.
    This is the clown we are stuck with for an AG. Was the President entitled to this allowance or not, in light of the fact that he resided in State quarters, with his so called economist wife? His response? How long did he Dr. Rowley knew of this? The idiot thinks he is blabbering in front of a clueless judge, some where in Sando, or his final year law school debate class.
    See why we have become the laughing stock of the entire Commonwealth, bigga927?
    Just how long again before these incompetent bastards , are shown the door , by disgusted voters?

  14. to be replaced by whom, the same racist PNM clowns who messed up the country in the 1st place? You got Japanese to run Trinidad?


    Ain’t this something people, and just who is attempting to woo, who here, hmmmmm? However to quote our still disgruntled , one time , top notched, Diplomat , Uncle Stephen Kangal-‘Timeo UNC/PP et dona ferentes !’
    Which translated means :-Timeo UNC et dona ferentes -I fear the UNC dominant PP,even when they give us (ferentes) the gift (dona) of a Christian day celebrations. This is to reflect the lack of trust by the Trojans of the Wooden Horse of Troy left by the Danos (Greeks).

    “Tobago has never had a sizable East Indian community to begin with, so I cannot say whether or not there has been any systematic racism against Indo-Trinidadians.”

    Well, you do not need to speculate , any further, mi amigo, for that’s why I am here. The answer to your question is never. Don’t take my word as gospel.
    Just judge for yourself. Perhaps, there a little over 79 Hindus , presently residing in Tobago , and yet ,they were able to acquire, a prime piece of Tobago Real Estate ,in -of all places- my Signall Hill backyard, to construct a major temple to worship.,202046.html

    How much votes does that truly translate to, when compared to the not too honest, neo Christian , populist overtures, by your PM , and her UNC dominant PP ,trinamerican?
    Oh, and by the way, trinamerican,want to know, what’s the biggest irony of irony is? I’ll tell you.
    The folks from the Tobago Spiritual Baptist camp, are still patiently awaiting, similar THA , Orville London luv, as their land deed situation, is stuck in bureaucratic limbo, with little relief in sight.
    Then again , this ain’t too surprising, for that’s the way , self serving, neglectful , Afro elites , have always rolled ,in our T&T,ever since 1962, when White , conniving Massa departed these shores.
    They have continually sought ways, to ‘appease de other,’ while simultaneously ,take for granted/giving the symbolic ,middle finger to their own , be it in Tobago, Belmont,Carnegie, Lavantille, Mt Dor , Beetham, or Movant.
    Otra Vez, don’t take my word for it, just look at the ghastly state of neglected Tobago, or Lavantille Febeau Village, and ain’t this a sick tragedy?,200655.html

    There is one thing one can be assured of, ‘as sure as night follows day,’as we enjoy saying on de streets.
    The cross tribal masses, with new voices at the helm, will be mobilize, and so rise up/ push back ,once they realize that their Interest are inextricably linked.
    Neo imperial, self serving elites , must never be allowed to allowed to continually dominate, the socio -economic, and political landscape, using typical, divide , and rule strategies, taught to dem by White conniving Massa.
    Say no elitism, and yes to good governance!!

  16. Many Trinis misunderstand the people of Tobago. Tobagonians are very proud of their African heritage and this gives them a sense of purpose and culture.This is a good thing.I have attended their heritage festival. It is an excellent display of Tobago culture.
    Indo-Trinidadians jumped on Sandy’s Calcutta ship comment and assumed that the people of Tobago were of one mind, not so.
    I spend a lot of time in Tobago and feel very welcomed and appreciated.It is an example of what I have been talking about on this for some time. Pride in your own ancestry does not necessarily mean that you do not respect, appreciate and accept another.
    Trinis who go over to Tobago and disrespect the people will feel the brunt of their anger.

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