On the Chief Servant Makandal Daaga….and latent ignorance

Makandal DaagaTHE EDITOR: To any young person under 25 who may somehow be reading this, please look carefully at those of us over 40 and kinda pattern your life doing the exact opposite of whatever it is you see.

Because, listening to some callers to Power 102 and i95.5fm the morning after the passing of Makandal Daaga, one has to wonder why we bothered changing flags in 1962.

The way many of us analyse –using that word loosely – our society’s economic, political and social challenges with the same mindset (and formal dress styles) as the supposedly departed coloniser, it’s not hard to understand the scornful observations of Naipaul, CLR James and Lloyd Best made about many in this society. There’s very little vision, imagination and independent thought, but a whole lot of ignorance and self-contempt which they are quick to project onto the few who dare to think and act differently.

So it was with Makandal Daaga (who some callers and hosts insisted on referring to by his birth name rather than the one he chose of his own conscious will). Now the Chief Servant made many mistakes in life, certainly some in recent years. But here was someone who, along with others who also dared to dream – and do more than just dream – sought to improve our society. He refused to accept as a given the white supremacist values upon which our social, political, economic, legal and education systems were built and which continue to guide the thinking of many among us regardless of their skin colour. He laboured to forge racial unity recognising the difficulties of doing so given the decades of deliberate actions by the European elites and their local tribal collaborators. He fought to encourage a large section of the population to love and embrace their “Trinbagonianness” by first identifying, loving and embracing their Africanness. And he sought to do this by drawing from the deep well of humanistic African-centred thought from the Continent and the Diaspora, particularly from Caribbean thinkers, going back to at least the 19th century.

But that’s not what you’ll hear from the Jobs, Ramcharitars, Baldeosinghs and Boodans among us along with the slew of self-loathing, ignorant callers to the airwaves. No, Daaga and he posse just copy a setta slogan from dem radical in the States that had nothing to do with us here. Such thinking just exposes those who accept the view that we could only imitate, not initiate. It also ignores the evidence showing that much of the radicalism in the US Civil Rights and Black Power struggles can be traced to Caribbean radicals such as Garvey, James, Padmore, Claudia Jones, even stories of Maroon settlements that Black seamen encountered as they traversed the Atlantic since the 17th century.

I’ve long ceased expecting much from almost all of the 40-80 age group; I suggest you millennials give most of us a wide berth before you become contaminated. However, do try to learn as much about Makandal Daaga as possible – difficult, given what passes for History, I know – and try to stand on the shoulders of at least one giant we have produced.

Corey Gilkes
La Romaine

12 thoughts on “On the Chief Servant Makandal Daaga….and latent ignorance”

  1. Well, I see all the articles on Mr. Daaga’s passing… But NONE will define BLACK POWER. Even NJAC removed THE BLACK POWER REVOLUTION from their website and replaced it with ‘T&T revolution’…
    What is the State of Afro-Trini in 2016 (After Daaga’s Revolution)… 98% Indian medical/engineering students at UWI?
    And they don’t want to talk about Affirmative Action… And they still trying to tell me about uniting the races… I’m really That Beast of Burden… That Jackass, ent?

    Anyway…. May Daaga Rest….

    1. May God rest his soul, indeed. That benediction at least he deserves.

      As it happened, I stood about five feet directly behind Daaga, on that fateful day when the “revolution” was launched. I happened to be on the UWI campus the day the Governor-General of Canada came, and was locked out by the protesting students led by the then Geddes Granger. That was in August, 1969. Soon after I went abroad to further my studies, so I missed out on the “black power revolution”. By April 1970, the history had been written, and Mackandal Daaga had secured his place in it.

      Give him full credit for leadership ability. He towered above all his undergraduate colleagues, literally. His booming voice overpowered all others. And his vision carried the day.

      But historically, to what ultimate end? Williams then was certainly moving too slow in fulfilling the promise of Independence, as Rowley today is moving too slow in fulfilling the explicit and implicit campaign promises. But as RamK pointed out, what kind of “black power” is it when 98% of medical/engg undergrads are Indian? (I don’t know the exact figure, I’m merely quoting RamK here, who may or may not know the exact figure either, but the point must be taken, whatever it is). On that day in 1969, I would hazard that the split was more likely 50/50. So what happened?

      I do not blame Daaga for it. But I blame him for taking up with the wrong side. That is his right to take up with whatever side seems right. But don’t call it “black power”, if you’re allied with a group, not just preaching, but t’iefing their way to indo ethnic dominance.

      That equation btw is quite simple. If they t’ief in SEA placements this year, that means that seven years hence, they will have an in-built advantate in UWI admissions. But even in UWI admissions, dey t’ief there too. Prof. Courtney Bartholomew was saying as much, openly, in his Express column. No one with the authority to do something about it took him on, evidently. No doubt for fear of being called “racist”.

      So I don’t blame Daaga for that particular failure.

      But I blame him for providing cover for the miscreants who have for a long time been t’iefing their way to control of the commanding heights of education, health, media, and other crucial sectors of the society. That is out of their own mouth. See the Indian Policy.

      He allowed himself to become window dressing for the UNC/PP, even as they went to town, making mas with the Treasury. All we got from him were a few weasel words, but where was the thunder of 1970? If he had thunder for Williams in 1970, who merely was moving too slow in equalizing the society, where was his thunder for those who were not only t’iefing from the Treasury, but mortgaging the country’s communal harmony by perpetrating gross inequalities on the sly such as we see in their transformation of UWI.

      So give Jack his jacket by all means. But Daaga in the end did more harm to the cause of “black power” than good. I agree with RamK’s clear implication in that regard.

      God has the final word. If as an Israelite of the seed, you follow a path of idol worship, God will send idol worshippers to whip your behind. For that is what it was at bottom. In his “African” identity, Daaga was promulgating idol worship, and sought common cause with the Hindu idol worshippers. In the end, he had not the moral strength to condemn the clear wrong that he had helped to foist on the nation.

      But the man is now dead and buried. This much benediction he deserves, as do we all: May God rest his eternal soul, and forgive him his sins.

      And to all those seedline Israelites who remain unrepentant in following the path that Daaga followed, my suggestion is simple: open up the Book God gave to our forefathers, and study to show thyself approved. Admit error, and make correction, whatever it may cost materially and psychically.


      1. Well, I got a glimpse of Kevin BaldeoSingh’s ‘Black Powder’ article.. Can you imagine that… A man with a name like ‘BaldeoSingh’ want to ‘dis’ African people..
        A name with no history to India.. A concocted name probably invented by his Grands on Arrival to Nelson Island..
        A man who admitted that in the outside world, he is ‘mistaken’ for an Ethiopian (Because many ‘Madrassies’ of India are not developed physically as their counterparts in Trinidad)

        Now, leh meh go see what Raymond Ramcharitar talking bout in his piece, “Black Caucus, black humour?”

      2. Yoruba wrote:

        “But don’t call it “black power”, if you’re allied with a group, not just preaching, but t’iefing their way to indo ethnic dominance”.

        Daaga probably had a different definition for “Black”. He was referring to the non-white peoples of T&T who were all suffering the same fate. Your repeated references to Daaga aligning himself with the “wrong ” group once again reveal your bias and hypocritical racist leanings. Disguising yourself as some sort of religious expert messenger does not cover your true evil intent. It is hypocrisy to the highest extent.
        Also, to suggest that Indo ethnic dominance, as you put it, is the result of “t’iefing” is not only uninformed but downright belligerent and racist.

        If Indians in T&T are “dominant’, it is through hard work, perseverance, dedication to family values, devotion, ambition, pursuit of education,and entrepreneurship.

      3. The poisonous, racist drivel frequently produced by Yoruba is beginning to bore me. No genuine religious messenger would produce the vile, biased propaganda Yoruba elicits on a daily basis. Is it because his religious message fails to gain any traction?

        The dominant theme of almost every salacious attack produced by him is the delegitimizing of the achievements and existence of the Indian community of T&T.

        1. I hardly think Daaga would have considered it a triumph of his “black power” revolution that Indians should today so comprehensively dominate placements at UWI.

          The Indian Policy is what indicts and delegitimizes indo achievement, especially as it pertains to education.

          Item #6 contains the admission: “… Our SEA papers correcting groups are very strong and have been working quite well…”. (Emphasis added to show markers of tense).

          I say this is illegal. The conspirators must be rooted out and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

          Furthermore, the Government must consider carefully what ought to be done to reverse the inequity and to ensure that the inequity does not lead to a permanent inequality in the society. That would be a socially disastrous outcome. Daaga’s slogan of “Indians and Africans Unite” will not save the catastrophe that would then almost be certain.

          Such inequality is in fact a stated goal of the Indian Policy. Item #6 continues as follows:

          “…we must keep this up in order to maintain top placement and scholarships. Remember to keep UWI under close watch”. (Emphasis added).

          This states the motive, which in a word is “racial dominance”. The enterprise it has given rise to — t’iefing in SEA placements to maintain top placements through to UWI — is moreover an established and indeed to all appearances an ongoing criminal enterprise.

          The motive is stated even more clearly at Item #11:

          “We are superior to them and they must know it.”

          Therein lies the animus fueling what is a racist enterprise. The enterprise is racist because the goal is to establish (already succeeded at least as to school and university placements) a racial dominance.

          If such dominance is achieved through “hard work” and etc., it is possible to argue that it was fairly achieved, and is not the consequence of a racist conspiracy. That is why Tman *must* claim the result that we observe to be due to “hard work” or “superior DNA”. That is why Tman must spew the nonsense that perhaps the “Negro” is “differently abled”, and the education system should be redesigned to channel the “Negro” elsewhere than into the top academic streams, e.g. music and sports.

          NO! What needs to be done is to expose and prosecute the architects of this monstrous racist conspiracy aimed in the brahminist hindu way of achieving full spectrum indo dominance of the society.

          I use the term “racist” in its precise meaning, as the adjective describing a system or doctrine of *oppression* based on race. The scheme is to achieve and then maintain dominance by means foul or otherwise. The model is brahminist caste/colour based oppression. It is a viable model, as it was established in India ca. 400 AD and is still going strong. But we don’t want it here.

          This is not “delegitimizing the achievements and existence of the ‘Indian’ community”. This is carefully and surgically drawing attention to a monstrous, and real, conspiracy.

          If it was all a lot of animus but otherwise a whole lot of nothing, I would not be concerned. I really don’t care if Sat doesn’t want his blood and bone mingled with the “Negro”. That is his right if he so feels. But when he uses his control of the SDMS schools, which under the Concordat obtain subventions from the state, to appoint “SEA papers correcting groups” tasked with a sectarian objective of maintaining top placement for ‘Indian’ pupils, I have a problem.

          Our fragile democracy was established on a non-racial principle, to which I adhere, of “here ev’ry creed and race finds an equal place”. It is my regrettable conclusion that there are strong elements of an “Indian” sectarian minority that reject that article of the Independence social contract, and are by foul means seeking to attain and maintain “Indian” ethnic dominance over those they derogatively call “niggas”. The term “Indian” in preference to “indo-Trini” is in itself significant.

          The Indian Policy has clearly achieved some of its objectives, hence the overwhelmingly indo admissions to UWI medical and engg schools — I’m sure Law also based on anecdotal evidence — to the clear detriment of the “Negro”.

          Therefore, it is incumbent upon the present administration to stop this monstrous conspiracy in its tracks, and take steps to roll back if not quite correct the injustice it has brought about.

          Otherwise, I fear for what lies down the road for this country.

          May the Most High expose the miscreants in this matter, and give wisdom to our leaders that as a country we may find a peaceful solution to this racial conflict that has been foisted upon us by those with delusions of superiority.

          I withhold my peace from Tman and those of his sectarian ilk that reflexively scream racism when it is *their* racist toes that are being stepped upon, but to all others I say


          “Thus saith thy Lord Yahweh, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again: But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.” (Isaiah 51:22-23)

          1. Have you yet found the origin and author of “The Indian Policy”?
            Has it occurred to you that this document is a mischievous electioneering tool used by the PNM desperadoes to win the last election? Do you know that it was circulated by PNM agents on social media during the last campaign? Do you know that it was never mentioned by PNM candidates or the PM elect during the campaign?

            Stop using the success of the Indian population as a rationalization for the failures of the Afro community by imputing improper motives by the so-called Indian Policy. That false narrative has run its course. I also discount the theory that the Afro community in T&T is somehow being left behind. The evidence is to the contrary because the Afro community seems to be doing quite well.

          2. Your comprehension of learning disabilities is sadly lacking. The Learning Disabled is NEVER incapable of or excluded from academic learning. The contrary is true. Most learning disabled students are highly intelligent, but deficient in limited areas which hinder their conventional acquisition of knowledge. An education system which recognizes this fact caters to this type of student by providing psychoeducational evaluations and follow-up individual learning plans. T&T is not there yet and shows an unwillingness to get there. It is scientifically proven through valid and reliable research in specific North American school districts that the incidence of learning disabilities is higher in minority groups.
            Many diagnosed Learning Disabled students have been tracked throughout their academic lives and the evidence shows that they have become doctors, lawyers etc. provided with the appropriate learning adaptations, the future goals of the learning disabled are limitless.

          3. Yoruba wrote:

            “The Indian Policy is what indicts and delegitimizes indo achievement, especially as it pertains to education.”

            The suggestion that somehow the results of the SEA are fixed by marking “groups” shows a complete lack of understanding of the marking process.

          4. Yoruba’s energy would be better spent investigating the true reasons why his community ,as he implies, is failing. I am not convinced that it is.
            Scapegoating Indians is not going to solve his problem.
            We are not “guests” in the land of our birth.

  2. Has it occurred to you that this document is a mischievous electioneering tool used by the PNM desperadoes to win the last election? Do you know that it was circulated by PNM agents on social media during the last campaign?

    No, I don’t know. Pray tell. Cite the social media links to prove your assertion.

    The earliest link I’ve so far found to the Indian Policy is one week *after* the election, Sep 15 2015; see here. Moreover it claims the source of the document (print copy) to be a UWI student to whom it was circulated.

    The idea that the PNM fabricated and circulated that document as a dirty-tricks election ploy is ludicrous on its face. Certainly it never figured in any election campaigning. What kind of dirty trick is it that does not see the light of day until after the election it is intended to influence?

    No. The evidence on its face points exactly to a post-election cobbling together by an “Indian” telling his sectarian compatriots what to do to *regain* power. A PNM dirty-trick fabrication would hardly so frame the document’s starting premise. See

    Item #2: “Our people must undermined (sic) this nigga government from within the ministries and work assiduously in collecting and disseminating information to our personnels (sic). This is very important for our return to office…” (Emphasis added)

    Obviously, a PNM dirty tricks fabrication would not contain such a line before the election. An “Indian” source likewise would not put such a line in before the election.

    Therefore, only a post-election composition is possible for this document.

    A PNM fabrication within the first eight days after the election is a theoretical possibility — a dirty trick playing a long game. This is very remote, as it doesn’t at all fit the “Negro” psyche.

    That leaves the document to be exactly what it purports to be on its face: an “Indian” document laying out an “Indian” agenda to recapture a lost government, and in any case to maintain a long-standing agenda of achieving and maintaining “Indian” racial dominance.

    This fits also the “Indian” psyche. For we have it on record that FEM Hosein of the East Indian National Congress (ethnic forerunner of the United National Congress) stated long ago the “Indian” goal (or at the least some notion of “manifest destiny”) of owning Trinidad “in the field, in the office, and in the shop”. I myself am 2nd-hand witness to agitation in this regard: an indo childhood friend let the cat out of the bag when he told us what the pundits were telling the indo families on the street where my family spent time as I was growing up: buy land, for “he who owns the land owns the country”. It also fits the various pronouncements of one Sat Mahar, head of the very same SDMS that controls schools involved in preparing students for the SEA examination.

    In the light of all this, I will continue to give short shrift to the hypothesis you propose of a PNM dirty-tricks election gimmick prior to the last election. I also give short shrift to the hypothesis of a PNM dirty-tricks election gimmick, looking forward to 2020!, produced in the week after the 2015 election. This is too absurd.

    No. The document is exactly what it purports to be on its face. The “Indian” sectarian leadership is the culprit. There is no other credible candidate. In practice this means the UNC cabal joined at the hip with Sat’s SDMS.

    I also discount the theory that the Afro community in T&T is somehow being left behind.

    That is disingenuous. For every year during the last Government, we were treated to triumphant reporting about the winning “Indian” SEA pupils. The statistical odds against this total indo domination of the results were and remain astronomical. As I said, the indo is not that smart, and the “Negro” is not that stupid. Take away the exam results, and there is no evidence of any such gap as to relative racial gifts and talents. The only reasonable hypothesis to explain such domination is t’iefing. That is exactly what is admitted in the Indian Policy. The motive is there, going back to FEM Hosein. The means is there, given the SDMS schools would be the source of some of the “SEA papers correction groups”. And the opportunity is present along with the means, certainly.

    The suggestion that somehow the results of the SEA are fixed by marking “groups” shows a complete lack of understanding of the marking process.

    You are welcome to try and disabuse me. I give you all the rope you require. You are doing a good job so far of hanging yourself.

    Your comprehension of learning disabilities is sadly lacking. The Learning Disabled…(rest of this nonsense snipped)

    Disingenuous. Wearing your newly acquired liberal atheist cap, you allowed as how “Negro” students may simply be differently abled, and the education system needed to be redesigned, doing away with the Concordat amongst other nice-sounding liberal things, in order better to serve the backwards “Negro” pupils. You were making an equation between “Negro” and “differently abled”. Now you claim to be talking about “learning disabled” in general.

    Consider Item #6 of the Indian Policy:

    “Education is the key to success, so our teachers must focus their attention on our students and forget the rest…”.

    Do you think that non-indo pupils might end up categorized as “learning disabled” under such policy? This is not a theoretical question. There are actual examples of such willful and indeed criminal neglect perpetrated by indo teachers upon non-indo pupils. I recall a Fatima College example involving an Add. Maths teacher. I recall another example involving a Primary School in I believe Tableland, that Cudjoe inquired into for a time.

    So your suggestion that the “Afro community seems to be doing quite well” is baseless and contrary to the evidence of all the indo pupils, all for some reason giving the “thumbs-up” sign, comprehensively trouncing the “Negro” students from year to year. And to top it off, we have the indo students constituting the vast majority in the UWI professional schools. In 1970 it was not so.

    What happened? The Indian Policy is what happened. T’iefing in SEA. T’iefing in UWI Admissions. And that is what is documented. Dig a little deeper, and there will be found, I’m willing to bet, t’iefing also in appointments. I do not myself know what has gone on, but the idea that UWI has morphed into HUWI is not mere mauvais langue.

    The pattern is well established and well known. Need I bring to mind all the firings of people that looked PNM when the previous government took office. It happened within Petrotrin also, and of that I have personal knowledge. That was the backstory to the “Petrosingh” jibe. That was not PNM (read “Negro”) racism, nor PNM bad-mind. That was a reaction to the Indian Policy playing itself out, remorselessly, from institution to institution. The goal is full-spectrum indo racial dominance in T&T. It has been unfolding for a long time.

    And it is time for it to stop!

    May they that tempt the Most High, — He that hateth oppression, — by seeking to oppress His people, be exposed, and made to feel His wrath.

    I withhold my peace from you as you try without honour to lie and deceive your way out of this, but to others I say as usual


    “Thus saith thy Lord Yahweh, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again: But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.” (Isaiah 51:22-23)

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