Race and Tribal Consciousness

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
December 18, 2016

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI wish to continue the discussion Keith Subero started in his two excellent articles of December 5 and 12. I agreed with many things he said. Some points are worthy of closer examination.

Subero interpreted the UNC’s performance at the local elections as a coming together of “tribal members, anticipating a threat, or an economic opportunity, to make it a moral duty to band together” (“T&T Caught in-Betweenity”).

He described Trinbagonians as being “caught in the modernization process, moving from its rural agricultural base, to building world-class energy enclaves.” However, he sees Africans, particularly those on the East-West corridor, as having lost “many of their cultural traits,” which are being “replaced by individualism.”

Africans have been “left denuded by slavery, and without even realizing it, are economically limp and psychologically adrift today.” In other words, slavery has stripped us “bare” of all “cultural covering, possession, or assets,” which is what the term “denude” means.

UNC followers (meaning mostly Indians), in spite of the party’s corruption, “will band together regardless, giving them their tribal support.”

This conclusion does not account for the fact that the PNM (primarily Africans) was successful in the last general elections and previous elections. If Subero’s contention is true, the PNM can never hope to win another election.

Translated: the Indians remain tribal and band together; the Africans, denuded by their historical past, have evolved as “individualists,” each looking out for himself. One would have thought modernization was intended to produce precisely that effect: individuals liberated from the thralldom of groupthink. I thought Max Weber’s theory of modernization increases the autonomy of the individual who becomes the fundamental unit of society, which constitutes progress. In this context, Africans are moving in a predictable, progressive direction.

I cannot accept Subero’s conclusion that our thrust toward “individualism,” presumably a bad thing in his view, makes us psychologically adrift.

Neither do I accept that all Indians are in the same boat, actuated by the same motive-that of acting to prevent a threat against their collective survival.

Hinduism, a feudal religion of several strands, demands allegiance of its followers. That does not make its followers tribal; it makes them narrowly myopic. The same is true of Takfirr, a strand of Islam, that asks its followers to commit atrocities in its name.

Muslims have supported the PNM from its inception in 1956. There has always been historical antagonism between the Muslims and Hindus. The former is a monotheistic religion, the latter a polytheistic religion. This religious divide may account for the Muslim support of the PNM and the Hindu support of UNC which has its origin in the People’s Democratic Party which was led by Badase Maraj, former head of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha.

Conclusion: The political behavior of the Muslims and Hindus are driven more by religion than tribalism.

I do not accept that Africans, denuded by slavery, “are economically limp and psychologically adrift today.” This must mean slavery passed over several generations before it lay its deadening claws on the present generation.

From about 1850 to 1900 the predominant groups in T&T were whites and French Creoles. Between 1900 and 1956 Africans, particularly those on the East-West corridor and on San Fernando High Street did relatively well. During that period, most of the professionals-doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, masons, carpenters, nurses, policemen, and teachers-were Africans.

PNM built its base upon an African middle and working class that had a good psychological opinion of themselves. Even in formal education, Africans did better than Indians. Slavery, then, was a distant memory even though it impacted upon our psychological behavior.

If Africans were relatively progressive between 1900 and 1956 what happened to them between 1956 and 2017?

Subero is not prepared to ask this fundamental question. He is prepared to interpret the election results as “a print out of the flimsy conditions [of] our socio-psychological make-up” and appeals to Carl Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious to explain black psychological behavior. He does a similar thing in “Thin Line for Dr. Rowley.”

Allow me to disagree. While Jung was insightful on the nature of the collective unconscious, Franz Fanon, a Caribbean man, is the more reliable psychoanalyst with regard to the behavior of the oppressed. Black Skin, White Masks, a psychoanalytical tour de force, offered the most penetrating look at what he calls the black inferiority complex. He says: “Freud and Adler and even the cosmic Jung did not think of the Negro in all their investigations.”

If there was any confusion about this point, he adds: “European civilization is characterized by the presence of what Jung calls the collective unconscious, of an archetype: an expression of the bad instincts, of the darkness inherent in every ego, of the uncivilized savage, the Negro who slumbers in every white man…. Personally I think that Jung has deceived himself.” Fanon was correct.

Subero offers a superb starting point for a discussion on the black condition. He opens many doors we need to enter before we can answer his questions.

Professor Cudjoe’s email address is scudjoe@wellesley.edu. He can be reached @ProfessorCudjoe.

16 thoughts on “Race and Tribal Consciousness”

  1. I believe the author lives on the surface of things when deep down within the souls of the nation of all our peoples, the truth is just plain disgusting to accept to say the least. They lie and lie and now we have no real history of how we became and so we cannot goeth as we remain stuck in the mud of yesterday….with no creators, no mentors, no artists, no scientists etc. The poor people in T&T are NOW plain scared and will now suck up to almost anything thrown at them in order to survive. The laws do not serve the justice needs of the people. The 50 billion TT budgets over 10 years now are a complete waste to us all. $50 murders are posted for 2016 so far and this tells the tale of the jokers in government. The current crop of Parliamentarians and Senators are poor in performance margins regarding the needs of the entire nation. Listening to these leaders lie to all of us shows how spineless they are. WE SEE RESUMES WITH ENDLESS DETAILS BUT NO PERFORMANCES ON TASKS DONE. ITS SICKENING. ANYWAY, your article has no depth to it….simply most of it is baseless hearsay. You know it shows how poor in all areas we have become since the days of people like Wooding, ….CLR James etc. As the priest says Slavery is sins committed a long time ago…or as I have expanded …sins lavished on us by our slave masters that we just cannot overcome. These sins are of sex and pure greed and push backs to all of us. The boom years have seen housing climb in Westmoorings from a mere $15000 to $5 million from 1975 to 2016…in 40 plus years. And the strangeness of this the “all ah we thief PNM Ministers of then and now” stole together pennies compared to the trillions stolen by cheap nasty greedy white foreign concerns that have ripped off our country over the same 40 plus years. Amoco stole in 5 short years 600 Billion US dollars. Other third nations that suffered the same from the likes of Donald Trump, Koch brothers etc. have come a much longer way forward than us. The Jews have moved on since Hitler. The Shiite Muslims in Iran have moved on. Even the Jamaicans and Bajans have moved on. But we remain stuck in the mud. Yet the Uncle Tom blacks among us continue to keep our people down for a few pieces of silver. We must understand the nature of this gross problem. We now need a huge undertaking to solve these problems they have created over 40 plus years…..especially now that the precariats and the millenials these youth groups are now loudly sending very negative messages to the people in the know and our leaders. Of course some of these leaders are people who are a complete waste of time and money but they are all powerful, serving nobody and are now in charge. They have no answers but are most there to eat a food…pure selfies….interested only in the advancement of their family and friends. But God is a good God and time will come when these like Manning will be totally erased…. remember early 2010…gone in a flash…ye foolish man according to Benny Hinn….as he thought he was as good as God until this very rare blood disorder erased him…How Power destroys!

  2. This is an interesting topic. The African presence and progress in Trinidad and Tobago offer many an interpretation, that at times might seem to offer conflicting psychological insights. At the outset I notice that Dr. Cudjoe does not see African “individualism” as threatening to his advancement, while at the same time, according to him Keith Subero seems to think that it is. This point can be argued from both perspectives with equally persuasive arguments to sustain each point. One can argue that “individualism” without collective insights is a dangerous condition for African advancement. The other argument can offer a liberal and unselfish view of the African as not beholden to any tribal or racial constraints.

    Most of our progress were borne out of our struggles to liberate and uplift ourselves. The Africans, from our landing on the western shores to the struggles to be fairly remunerated for our labor, have always fought for basic rights and dignity. It is the collective need to maintain that thrust, that have allowed us to have some degree of association and means of identification.
    The Indians on the other hand never had to struggle for this type of identification. Religion and race have always been the binding factor that kept the Indian as a collective and tribal force. In this respect, I guess that I’m fun agreement with Keith Subero that the Indian is tribal and not myopic as stated by Dr. Cudjoe. Culture is a commanding habit that keep people together. The Indians had unmitigated hold on their culture, while the Africans were stripped of the habits of their foreparents. Out of necessity we had to band together to accomplish any freedom or power that we may have earned. By the same token, we are more apt to disavow our leaders’ performance
    when they are not up to there task than say the Indian. No matter how good or how bad the Indian will never turn his back on promoting his culture or representation. All one has to do to confirm this is to look at the last local elections. The motives of their leader, Kamla Persad Bissessar remains questionable when viewed from a national perspective, but she is always assured of support from that community in spite of her short sightedness. The reason for this is because the Indian is assured by mere commonality that she will deliver for them no matter what conditions that might exist. The African is more skeptical. In areas where thePNM won, turnout by African voters were much lower in percentage than than that of the Indian.

    The Indian has a strong sense of trade and commerce and realists that it is an important factor to sustain progress. On the other hand Africans are yet to come to terms with supporting commerce as a means to building a community. Everywhere the Africans predominate commerce has to be sustained by another from outside of the African community. This is where “individualism” is most at its disadvantage. It weakens the strength and unity of the African while that strength is imbedded in the culture of the Indian.

    As for the political divide of the muslims and hindus, I am not sure that that divide is as prominent as stated by Dr. Cudjoe. It certainly was evident in the early days of party politics.
    The African (or PNM) was more amenable to include the muslim than say the hindu. The hindu religion is structurally caste and racist in its manifestations of identity. Because of this the muslims were not accepted as brothers of the same identity.
    Over the years racial politics and an affinity for cultural sameness, that division appears to be loosing its appeal and as such a commonality is continually developing between the hindu and the muslim. Panday and Bissessar have been able to lessen the divide even though the muslim is yet to be given prominence in the political culture of the hindu. Take for example, the Panday administration and the Bissesar administration is yet to propel a muslim to near leadership of the party or command strong leadership within the UNC. But they have been successful in getting the muslim to identify with the UNC.

    Both Dr. Cudjoe and Keith Subero have hit on interesting comparisons but I believe that there is still a lot to explore in understanding the great divide and consciousness of the African and Indian within our society. This is an open subject matter and there are many and varied discussions that can be relevant in understanding where we stand as a nation. One thing is sure, the country is becoming less rural and more urbanized. It is left to be seen where cultural habits of the rural dwellers will subside in favor or a more urbanized standard of life.

    Great topic!!!!!!

  3. This Subero hombre,”sees Africans, particularly those on the East-West corridor, as having lost “many of their cultural traits,” which are being “replaced by individualism……Africans have been “left denuded by slavery, and without even realizing it, are economically limp and psychologically adrift today……UNC followers (meaning mostly Indians), in spite of the party’s corruption, “will band together regardless, giving them their tribal support. Translated: the Indians remain tribal and band together; the Africans, denuded by their historical past, have evolved as “individualists,” each looking out for himself. ” Doc

    Well Doc , it’s no breaking news ,that Africans in T&T, unlike their Indian counterparts, have deviated away, from traditions as practiced by their ancestors back in the Motherland. One does not need a Phd in Sociology ,from de University of ,Chicago , to figure out that Slavery played a significant role, in shaping the characteristics of most African folks , who escaped Africa.
    After all Doc , Afro Trinis ,don’t practiced genital mutilation -a common habit in East Africa-here, do they?
    Last I checked ,Child Solders, was not the norm,as leaders in Central, and West Africa adore.
    Virgin Cleansing , a barbarian habit ,as done in Mandela , and President Zuma ,AIDS riddled South Africa, is not something that Afro Trinis , indulge in either.
    Our African leaders, do not try to tinker with our Constitution , at the drop of a hat , so as to stay in power forever ,as political cretins , such as Zimbabwe’s Mugabe, Uganda’s Museveni , and Kabila ,of Congo, have done repeatedly.
    Better yet , when they loose office , they walk off into the sunset, and die peacefully , unlike places such as Gambia’s Jammeh .
    They do not have this obsession with Military Coups,another common habit in places such as Nigeria, Burundi ,Equatorial Guinea , and Burkina Faso.
    Historically, from 1962 to present , they have shown themselves to be quite tolerant of other rivaling tribes/ races , and ethnic groups , and as the record would indicate vividly, have done everything in their power, to ensure ,that all thrive- even at the expense of their own people- who they choose instead, to take for granted.
    Yeah Doc ,and Slavery is the real reason for that,the majority of the ugly , Afro ancestral habits , were removed .
    As for our allegedly ,’more civilized, Indo Trini -not so White as they think dey are -cousins, ‘well… , that’s a totally different reality, for when Indentured Laborers, decided to come to T&T , Guyana, Fuji , and most of East/ South Africa to seek fortune , they did so willingly , and kept all their good ,and bad, Cultural traditions,and habits.
    Need we still try to understand ,why our still underachieving T&T, appears- to the uneducated eyes- to be so ungovernable, and always locked in political gridlock?
    How is that , economic transparency ,anti corruption plan going people? We know , 9 , 10 13, 14, and 16 years olds will be forced into married in La Trinity , long into the future , since the competing tribes , won’t get it together , and why. We know why the Privy Council , will be our final court of Appeal until Princess Mikila Panday ,and Kamla grandson,both have grand kids, and why.
    Afro Trinis can use as a the excuse of Slavery , to explain aways , most of his modern day social maladies that still hinders his people from fully excelling, but pray someone, tell us what is the excuse of the Indo Trinis ?
    Well here it is , I just did that, and for the record , all aren’t doing grate , or have the acts together.
    You were quite generous , in trying to make a distinction between Islam , and Hinduism ,as it relates to the Indo Trini population, but that’s where we both part company- as the high suicides rate, and beat down of the poor – especially women , and children, in their community ,would indicate.
    Let’s just remember Doc, that Islam ,and we can throw in Christianity , were religions of conquest, in both Africa, and South Asia. Hinduism , was the religion of all Indians in India ,prior to Colonization , by the White Man,and fragmentation into Pakistan,and Bangladesh.
    Those that weren’t forced to become members-the majority of
    which were of darker hue- made a prudent choice ,to escape the ugliness, of a class discriminatory, Caste System, which incidentally, is alive ,and kicking ,especially today.
    What African peoples need Doc, is more ‘LEARNED folks,’ of African descent, who are willing to explore, the various issues ,and problems that has negatively impacted them as a collective, then try to reeducate,and guide those willing to obtain authentic liberation- if a win/ win outcome , is the end game. Can’t have others define who they are, or worst yet, interpret their history.
    There are those delusional ,unmentionable blokes of rivaling tribes, who naively think , they elevate their own status , by using every opportunity , to denIgrate African folks.
    In like manner, as there are the self hating , opportunistic African bastards , who believe , that by trying to draw a distinction between themselves , and those still stuck in that unfortunate ,socio economic quagmire/ the lower echelons of society, this would somehow , make them more appreciated by those , they seek to impress- the latter of which , is only prepared to use, then abruptly discard, as soiled toilet paper , that has served it’s purpose.
    An excellent , thought provoking article ,indeed Doc. Keep up the good work,
    Franz Fanon, and Marx Webber? Good stuff. Yep , more emerging political , and civic leaders, with a better grasp , of the various Social Sciences, can produce huge dividends,for all.

  4. Keith Subero column. ‘Thin Line for Dr. Rowley’….


    Left me with the feeling the Mr. Subero is still holding out with hope that Dr. Rowley will deliver…

    I can remember as a child, my Shango Baptist neighbor ‘Tanty’ had a thanksgiving… Memories of that event left me with a strong belief that there is a ‘spirit world’..

    As much as we questioned Mr. Manning, one can assume that he acknowledge that there are spiritual forces in ‘high and low’ places.. Maybe, that is why he refused to occupy the PM residence until Mr. Panday removed that ‘Shiva Lingam’ from it’s space..
    The Question is, does Dr. Rowley have that awareness…
    They say after Dr. Rowley went down to the Nagar on Diwali night (Some say that he was given a chain to wear by the Pundits)… The next day, he replaced African in his now infamous cabinet reshuffle…

    Maybe it is time to look beyond Dr. Rowley….


  5. Kian’s analysis is quite accurate. Recently, identifying with the Indian community overall has become much more important than identification as a Hindu, Muslim or Christian.
    I also notice that Indians are comfortable with the multi-faith concept as long as only Indians are involved, whether it’s marriage or community support.
    The younger generation of Indians, professionals especially, are also quite adept and comfortable straddling all religions and have adapted at their convenience, to the more urbanized Trinidad culture. They have mastered the art of practising the religious affiliations of their parents, Hindu, Muslim or Christian, along with popular, Afro-Trinidad urbanized culture.
    The Indian is goal oriented and at the top of the list is financial success and education. One of the motivators in Indian families is to create the conditions whereby the next generation will be more educated and wealthy. A silent driving force in Indian culture is to “leave something” for the next generation and self sacrifices are made to achieve such goals.
    It is true that Africans once dominated the professions and skilled occupations and were the most qualified for political and leadership roles in the community. I am not sure that the decline mentioned by Subrero is as severe as many believe. There is still a strong, educated and financially secure middle class and rural African community succeeding in T&T.
    I also believe that the perpetuation of the traditional system of education is contributing to failing schools in African dominated communities.

  6. Hey Ram K, if your Kamla , and her mentor Basdeo, had Sat and his Nagair gods / benefited from praying to their colorful flags , re their tenuous ,political successes , and fake Christian ,Patrick Manning, depended on his extremely close , Afro Shouter Baptist ,female friend, for survival, then Dr. Keith, would do just fine , with his always reliable , dear Uncle , in Tobago Papa Nizza.
    The question really is- who does Princess Mickala Panday believe in / has allegiance to , as she seek political fame and fortunes?
    Unfortunately, dat’s ‘you alze,’sole hope ,for defeating the Mason Hall Kid, and his ‘Red ,& Ready Gang ,’ over the next 3 decades, for as we know , we might quicker see , a flying Maracas, or Sande Grande Donkey , fly over the Chase Village floating Temple , than another Panday family, as PM in this country- especially one who, along with her grateful Scotland based hermana, got a free education, via the hard working CLICO shareholders, lost benefits.

    Don’t worry, for Dr Keith will do just fine. His trump card , is de still politically clueless lightweight ,power mongrel , that his Kamla.

    1. Neal, “Don’t worry, for Dr Keith will do just fine. His trump card , is de still politically clueless lightweight ,power mongrel , that his Kamla.”

      I guess maybe you like being ABUSED, Neal?
      But here… We need to revisit this story in The Express to get a sense of ‘reality’…

      -Rohan’s ‘big people party’ *
      Rowley, Jack, Ish among those in attendance…
      Published on Dec 12, 2015, 7:49 pm AST
      By Asha Javeed and ⦁ Denyse Renne

      PRIME Minister Dr Keith Rowley says he did nothing wrong by attending a party hosted by his deputy political leader in which corruption-accused Jack Warner and businessman Ishwar Galbaransingh were in attendance.-


      It meant little on Dec 12 2015… well, almost, after over 30,000 people marched in the streets of POS against section 34 and Ish and Steve …Remember?


      But when, ‘The Mason-hall Kid decided (Or was it his decion?) to bring in Sinanan as Min of Works…. It sent off a bunch of bells and whistles with shades of Zuptas dilemma in South Africa..

      Zombies ah tell yuh…

      1. “I guess maybe you like being ABUSED, Neal?” RamK
        Tell you what folks, it’s de season to be jolly, and so ,with dat in mind, I won’t swing my symbolic sledge hammer , so as to take off the knees ,of this guy RamK, who ‘me think,’ is ‘testing my patience,’as we like to say on de streets.
        Please someone ,tell this comedian wannabe , RamK, for me , dat 1986, was the 1st ,and last time , I ever voted in this country- and we know how that idiot experiment worked out , don’t we?
        Yep, and once Basdeo , with the help of the Castaria Kid ANR , defeated Chambers, and got all that he wanted ,as co – PM , he decided , that the only thing that could make him fully happy, was if PM Robbie ,also throw in his dear wife Margaret , and innocent daughter,into the brew , where he can have a glass of wine ,3 days per week,with dem both , in a private Hotel , on a special table, of his choice in Couva- if he ANR , was to receive full Political allegiance from the sly fox Basdeo.
        Enter stage right, Yasin Abu Bakr,” attack with full force, ” followed by bogus discrimination claims/ refugee status request , by well coached ,members of de disgruntled tribe- which destroyed the political Alliance.
        I therefore, owe no allegiance to any PM alive , or dead in dis country Ram K, neither do I want anything from either of the 3 still alive.
        As such , de Mason Hall Kid/ Papa Nizza,dear nephew ,Dr K, or the two ex PM’s , are in no position to abuse yours truly- trust me on that.
        What’s dat , in contrast, everything that Basdeo ,and Kamla did ,was good for every citizen in T&T, and so abused was never a factor, during their excellent stewartships? Yeah, I get that .
        It’s why I differ from some of you – unmentionable – rabid, tribal , neo apologists cretins , who traverse dis her Trini Center Information Highway, pretending to be objective, even as you have your fangs , firmly affixed, on de rear ends, of self serving political bums-in and out of power- you hope can take ‘you alze,’ ,’to the promised lands, and what folly?

        Now ,on to more important things,and what do we know folks,but a Rising political star , from Dr Keith’s ‘Red ,& Ready Gang,’who sadly, has a slight health setback,a mere few weeks after he was elevated to an important government post , as Minister of Energy.
        Yep, and de cynics might say , this was done, for political – local elections – expediency , at the expense of a young , feisty, female , La Brea MP , who some think , did a credible job, in the face of still plummeting oil/ gas prices. Sadly ,even as de unpaved pot holes got bigger in her ignored Constituency , she in turned , got cut up like some tasty , yet stale ,Couva Geera Pork , or Woodbrook ,Arapita Ave , Yardee Jerk wings, then thrown to the hungry family pot hounds dogs , by her PM, Dr K.
        Get well soon ,Franklyn Khan ,& a word of caution, ensure that you receive all de medical help , you can get while in South East Asia / out of this country.
        Y por que?
        I’ll tell you, the carcasses of too many citizens , were carted off into our various morgues , due in great measure , to de negligence of Opposition MP ,Dr Goopiesing’s,extremely well trained, highly professional young UWI doctors.
        If you ,friends, and the family, doubt me on that subject, then answer the , following ,rhetorical questions, if you dare- What does Basdeo Panday, Patrick Manning, and Auntie Kamla , all have in common , when it came to their health?
        Yep, not a single one ,was brave enough , to visit any of our State Health institutions , so as to get medical attention, during their time as Prime Minister,and so far Dr Keith , has followed this same trend-Take your chances with doctors abroad , who won’t have any incentive to shorten their patient life.
        Well , I see , dat you naively think , the private institutions, are much better.


        Hey Ram K , to hell with XMas, I luv dis song , Y tu? Sing along with me, mi hermano.
        “Mi partner from castara, heard about it, ..and he wrote her a letter , warning her not to do it. Jadoo in de manicou , jadoo in de coo coo, ….Jadooo in de pepper stew, Jadooo in de cascadoo, to make me coonooomooonoo, and trap me under bamboo …..jadooo in de alooo. Jadoo in de curry cue …. Yeah Ram k, and if you can’t get son in law- and we can add hold political sway , then put Jadoo in de calaloo. ”


        I’ve said it once, twice , three times my lady, but it’s worth repeating otra vEz, for the uninitiated ,to my Trini Center -cyber machinations , but ‘de person who can make me hate dis country of mine ,ain’t born yet,’ so keep giving it a shot RamK.
        Well done Grandmaster Auntie K,and it’s your Chess Move play now , Dr Keith.
        Hopefully it’s of a Gary Kasparov, or Bobby Fisher , si? Another new Government minister, seeing that this stressed out Senator needs his rest, Y ,de election is long over?
        Stay vigilant people, as not only is there snake in de Balisier, but de sun though still rising in de East , is suddenly setting in de North .

  7. Here we go another article on black victim hood. Since independence the black man has savoured the fat of the land and enjoyed the privileges of power. He has lead this oil rich nation that has the second highest GDP in the Caribbean since post colonial era. Indeed if at all he should be proud of his achievements. But we get a whining, complaining even self defeating world view.

    As the record show since the day Eric became Prime Minister all state resources went to improve the lot of the black man. The state opened its treasure chest and employed 75% Africanas to the civil service, they promoted Africans above all else, all state housing went to Africans at least over 300,000 such houses. Yes the feeding trough was set in favor of the tribalist. Any government contracts given went to the favored race, school contracts, security contracts etc. CEPEP at one time was run out of Rowley office and the sole beneficiaries were PNM supporters.

    As for corruption there could be no more a corrupt entity than the PNM. They stole billions even in Tobago there are billions unaccounted for. Every project undertaken ran into billions just in cost over runs. As an example WGTL $3.5 billion, $500 million rack rail study, Brian Lara $1.2 billion and counting. Just three projects and over $5 billion wasted. Then they like to talk about UNC corruption, the airport $1.6 bilion fully operation and have made back the money, $34 million Lifesport, the file was given to the police and they cleared the minister… Kamla acted quickly by firing and calling in the police at the hint of corruption.

  8. The argument that Africans have lost their cultural traits has some merit. But the question is: what were those traits? The cultural traits which propelled Africans to the forefront of Trinidad society were not grounded in Africa but originated in Europe and were adopted in large part by Africans in the Caribbean.
    Successful Trini-Africans were steeped in colonialism and the accompanying conditioning proved to create success, as Africans embraced the names, languages, dress, religions, education and culture of Europe.
    The gradual erosion of these colonial values began with Independence and “Massa day done.” A new set of values steeped in Black American cultural mores perpetrated the community. Succeeding generations rebelled against traditional ways and began to carve out a culture of protest, and imitation of what they considered appealing, African or American. The decline of certain sectors of the African community in terms of education and financial success was the end result.

  9. “If Africans were relatively progressive between 1900 and 1956 what happened to them between 1956 and 2017?”

    The colonial era was a time when everyone progressed. The civil service was filled with Indians, then the PNM took over in 1956 and started to promote their supporters secretly giving scholarships etc. Indians were replaced in the civil service by the master balisier plan. Adrian Cola Reinzi spoke out against it and fought to stop this blunt instrument of PNM power from snaking its way across the civil service. If an Indian was employed as a clerk in the civil service the PNM created an additional 3 clerks, now there were 4 clerks, clerk 1, 11, 111, & IV. The three clerks were PNM supporters so eventually they were the ones promoted whilst buddy was thrown off the bus. It was the work of a genius.

    Between 1956 and 2017 the great era of Africana mobility and action surged ahead of all ethnicities except the Syrians. The bourgeois class of black scholars headed by Eric, Solomon, Elis Clark, Overand Padmore, Cuthbert Joseph, Muriel Donawa McDavison, and a well oiled balisier brigade rose up to ensure PNM political power rule the day. Meanwhile the Opposition simply lend support to the PNM instead of making itself a credible alternative.

    The only reason the PNM loss power in the latter years is as a result of being “exhausted” in political office. They had no new ideas and so the Opposition assumed leadership and charted a new course. They managed to reinvent themselves and with a powerful proganda machinery aided and abetted by party hacks in the media they rose again to power.

    But what would define success for Africanas between 1956 to 2017?
    Political power was there, the PNM areas had good roads, good water supply, they had jobs despite not having a standard 3 education, all state resources were under their control even when the Opposition formed the government.

    Could it be the emergence of gangs that sullied the good name of a once proud people? Or the decline of proper role models? Yes success cannot be true success unless there is the strong emergence of a middle class. But that can only happen through hard work and meritocracy. What the PNM created due to the laws of unintended consequence was a class of people who settled for mediocracy. They were not motived to do better because they got everything they wanted, much like the lazy son who does nothing but recieves everything. As the United Negroe College states “the mind is a terrible thing to waste”.

  10. Continuing on the topic of the failure of the education system resulting in failing schools in African communities, the Minister of Education today represents all that is wrong with the system. He comes from an era of colonialism and fails to recognize the changes needed to cater to and educate a changing population. He insists on perpetuating the “industrial revolution” model long after it was abandoned by the colonial masters themselves in their own country. He has made a number of reactionary changes to the system, undoing the good, progressive work of the former ministry; for example, cancelling the continuous assessment program, reducing the special education needs program and championing the merits of outdated assessments for admission and movement within the system.
    Letter writer Peter Narcis in a letter to the Express emphasizes the correlation between education and crime, a message sent by many but ignored.
    “There appears to be a direct correlation between the education system and crime, criminality and deviant behaviour among our youth.
    The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) has determined that across the Caribbean some 60 per cent of candidates fail to attain the minimum qualification of a full certificate inclusive of Mathematics and English in any single year. It operates a two-tier system at the secondary school level but the Ministry of Education in T&T continues to take a linear or straight line approach which only caters for the gifted few at the expense of the many. Students need to have success experiences!
    By and large, it is these very students who the education system has failed who account for the vast majority now involved in crime and criminal behaviour. The chickens have come home to roost!
    Unless there is a serious adjustment in the education system in T&T, we will continue to experience the high failure rate, high drop-out rate and high incidence of crime and criminality among our youth. In addition to the two-tier system mentioned above, I am also recommending as priority the inclusion of the teaching of civics and life skills as a part of the core curriculum.
    In addition to government and politics, civics defines the rights, duties and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy, as well as the role of institutions and how they operate. The individual will then better understand and be able to better position himself in the maze of this social milieu. It will instil moral and civic virtues such as acknowledging the rights and welfare of others, social responsibility and tolerance.
    Life skills on the other hand, focus on the social and emotional development of the individual. These are the skills one needs to make the most out of life at school, at work or at play. Some personal skills are essentially the life skills we need to help maintain a healthy body and mind. These include how to manage and cope with emotions, learning about anger and stress symptoms and how to control and manage same, managing low self-esteem and building confidence and the importance of exercise in building a healthy body and mind, in addition to problem-solving skills”.

  11. It is so nice to see that someone refers to another group as narrow minded and tribal and their faith as feudal and also narrow minded.
    It is really rich and nice to know that Africans do not vote on a tribal basis – hence we have 30 years of the PNM up to 1986 and another 15 years thereafter. No Selwyn these people (the Africans) are not narrow minded, only you are.

    Someone forgot to tell you that the PNM support was built on the crossover support of East Indians: Remember Winston & Errol Mahabir, Kamal & Sham and the other Mohammeds and quite a few other people.

    People are not narrow minded because of race or religion but rather a lack of understanding of the real world that only comes with true education.

    Do not incite negativity towards a race or people due to your lack of understanding of why people vote a certain way.

    If that was the case then all the Blacks in America would be considered narrow minded for voting Barack Obama over the last 8 years.

    Before you point fingers at others and make comments – look at yourself first, it may do you a lot of good.

  12. http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,238228.html

    Take a bow winners ,for you deserve it . I’m talking about Petrotrin President ,Fitzroy Harewood,OWTU President General ,Ancil Roget,Labor Minister ,Jennifer Baptise -Primus ,& of course, who else ,but Tobago’s own,in Papa Niza ‘s -favorite Nephew ,& yea,T&T ‘s new Political Chess GrandMaster ,Dr Keith Kasparov Rowley.
    Each of these figures ,should be commended ,for their sterlin roles,in averting a lose/lose Industrial strike,that obviously ,would have had a most debilitating ,long term impact, on our already underachieving country .
    A few days ago,on another blog ,I spoke at length, about ‘Cache ,’and those who have it ,or not.
    Well,Labor Minister Jenniffer Baptiste -Primus ,proved she had it ,and Dr Keith her PM,showed that his faith in her,were well founded.
    Ancil Roget,& his Union folks ,proved they are a force to reckon with,as he stood up for the rights of his workers,yet prudently tempered his demands ,with understanding of the precarious financial state of the company.
    Petrotrin and its President Fitzroy Harewood , were put on notice- better Management guys! Unlike Papa Deffy Eric Era ,money is now a problem .
    Like an experiences Orchestra Conductor ,Dr Keith ,played his part to perfection.
    Admonishing the nation ,not to panick.Reminding Petrotrin workers,Management,and Labor leaders ,of the need for patience,and appreciation of the Globally tumultious ,economic period we are in. Diversification,is still the long term solution Mr PM!
    There were other winners too,& here they are:-
    1. All our citizens ,and overall national consumers ,who I am certain were uprepared ,for what they were about to deal with. (If you doubt me as to how terrible this can be ,then go ask Venezuela,and Brazil ,what it’s like ,to grapple withvsuch politically driven actions .)
    I’m talking about business people ,the travelling public,our vairious industrial companies ,dependent on energy. Petrotrin workers ,who would have had to deal with the ugly backlash ,along with little support from a disgusted public..
    Foreign investors ,contemplating making our T&T ,their base. The list goes on.

    2. Young Political Science majors,along with ordinary citizens ,with limited understanding of what real politics entails. Well,what better lessons.
    Competing forces ,seeking to further their self interest,having to lower the rhetoric ,communicate clearly ,’respect the other , ‘compromise/temper expectations ,yet walk away from a contentious negotiation, all feeling as if they were winners.
    3. Patroitism was a Winner,& need I say more? Selflessness is the first true testiment of patriotism,& yes ,it was on full display during the past 48 hrs. For this we are grateful.
    When Caroni workers -with support from both Political parties/respective governments – got their payments -be it cash ,& ,or lands -after decades of hard work ,as a nation ,we felt good for them ,even while demanding some equitable compensation ,some day in the near future,for African decendants of Slavery,whose ancestors, likewise worked said Sugar plantations, with no pay,or reward when Slavery ended.
    4.’Me think ,’that outside of the typical fake intellectuals/’Sunday Morning Quarterback ,’-Economics ,& Political experts ,clueless ,neo tribal Politicians , obvious ,paid Party hacks,who travese dis here Trini Center Nation Information Highway,and co -opted ,Media talking heads ,there will be that same,non partisan , patriotic spirit today,re this development.
    Good griefs ,to think that yours truly, had made this pledge ,to burn his Passport,& worsta yet ,sell my citizenship to de highest bidder ,from say Nigeria,Jamaica,Guyana,India, Cuba ,Dominican Republic ,or Venezuela ,should these folks ,be that stupid ,to drag us into an avoidable strike.
    Maybe ,I am a winner also,hmmmm?
    Stay Vigilant People!
    Long live the Republic of Toba….. oooops ..,lo seinto,T&T!

    I luv this land ,Y tu?

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