A Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN Society

By Dr. Selwyn Cudjoe
January 01, 2016

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeWHEN I was a boy I wanted to go to Queen’s Royal College (QRC), not because of its academic standing but because I loved the khaki jackets its cadets wore.

I thought it was cool as I imagined myself in that uniform.

Years later I learned about its academic excellence when Eric Williams returned to Trinidad as one of its most famous graduates.

Today QRC wishes to expand its facilities.

My good friend Maxie Cuffie says the premises on Alexandra Street, which the Ministry of Education vacated recently, are earmarked for a police post, albeit temporary.

QRC stakeholders consider the building and location ideal for the expansion of the college.

Such expansion, they feel, will add to the college’s greatness.

The government does not seem to agree.

Established as Queen’s Collegiate School in 1859, the college moved to its present location in 1904.

Over its 157 years of existence, it has produced world-class citizens in all walks of life.

However, in our Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN society such an accomplishment is not worthy of pride.

Little in our society is worthy of pride.

We say we are shocked by the killings and gradual brutalisation of our citizens, but few of us connect this brutalisation to our gradual diminishment as a people.

When nothing matters, nothing is worthy of respect.

CLR James is a QRC old boy.

In his semi-autobiographical “Beyond a Boundary”, he speaks of English public school values his teachers brought with them from England.

Most of them were graduates of English public schools who were educated at Cambridge and Oxford universities.

James also referenced “Culture and Anarchy”, Matthew Arnold’s masterpiece on culture in which Arnold identified one characteristics of the cultured person as knowing “the best which has been thought and said in the world”.

Thomas Arnold, Matthew’s father, was headmaster at Rugby, another major public school in England.

Some of these values were bequeathed to QRC pupils.

Last summer I spent many months at London’s Harrow School for Boys, another major public school that goes back to 1572.

It is a high school that educated seven of Britain’s prime ministers.

I was interested in the school because the subject of my study, William Hardin Burnley, the biggest slave owner in Trinidad, went to school there.

The building in which he studied is still there.

I was fortunate.

The school authorities allowed me to visit the room in which Burnley sat when he went to school in 1793–95.

The building remains intact.

The birching stool, the birching cupboard and an original birch are still there, all preserved for posterity and inquiring eyes such as mine.

Even St Mary’s Anglican, the parish church in which Burnley and his fellow pupils worshipped, is still there.

It was built in 1094.

I also visited and prayed in that church.

We are a New World society.

To some of us, nothing really matters.

Everything is every thing and nothing is precisely that: no-thing.

“Drink as you mad; dis is Trinidad; we don’t care who say we mad.”

This is part of the folklore.

We are a happy, go-lucky people.

Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN and then “Break-away.”

Party hearty.

The only requirement: One only has to be “Drunk and Disorderly”.

Therefore, when a statesman of Reggie Dumas’s stature writes the Minister of Education, he is not worthy of a response.

This is a man who Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations, sent to Haiti as his personal representative.

But we have to brek him down too, because in this Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN society, respect is an ancient virtue.

No wonder even the “gangsters” are crying out for respect.

In Trinidad, everyone must be boiled down to bhajee.

VS Naipaul, another QRC old boy, described this tendency vividly in “The Middle Passage”.

Williams, a man of culture, was perceptive enough to give Naipaul a grant to write this sociological masterpiece.

Given this history, I am not sure how to respond to the imbecility, discourtesy and backwardness that have been generated around the competing claims of a police post and the need to respect and honour tradition, a paramount virtue.

It is as if to suggest a police post holds the same magnitude of importance as a 157-year-old national monument.

A few weeks ago that iconic house in world history from which James watched Matthew Bondman’s graces as a cricketer on the Tunapuna Savannah was demolished.

Not a word, neither from the government nor the citizens, was heard. The intellectual community did not even squeak.

A “Subway” shop replaced James’s house.

Two centuries ago, on seeing a louse on an aristocratic lady’s bonnet, Robert Burns wrote: “O wad some Power the giftie gie us/To see oursels as ithers see us!” Translated from the Scots language, these lines read: “And will some Power give us the gift/To see ourselves as others see us!”

When will some Power grant us the gift to see ourselves as others see us: a Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN, Brek-AWAY society with pretensions towards civility.

11 Responses to “A Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN Society”

  • A splendid piece of writing which touches at the heart of everything that is wrong in T&T.
    The key word in the conclusion, “pretensions” points to the core of the Trini society but also characterizes the dysfunctional personality profiles of so many Trinidadians.
    The irony of this situation is that the Education minister is a product of the past colonial education system which he strongly and mistakenly advocates and is obviously threatened by expansion and progressive changes.
    Our inability to Build-up is responsible for the economic predicament in which we find ourselves, and worst of all, our current leadership on both sides of the divide is totally bankrupt of innovative, smart and progressive ideas to lift our country out of its downward spiral.

  • “But we have to brek him down too, because in this Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN society, respect is an ancient virtue.”

    We no longer live in a values base society. The sad reflection in our crime statistics, attack on children and the elderly. Going down the moral death trap that has taken nations into the abyss seems to be our portion.
    There was always been a faint hope that the Trinidad in which we grew up under strict moral codes would be a model nation. Blessed with wealth and a respect for the rules that makes for a civil society.

    Unfortunately we see a society in decline. Last year that decline became more obviously with several police, and former police and army officers guardians of security boldly engaged in criminal behaviours of the agregious kind. What can we say when professionally trained criminals turn to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting almost docile population. Yes fish rot from the head down.

    The breakdown of the family is central to the decline. Sadly it can only get worst from there on.

  • A heck of a lot of memories here. In 1967 the Ministry of Education (Alexandra St.) organized someone to meet me at Heathrow from the High Commission in London, England (located at 57 South Audley St. before moving on to 42 Belgrave Sq. later on). Seeing no one I took a taxi (3 pounds 10 shillings) to the High Commission and the response I received; was they know nothing about me and they escorted me with my 2 suitcases to the roadway. The High Commisioner at the time was Andrew Rose. It took an English woman who must have seen agony on my face, referred me to the British Council in Hans Crescent and it was from there I made headway for the next 12 years securing my academic qualifications all on my own. During the early years I applied for a scholarship (Alexandra St.) and was rejected but the strangest thing was someone else’s application including the photograph of someone else was returned to me under my name. May I add a few weeks later I saw some T&T nationals (including some island schol winners at LSE) featured in a newspaper at a cocktail circuit with Andrew Rose who hosted such). Peter Clarke may remember this event as well.

    The point I am bringing forward is tribal politics played a part then as it is still making a play today. That is what pretensions do to you as NAR was setting about to undo only to have tribalism causing the brek down civil society of T&T. The basis of this is the lack of respect for one another. Great article Selwyn.

    • I knew Andrew Rose tangentially and not that well, through an in-law. But from my read of the man and his character, I doubt very much he would have done what you imply.

      I also was the beneficiary of a national scholarship (1969), and knew personally several others. The indo beneficiaries that I knew of — in 1969 and in the immediately prior years — for sure did not suffer tribal discrimination. One I know of went away, got his qualification, and returned to take up a post with Trintopec before it became Petrotrin.

      I, also, suffered a mix-up of names when I received a cheque intended for a recipient that had the same name as I except for a variation of spelling. I quickly brought the matter to the attention of the Scholarships Officer at the Canadian High Commission in Ottawa, and it was almost as quickly settled. I later met my namesake and had a good laugh about the matter.

      Honest mistakes are made by *any* bureaucracy, and perhaps especially by that of T&T. The insouciance of the T&T bureaucracy is an equal-opportunity enterprise. These things happen. Tribal animus need not enter into it.

      If you went away on a merit scholarship arranged by the Ministry of Education, I find it hard to believe that the London High Commission would have interfered with that. I can believe any number of mix-ups to have occurred to your discomfort. It is entirely possible and the more likely hypothesis, that the High Commission received no notification, or late notification, of your arrival, as they told you.

      I can tell stories of mix-ups of my own, including no pay for several *months*, later corrected in lump sum. I hardly think tribal animus could explain that.

      In any case, the facts cited in your recitation do not allow the conclusion you seek — improper action based on tribal animus — to be drawn. Therefore, you should withdraw the slanderous imputation against Mr. Rose and/or the Ministry of Education of 1967.

      Btw, when I arrived in Toronto in 1969, I had no welcome committee arranged by the High Commission or anyone else. Fortunately the university had a welcome desk for students arriving from overseas.

      There is a psychological phenomenon called “projection”. That is where one who is consumed with some animus projects that same animus unto the victim. The indo-Trini knows and admits his own anti-“Negro” animus (e.g FEM Hosein, Vidia Naipaul). He assumes that the “Negro” has like animus in return. Therefore, every unpleasant encounter with “Negro” officialdom is seen not only as a manifestation of anti-indo tribal animus, but even as anti-indo tribal *discrimination*.

      I must protest. I reject this insipid bim/bam insinuation.

      Men such as Eric Williams, Ellis Clarke, and I dare say Andrew Rose, bequeathed to our Republic a Constitution, and oaths of office that expressly call on all office-holders to exercise the functions of their office without fear or *favour*, and to do right by all manner of citizen. Their actions bear out their sworn oaths of office. Certainly, the indo-Trini manifestly has prospered under afro-Trini governments.

      So let us hear no more slanderous accusations against good men, unless well supported by facts that bear out the charges.

  • I’m descended from Joseph Hume who married Hardin Burnley’s sister. 35 years ago I married a Trinidadian without knowing any family history. It’s a strange world, friends.

  • Ha ha ha Doc.Funny stuff.You were doing quite well,until you mentioed that Self loating – Trini -Brown/Bkack skin Englishman – Wannabe bloke, VS Naipul. Perhaps the most ungrateful soul ,this country,region ,&maybe entire Commomwealth ,has ever seen. The opportunistic ,unpatriotic,pathetic bastard,won a Nobel Literature Prize ,but did not even have the decency ,to acknowlege the country of his birth,which contributed to his initial success-opting instead ,to heap praises on Mama Britain ,& ancestral India,all in his typical , phony English accent.
    A Jamaican would not have done that,if he wanted to ever visit Jamaica again.
    I’m almost certain a Saint Lucian, such as Literature Nobelist,Derreck Walott,paid homage,even while giving credit to his adopted pais T&T.
    A Nigerian Nobelist like Wole Soyinka, most certainly did,in recognition of the fact ,that his British education alone, did not create his entire being as a globally respected Playwright- writer,and Political activist ,who fought against corruption,barbaranism ,& political injustices ,which plagued his homeland,Continent,& world at large.


    You see Doc,it’s all ‘s well and good, to denounce your fellow country folks ,as simplistic,uncaring -“Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN, Brek-AWAY society with pretensions towards civility.”but you fail miserably ,if in so doing ,you exclude characters such as VS Naipaul.

    I subscribe to a view, that ‘unto whom much is given;much is expected.’
    Without the efforts of local Belmont Boy, turned American Civil Rights/Political Activist , Stokkey Carmichael aka Kwame Ture,Afro Americans, would still be living in segregated Communities,educating their kids in decrepit,sub par -totally African -schools ,eating on Resturant gabbage bins,& sitting at the back of buses.
    Fast forward to 2016, & not a single tribute is done in his name.
    MLK,Medger Evers,Du Bois,Malolm X,& the likes ,get all the credit.
    Yet some still wonder why,even with a so called Black ,Ivy educated President,& his Yuppy wife Michelle Jakie O Kennedy Robinson, Africans in Pax Americana ,are still living as 2 nd class citizens.
    As for T&T? Well ,not only did Stokley forner Howard Proffessor ,Papa Deffy Eric ,ban him from the Country of his birth, but his fellow citizens ,followed that Neo imperialist lead ,and ignored his sterling contributions to advancing the cause for Humanity,while putting T&T on the map. No tribute Doc ,to this day.
    In de interim,if that ungrateful character, Sir VS , lands here in the morning ,and said he wishes to be the next PM , or President ,Trinis might vote for ,or nominate the Knighted National Award Winner.,for that’s how they roll.
    Yet some are still curious, as to the real reasons, as to why we’ll remain an underdeveloped ,3 World feifdom-natural resources or not.
    Jamaica,& Barbados ,both named their airports ,in honor of their Founding Fathers.
    Guyana in contrast,choosed to name their 2nd tier leader, in Neo Marxist Dr Chedie ,as opposed to Forbes Burnam,the more deserving.
    At some point ,our T&T too, would be forced to make a similar decusion ,so who do you think that honor would go to Doc,& why?
    The world embraced Political Statesman ,&ICC founder ,ANR Robinson ,as an honest ,decent ,selfless individual ,who used his influence, to promote Human RIghts,& Social Justice Internationally.
    His own Country T&T ,treated him like a sack of rotton onions.
    Not only did his NAR pal Panday,not attend his funeral -in keeping with human dencency-but has done everything feasible ,to downplay the importance of the CCJ-while opting to still push the Privy Council,but you know why the opposition Doc. The CCJ-was an ANR brainchild too.

    Still surprise as to why we appear to be a …” Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN, Brek-AWAY society with pretensions towards civility,”Ooc?
    Got to be careful Doc , for if you go to any Medical Doctor ,&a misdiagnosis is made,the eventual outcome , can be fatal.
    Warmest Regards.

  • In the good old days of C.L.R James and Dr. Williams, before what is now considered as the Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN society, everyone did not have a Minister friend or a friend in high places. Also two archaic events were practiced – Capital Punishment and Corporal Punishment.
    Hmm! I wonder.

  • http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,238068.html

    What do we know people,for this country hating comedian, sat around on his haunches , for 5 years ,as Kamla ,& her PP political goons, kicked him repeatedly ,in ‘de you know what.’
    Suddenly ,as’ Dr Kieth,& his Red &Ready ‘blokes, are ruling the political roost ,he is screaming like a Toco costipated Manicou,about unresolved labor affairs.
    Get it in your thick skull Roget-oil,& gas prices ,are at an all time low/is still plumetting on the World’s Market-no fault of Petrotrin,or government.
    Your T&T ,had 6 Prime Ministers before the Mason Hall Kid took charge -a little over a year ago-and non of the Characters before him,saw it fit,to push diversification of our economy ,as a policy.

    Way to go Mama JB Primus ,- finally ,using your ‘Cache ,’as a former Labor insider big wig yourself ,and now ,in your capacity ,as our Labor Head Minister,is pushing the envelop,in search of a win/win solution,that is palatable to all,hmmmmm? Get to work. You weren’t made a Senator,and Minister ,all because of…. ‘your good looks.’
    It’s a beautiful thing,for yours truly on two fronts people:-
    1.I love to see political neophytes ,hitch their romps on the Hard core -Political gravy train-after sitting afar in the private, or NGO /Civil Society front ,getting fat ,for decades,only to get a reality check ,as they get their Knickers,or Jockstraps dragged off,and they get torn a new .ummmmm….one-as we ike to say on the streets.
    How are you guys doing ,Mama Verna St Rose,and Mary King? What happend to you,once you became a glorified Tourism Minister Mr Stephen Cadiz,of de Keith Noel 136 Committee fame?Let me guess,you no longer want 500 ,000 visitors to come to see T&T? Think they’ll still visiting ,if crime is still getting out of hand,as it did under your regime?


    What’s that,Dominican Republic,Brazil,Columbia,Venezuela ,Holland ,Germany,Las Vagas USA,and Thailand ,has much more crimes than our T&T,and they are still visiting en mass?
    Ok ,I agree,but are our equally enticing Chicas/and economically desperate Mujeres ,likewise willing ,to sell what the listed countries,and single USA state women, offer ,or better yet, our hypocritical ,fake religious, political,& civic leaders ,willing to take the morally tinged -neo British chains, off our women -via decriminalization of sex work,like their more progressive ,tourist minded , Latin American ,Western European /South east Asian counerparts did?

    2.Secondly ,I get to see our budding La Trinity Republic ,and it’s sometimes visionless leaders, grapple with the not too subtle nuances of economic fairness, social justice ,and elusive,yet much coveted , sustainable development ,under our version of Westminster Parliamentary Democracy.
    However I digress.

    Look folks ,here is de deal as I view it,re this high pressure situation. If Kamla could have leaned on her Labor Minister, in Loud Mouth- (but only when he too was a then ,OWTU Labor big dog) Errol Mc Loud ,& grateful Afro one time labor radical ,in Speaker Wade -MBA-Mark ,to keep labor rattlesnakes ,such as dis Roget,and dat now irrelevant , sex fiend/criminal accused -PSA -Tobago Duke, at bay ,then it’s about darn time ,you Mama JB Primus ,deliver on something ,for your PM
    Oh and for the record people,as politically precarious as this industrial stalemate might appear,don’t loose too much sleep,for all will be fine. Ourbudding Grandmaster Chess playing PM ,got this,trust me on that.
    Why do I have such confidence? I’ll tell you.
    Our present PM ,just like PP PM Auntie Kamla ,is a person of sound spiritual faith.
    She swore by her Hindustani spiritual faith ,& gods ,but had an ace up her sleeves,in Sat Maraj,who did everything up to 2015 ,to protect her ,while ensuring she acquired humongous ,wealth,national power ,and global glory.
    Not to be outdone,is Dr Keith. A solid Christian in his own right,but likewise ,won’t hesitate ,to get some help where warranted ,from a dear Uncle ,in Tobago’s own , Papa Niza. Tell you what folks,let Hansard show ,that the good guy,never failed his trusted nephew.
    To prove my point-Our PM had to contend with frivillous lawsuits ,was kicked out in embarrassing fashion, from the House ,by an over zealous, Afro Eat ah food Speaker ,was accused of every form of corruption imaginable,was labled a sex starved pedofile ,for gyrating on a 35 year old looking 17 year old Indo Trini Carnival Jumping Chica,along with 50 other women ,of varying backgrounds,outed as having an illegitimate son,& labelled a potential rapist too,since his Papa,allegedly raped his Mama. With each salvo ,the PM came out smiling, garnering more support by a perceptive public.
    To top it off,notice that it was around that time,oil prices started falling. None of us need to be rocket scientists to know, that if oil prices was stable one year ago,or Kamla had called election -Manning style -by the end of 2014,she would ave become a 2 term PM. Papa Niza in all his glory,will always trump Sat Maraj,no matter how we slice it.
    To finally put some iceing on the cake ,let me remind folks ,& this political Salipainter Roget, of sometjing-since he naively believe ,he has the upper hand.
    Last I checked ,there was a country 7 miles away from our T&T ,with 100 times the oil and gas we have -most of which were stolen from us ,one might add.
    They desperately need food,plus have other economic /social needs. Our savvy PM was seen leading the region/world, on efforts to assist our neighbor Venezuela.
    So on Monday ,let Roget pull his stupid stunt ,on behalf of unmentionable elements ,with ill will /evil intent ,to wards our country. We’ll be fine,so don’t start celebrating just yet Kamla.
    Oh Afro BuddahSunGod,who resides in our hearts ,please guide our nation,and it’s leaders during these sometimes troubling time.
    Let’s wish our underachieving country well,shall we?
    Long live de Republic of Tobag…….,ooooops . lo Siento…T&T!

  • Here Neal… PetroSingh is built on a Slave Plantation… They say the bloodiest slave revolt in T&T took place there…
    Ask the Professor…>

    Living As Dogs, Part 1
    By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
    November 06, 2016

    The place is Point-a-Pierre; the plantation is Carolina Estate; the story is told by Choonee, the Sirdar; the interpreter is a black man. This story is taken verbatim from a report Choonee made at Union Hall Police Station on September 6, 1847. The report reproduced below is dated May 1, 1848. I use the “C” word to retain the authenticity of the story.

    Now… Like allyuh still tink that Kneegroes are still slaves… Allyuh House Slaves all over the radio pissing on Mr. Roget, along with allyuh new Slave-Masters Aboud, Ramnarine and a host of other ‘Non-Africans’ waxing allyuh ‘simple’ minds on the Airwaves of T&T…
    Do they really think ‘we’ are that simple Neal? Do they really think that they can play us like puppets and put us against a brother as he seeks a more efficient Petrotrin (Go read his proposal, Neal.)?

    BTW… Oil is trading at $54 a barrel… Hardly ‘an all time low’…

    And where were allyuh when Dr. Rowley and Co. decided to pay Cane Farmer? Oil was trading at $30 a barrel then….Stuppes..

    Here Neal… Ent we doltish?

    T&T cane farmers demand remainder of EU funds
    By Staff Writer April 15, 2016

    Prime Minister Keith Rowley told a public meeting in Malabar on Tuesday the Government intended to pay out TT$52 million to the cane farmers.
    He said the money was not meant for the farmers but to reimburse the government for money spent after the industry closed down on their pension plans, enhanced voluntary separation packages and training but would honour the agreement of the previous government “because the word of the government of T&T must mean something to the people of T&T.”


  • “And where were allyuh when Dr. Rowley and Co. decided to pay Cane Farmer? Oil was trading at $30 a barrel then….Stuppes..
    Here Neal… Ent we doltish?”RamK

    Ha ha ha ha,Y si ,good ,provocative stuff, Mi Hermano Ram K.
    Be careful,and recognize ,that I wrote ,’de playing dead to catch Cobeaux alive ,’manuscript,for driving ,on dis here ,Trini Center Nation Highway.
    Muy complicado,especially if you are using de ummmm… English speaking -South American – Guyanese Starbucks newspaper ,as your objective source ,re a critique of our La Trinity citizens,or more so ,it’s African leader
    Translation:-I’m not so certain ,what lane of our Highway ,you are heading-since I don’t know you long enough.
    I tend to take umbrage however ,with collective characterization,such as ” Dotish ,” when describing our people.
    It ‘s a bit too simplistic, an analysis.
    From the little I’ve read of your pass comments,I sensed that you ,unlike lame brain ,quasi literate Mamboo,’me think ,’you perhaps, even did some college ,like dat elite school educated TMan bloke.
    It’s a valid criticism ,that most Trinis don’t give a rats rear end /darm ,if Good Friday,falls on a Monday,but the majority ‘knows what time it is’ -as we like to say on de streets.
    They tend to get-for want of a better expression- ‘pissed off,’when their respective leaders ,take dem for suckers,agreed?
    Here is de deal Ram K, when it comes to Playing the game called Politics ,in a tribally fractured/class fissured society like ours.
    908% of the time,your base would remain loyal. The trick theredore is ,to entice voters belonging to ‘de other ,’to support you,since it might bolster their-individual/collective self interests.
    Did anyone mention ,pro Royalist ,Democratic Partyvooser ,Queen Hillary Clinton,or American megalomaniacal ,political blowhard Republican Preaidential victor,The Donald ,lately?
    No Kamla ,you can’t call every Tobago THA leader -Not named TOP-Duck Man-35 room mansion Jack -corrupt ,while dangling UNC/PP styled concept of Independence / Political atonomy, for it’s people, then expect to win. Oh,& need I mention Ram K,that White Europeans,& Indo Trinis,are the two fastest rising demogrqphics flocking to make Tobago their permanent home?
    How many people got murdered in Trinidad ,for the year again RamK? Four I believe,which is the total for Tobago in 2016. 3 & half of which ,most likely were from big brother Trinidad.
    Can’t call African leaders of your rivaling party,a ultra corrupt,sex fiend,or allow your minions to treat him ,like an abandoned caroni,one leg dog,then expect African voters support. Just ain’t prudent.
    Fortunately/unfortuanately ,the Afro dominant PNM ,has done a much better job ,of playing the cross tribal game ,than their INDO Dominant ULF/Unc/Cop/PP Cousins ,on the other side.
    That explains why de Afro Party won 95 ,out of 100 general /local elections in La Trinity,since 1962,and will win yet another ,in the upcomming THA showcase .
    It likewise explain away,why Indo Trinis have done much better in T&T,than their Adrican counterparts.
    Yeah ,some of dem unmentionable cyber clowns ,would still tell you-with a straight face ,it’s due to opaque ,noble ancestral holdover Culture, stable marriage led Families, fixation on sacrifices,or high end education.
    Those of us in the know ,are aware, that nothing can be further from the truth,for a poor 9year old girl ,married to a 25 year old ,or 10 year old males ,can never produce a stable,non dysfunctional family.
    It’s instead called appeasement,at the expense of your own ,Eric Williams, George Chambers,and Patrick Manning .
    No need for me to elaborate Ram K. The Castaria kid , tried to tweak things a bit,during his NAR stewardship,but you saw what was the end result of his attempt,si?
    Enter ,stage right ,Lennox Phillip ,aka Yasin Abu Bakr ,and his Islamist bandits,who almost destroyed oyr Democracy.
    Dr Keith ,aka de Mason Hall kid,is in a fine position to be a difference maker. We’ll see how he plays the game down crunch time,until 2020.
    Paying Cane farm workers was one move. Elevating several progressive ,Indo Trinis ,into most favored ,political/civic positions -soon after a general election/prior to a local one ,was another.
    Dr Keith’s new challenge though,is dealing with his 2016 /17 version of a Abu Bakr,in OWTU Labor -closet terrorist -President Roget-likewise doing the biddings of(unmentional) others.
    In the end ,our dear PM will realize, that one’s political legacy , won’t receive ,high status ratings -globally /domestically-by such paltry undertakings.
    Neglected TOBAGO-a major symbol of the similaly disgusting ,sub standard treatment of most Afro Trinis ,& their enclaves ,in this our Twin Republic -by leaders on both sides of the tribal lines -would be his Mt Everest.
    Would the lives of Tobagonians ,and the development of the historically ignored Island ward ,be any better ,than that which was left by the late ANR Robinson,Winston Murray,and similar selfless stalwarts, who seem to care?
    An economically thriving ,socially /politically more independent Tobago ,is less a burden ,but a greater boon for all of T&T.
    Tell me something RamK-based on what are seeing as the trend -would you be surprise ,say if in 5 years time,Pan is dead , folks can get arrested for humming a parang tune,all Latins immigrants /reugees ,& visitors ,are prevented from even visiting T&T,or unlike Brazil,our Carnival is relegated to second class statusas ,as far as our national festival,only to be replaced by …. well,even you are smart to see where I am going with that,and can fill in the blanks. Oh,& least I forget,
    RIP Chutney Icon Anand Ramkawan. T&T ,is a much better place culturally ,due to de sterling efforts of Kamal,& younger brothet Sham Mohammed .
    As for Kiaso,Pan,and Parrang? No se?
    Stay Vigilant T&T!
    I love this land,Y tu?

  • This is a thought-provoking piece. One may go off in so many directions, it is difficult to formulate a response. But I feel compelled to do so, and to do so from a biblical perspective. In this way I may be true to my calling, and also provide a perspective that otherwise would be absent from the discussion. For, alas, our pastors and preachers are asleep at the wheel. None stands in the gap.

    The allusion here is to Ezekiel. It will seem a stretch, and far removed from Bro. Cudjoe’s assessment that we are a “brek up, brek down” society. But while I accept the assessment, it is necessary also to search for deeper understanding. That search leads to one fundamental fact: “We” the so-called “Negro”, the ones who have formed this “brek up brek down society”, this “half-formed” society of Naipaul, are the literal seedline of Israel.

    The reason for our condition may thus be found in Scripture, and God’s covenant relationship with his holy seed of Israel. The solution to our problem likewise is to be found in Scripture, and to that covenant relationship.

    Note carefully: I do not say anything about religion. One of the curses that was to befall true Israel, precisely, was religion:

    “And Yahweh shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.” (Deuteronomy 28:64)

    Religion has made us a house divided. Some of us follow the Orisha. Some follow “Jesus”, a son of man who is also son of God and God-the-Son, and do so in a confusion of strains and branches of Christianity, none of which was sanctioned under our covenant relationship with the Most High. Some follow Islam. Some follow Ras Tafari. The list is as long as it is endless.

    But God is not the author of confusion, therefore only a moment’s reflection must lead to the conclusion that this is all of the Deceiver, except that God gave permission for that confusion to be brought upon us, pursuant to Deuteronomy 28:64, much like He gave permission to Satan to bring destruction — but only up to a point — upon Job.

    Just recently in the news we heard our Minister Fitz-Gerald Hinds lamenting the feud between Rasta City and the Muslims. That too is illustrative of the “brek up brek down” society… and the curse of Deuteronomy 28:64.

    Deuteronomy 28:64 speaks only to the religious dimension of a larger problem. As Israelites of the seed, under the curses, the destruction is more comprehensive than that. God said He gave us His laws, statutes, and judgments that we might “live”:

    “Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live…” (Deuteronomy 4:1)

    The implication is of course that if do not keep the laws of the covenant, we would be destroyed, i.e. become precisely a brek up brek down people:

    “Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of Yahweh thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee…” (Deuteronomy 28:45)

    But it is Ezekiel that best describes our condition as a people. For as it was with us just prior to the Babylonian captivity, so it is with us today:

    “18 Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver.19 Therefore thus saith Yahweh; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you …20 As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you. 21 Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst therof. 22 As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I Yahweh have poured out my fury upon you.” (Ezekiel 22:18-22)

    The metaphor of melting is of course of a piece with the “brek up brek down” image.

    Ezekiel continues…

    “25 There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. 26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. 27 Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. 28 And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith Yahweh, when Yahweh hath not spoken. 29 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.

    “30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

    31 Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith Yahweh.” (Ezekiel 22:25-31)

    The prophets, priests and princes — the exemplars of the society — were thus in many ways the most guilty. So it is also with T&T today. “If the priest could play, who is we” is how the calypsonian put it. Therefore, our exemplars are not exempt from disrespect. Our princes are not particularly meritorious, unless merit is to be accorded to mere money-grubbing. Where Mammon waxes triumphant, we must expect and accept to be as dross melted in the furnace.

    Reginald Dumas may well be a paragon of virtue and good judgment, a man that fears God, a man of truth, hating covetousness (Exodus 18:21). But in a furnace the silver will be melted along with the dross. I think we are still drawing down on moral capital bequeathed to us by men like Eric Williams, Ellis Clarke, and Andrew Rose, as I suggested in an earlier post. But… the vice in our midst certainly overwhelms the virtue.

    What it foretells is a coming judgment. As Judah was carted off to Babylon, some latter-day judgment is near upon us. In that day, there was none to stand in the gap and make up the hedge. In this day, those that might otherwise stand in the gap will be a regathered remnant. The rest will suffer the fate of Sodom. That is written.

    The matter is not allegory. The Scripture was written for and pertains to a particular people, the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Even Yeshua said plainly, “Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). Who are those people today? Without any reasonable doubt, we the so-called “Negro” scattered to the West into captivity, are a fulfillment of all the signs written of in Scripture; Deuteronomy 28:45-46. The so-called Jews are far from being a match to the curses, rather fulfill the prophecies concerning the impostors that would arise; Revelation 2:9, 3:9, Daniel 11:14. Therefore, more than any other people on the planet, we may be certain that we the so-called “Negro” are of the seedline of Israel. The curses, and the redemption, both, pertain to us. Equally, when the angels are sent out to reap the harvest, they are under orders to “begin with my sanctuary”.

    Yes, Bro. Cudjoe is right in his lament about our society. We are a brek up brek down society, where scant respect is accorded even to the pillars of our society. But it is at least in part because the pillars of our society, as a group, are themselves wanting.

    More fundamentally, it is because we have disobeyed the covenant law to which we are bound as a matter of Israelite seedline. The judgement cometh. None may stand in the gap to save the unrighteous, but the righteous may save themselves by returning to, doing, and keeping the covenant law.

    Bro. Cudjoe is right to shed historical light to help illuminate the problem. The only lack is that the historical light that must be brought must go much further back, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the covenant law that the Most High entered into with our Israelite forefathers at the time of Moses.

    I do not disparage Queen and country, not even the Burnley’s and Fabien’s of our slave past. I honour QRC and the schoolmasters that came out of the British public school system of Eton, Harrow, Rugby and etc. finished off by Oxford and Cambridge. They had their role to play, which involved being the instrument of our chastisement, and as well bringing back to us the writings of our own forefathers in the form of the King James Bible. A proper look at history, with a long enough view, will show that the role of Britain in the slave trade and in our colonization was foretold. (King James authorized not only the Bible that bears his name, but also our enslavement, wielding the sceptre of Judah as he did both.) Likewise foretold was our encounter and struggles with our indo brethren. For in biblical terms both are our Edomite brethren, and indeed some of the British are our Israelite brethren also. But that’s another story…

    May the Most High shine His light upon us all, that we may come to know and repent our transgressions, return to, do and keep the covenant law to which we are bound by seedline, that we may all of us live in His sight, and escape the judgment otherwise ordained.


    “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.” (Ezekiel 9:6)

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