By Raffique Shah
November 30, 2020
If there is not now on our statute books a law that empowers us to deny entry into Trinidad and Tobago to any alien, man woman or child, more so persons seeking to enter our territory illegally, then Government must move post-haste to rectify such anomaly that foreigners are using to breach our borders. Further, if some government in the past compromised this inalienable right that every sovereign state in the world must surely enjoy by signing on to some nebulous convention that purports to promote human rights, then unshackle us, damn it if we are deemed inhumane, sub-human or maybe animals.
Continue reading We Must Control Our Destiny
By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 25, 2020
“Me nah know how we and dem a go work this out/But someone will have to pay/for the innocent blood/that they shed every day.”
—Bob Marley, “We and Dem”
There is a notion that Trinis are a happy-go-lucky people, a description that may be more applicable to African-descended people than to members of other groups of the population. Such a description may be more illustrative of those of us whose world view has been influenced by African religions and philosophies as put forth by John Mbiti in African Religion and Philosophy, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, or Chigozie Obioma’s An Orchestra of Minorities.
Such a notion (“happy-go-lucky Trinis”) has led others to believe that we care mostly about the celebration of the flesh and other worldly pursuits as depicted in our carnival celebration. Some have even said that while their people were “beating books, we were beating pan,” a cavalier dismissal of an important aspect of our creativity and identity.
Continue reading Demonizing Black People
By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 16, 2020
When T&T gained independence in 1962 we reveled in the possibility that we had set ourselves upon a path to deal with the problems of colonialism, particularly the sinful racism, that had disfigured our society. In 1970, disappointed that Black people were still being denied jobs and position because of their color, the Black Power Rebellion added the struggle of anti-blackness to the national agenda.
Fifty years after independence, we are still plagued with racial discrimination even though it has taken a different dimension. In the 1970s we were faced with white over black racism, today it’s brown over black, the former having inculcated some of the nastiest racial biases of the white ruling class.
Continue reading The Racial Divide
By Vijay Prashad and Érika Ortega-Sanoja
August 10, 2020 – venezuelanalysis.com
On August 4, 2020, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on Venezuela. Appearing before the committee was U.S. State Department Special Representative Elliott Abrams. Abrams, who has had a long—and controversial—career in the formation of U.S. foreign policy, was assaulted by almost all the members of the Senate committee. The senators, almost without exception, suggested that Abrams had been—since 2019—responsible for a failed U.S. attempt to overthrow the Venezuelan government of President Nicolás Maduro.
Continue reading How the U.S. Failed at Its Foreign Policy Toward Venezuela
By A. Hotep
August 15, 2020
The Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SATT), and by extension the business community, was never interested in addressing racism. Poor working conditions and poor remuneration packages are all part of class and racial discrimination which, at the very least, renders many members of the business community complicit. Now that people are prepared to take action to deal with racism, the business community should not be allowed to set the standard for redress. This was made clear by SATT’s quick backpedalling of its boycott of Ramsaran-branded products after calling on the company to “[seek] the appropriate remedial action in a consistent and satisfactory manner.” Aside from the Ramsaran’s text-book apology and “firing” of the owner’s daughter, how has the company demonstrated appropriate remedial action?
Continue reading Sorry, Not Sorry: The Business of Racism in T&T
A Dialogue on Ramsaran’s Racist Rant
The discussion below took place on 13 August 2020, in light of a racist rant by top level employer and close blood relative of the owners of the Ramsaran’s company, Naila Ramsaran, following the defeat of the United National Congress at the 2020 General Elections on 10 August 2020. On Facebook, she referred to supporters of the People’s National Movement as cockroaches and advocated for adding contraceptives to their water supply as a form of racial genocide. This was among a plethora of post-election racist commentary, including those of a secondary school teacher, making the rounds on social media. A host of a morning radio programme called on the Prime Minister to calm the waters and instruct the public to forgive Ms Ramsaran and for others for their vitriol.
Continue reading Racism and Forgiveness: Token Apologies Are Not Enough
By Darren Bahaw
July 09, 2020 – newsday.co.tt
A second disturbing video has surfaced on social media of events which took place after police shot and killed three men on June 27, in Second Caledonia, Morvant.
It has sparked new criticism in comments online from people who have watched the 39-second clip.
The video, which appeared to have been recorded by a home security camera, from in front, shows the actions of police from a different angle, seconds after the shooting incident.
Continue reading New video emerges in Morvant police killing
By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 06, 2020
While the world has been impacted by the Black Lives Matter movement, none of the political parties of T&T has issued a statement on its relevance to black people of this country. Nor, for that matter, have they told us how they will deal with the impoverishment, unemployment, alienation and miseducation of our black youths.
Necessarily, black youths from these under resourced communities have reminded us that black lives matter and that there must be an accounting for past wrongs and present grievances. Predictably, there will be more clashes between the police and the youths of these deprived communities if things continue as they are going.
Continue reading Do Black Lives Matter in Trinidad?
By A. Hotep
July 05, 2020
Some people in this country are intent on shifting the dialogue away from the questionable and seemingly extrajudicial killing of three men by the police in Morvant, which was captured on CCTV footage, to centering discussions on the conduct of black youths in deprived communities. The obfuscation of the issue, evident in the commentaries by leaders, and echoed by radio and online commentators, perpetuates the view that when black people in poor communities are killed and otherwise abused, it is they who are at fault. Another twist to the narrative by the police and by the government is the claim that protests against the killings are part of an organised plot to destabilise the country. This perspective serves the agenda of those who have orchestrated and/or sanctioned the use of strong-arm tactics to stifle the protests. Meanwhile, the real issues of community neglect, crime (including white colour crime) and the heavy-handed approach of the police in these mostly black communities are pushed aside.
Continue reading Brute Force, Blame and Bigotry: Police Killings in Morvant
By Dr Tye Salandy
July 02, 2020
Approximately 50 years ago, mainly young people — disillusioned by the continued colonial nature of the country, the deep racism, classism and limited opportunities — made brave efforts to improve things. Instead of the then government, led by Dr Eric Williams, listening and properly engaging with these persons, the leaders of the movement were arrested and jailed, people were beaten and brutalized, and persons were hunted, shot and even killed. “Law and order” were not about the best interest of the citizens but about preserving the status quo. Fifty years later we are faced with unrests that parallel the Hosay Riots, the Camboulay Riots, the 1919 Labour riots, the 1930s Labour uprisings, and the 1970s Black Power movement. It is this eruption of discontent from those who are experiencing the depths of marginalization and brutality that has historically brought about the greatest improvements in conditions in unjust social structures. All of them were met with brutal violence by authorities, yet when history looks back, all these events were important parts of the evolution of our society. By all indications, the present government has not learned these lessons and may repeat the grave errors of the past.
Continue reading Protests and State Violence: Leaders Must Stop Dodging Responsibility