Tag Archives: Dr Eric Williams

Decentering Dr Williams: debasing the PNM

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 20, 2021

PART III

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn January 29, 2011, I delivered a lecture on the pitfalls of multiculturalism, at a Multiculturalism Conference at Gaston Court, Chaguanas. It was sponsored by GOPIO (T&T), the leading purveyor of Indian culture, when then-PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar introduced her cultural policy to engender greater equity within the society.
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Decentering Dr. Williams— Denigrating the PNM

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 14, 2021

PART II

The UNC represents the true spirit of Trinidad and Tobago,… all the poor, humble working people, farmers, small business owners, ordinary men and women, from north to south, east, west, central, the urban, the suburban, the rural, the swampland, the coastal, and floodplains, the hills and the lagoons.

—Kirk Meighoo, The Checklist (2021)

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIf V. S. Naipaul was Kirk Meighoo’s intellectual guru initially, he later turned to Lloyd Best for intellectual guidance and direction. Since a “half-made society” (a term that Naipaul used disparagingly) is a literary conceit it could not bear the sociological weight that Meighoo thrust upon it. Meighoo argued that Politics in a Half-Made Society (hereafter Politics) was “a slight reworking” of his doctoral dissertation. This led Anton L. Allahar, professor emeritus at the University of Western Ontario, to write: “I have never seen a doctoral dissertation in the social sciences that was devoid of a theoretical perspective and a clear statement of methodology.” (Caribbean Studies, 2005).
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Decentering Dr. Williams; Denigrating the PNM

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 05, 2021

PART I

“Ethnic mobilization [in Trinidad and Tobago] is the result of national political impotence, not its cause. Such parties, without any firm, rooted principles, provide no basis for political solidarity….These loose ethnic solidarities arise from the safe cliques by which citizens organize themselves in this half-made society.”

—Kirk Meighoo, “Ethnic Mobilisation vs. Ethnic Politics,”

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeDr. Kirk Meighoo is one of our better scholars. I have followed his academic progress since he was a student at the University of the West Indies. In his well-researched book Politics in a Half-Made Society (2003), he argued that societies such as T&T “have not yet established enduring, meaningful standards of their own. They are societies still in formation and unmade, without a firm foundation (intellectual, cultural, political, military, and/or economic), and in which solidity is elusive.” Although I disagree with his central thesis (taken from the work of Vidia Naipaul whom he calls one of T&T’s “great philosophers”) I still think his book is a worthwhile read.
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The Lie…

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 25, 2020

PART 2

“All that is needed on the part of the Negro to attain his rightful place [in this society] is to embark on a wild binge of destruction and plunder.”

—Trevor Sudama

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAbout five years ago several Eric Williams scholars were invited to investigate Eric Williams’s work at Oxford University before continuing on to Senate House, London. Brinsley Samaroo, one of the invited scholars, gave an illuminating lecture on Williams after which I asked him whether Williams had called Indo-Trinidadians, rather than a segment of members of the Democratic Labor Party, “a recalcitrant hostile minority.” His answer was an emphatic “No. He did not.”
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Black Power and Indians

Indian Officer Leads
African Soldiers in Black Power Revolt
“Creolised” Indians Sowed Seeds for Birth of ULF

By Raffique Shah
June 09, 2000 – trinicenter.com

Raffique ShahIN 1970, I was the only Indian officer in the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment. I was also the youngest officer, having graduated from Sandhurst in July 1966, some four months after I had turned 20. When I returned from England in January 1967 to take up duties as a platoon commander, it was the first time I got to know the Regiment (as it was, and still is, commonly referred to), since I was sent to Sandhurst in 1964 without any prior training locally. At the time, fewer than five per cent of soldiers were Indians, a ratio that may still exist, although I suspect the numbers will have moved up slightly.
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Great Is the PNM…

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 30, 2019

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIt used to be that you couldn’t beat the PNM when it came to election strategy and election campaigning. We may have to reconsider this truism. This time the PNM might be sleep-walking into an unpleasant election defeat.

The Marlene accident has put a dent into the party’s façade that will be difficult to repair given the party’s hallowed precept, “Morality in public affairs.” Marlene was an accident that was waiting to happen. It makes little sense trying to transfer the responsibility of her indiscretions (or so it seems) to the Manning administration so as to let the present leadership off the political hook.
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CLR James: man without honour in his own country

By Raffique Shah
August 02, 2019

Raffique ShahA tragedy of our times is the absolute ignorance of the vast majority of our population of the nation’s history. And for once I cannot blame this void on information technology, on the electronic devices that most young people and many mature ones are glued to, in most instances day and night.
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Thinking Globally; Acting Locally

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 25, 2019

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAfter I spoke at London’s Maritime Museum last Monday, I traveled to France for personal as well as scholarly reasons. Years earlier I had spent a semester at Paris and had taken my daughter to the University of Strasbourg on another occasion to study the French language for a summer. I never mastered the language.
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Obeahing the Word

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 08, 2019

“Can there be a national life without a national literature?”

—Jose Marti

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeMarina Warner, a distinguished English writer of Trinidadian provenance and professor of English and Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, University of London, read from her work, Fly Away Home, at the Bocas Lit Fest on Thursday. She argued, with tremendous encouragement from the audience, that imaginative literature possesses the capacity to capture dimensions of a society’s unconscious in ways that realist fiction seldom does.
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Learning by Example

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
April 17, 2019

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeA week ago Reginald Vidale, chairman of the Eric Williams Memorial Committee, begged the government “to celebrate the life and legacy of Williams as the founding father of the country and Caricom” and “to declare a day of remembrance, not necessarily a public holiday, to reflect on his contribution” (Newsday, April 4)

Ayanna Webster-Roy, Minister of Culture, countered by suggesting that, like Williams, the country must champion nation-building by following the nation’s watchwords: discipline, tolerance and production.
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