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Newsday's Dreams Are Reality for Manning
Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2004

By Stephen Kangal

I commend Newsday's editorial (11 Nov. p 10) in which the newspaper conducted a most timely, patriotic and creative interpretation of the rich symbolism of the lights of Divali. It brought into sharp focus its eagerness for realising ethno-cultural justice in Trinbago. Forty-two years after shaking off the yoke of Anglo-colonialism to be replaced by neo-colonialism and a lot of empty talk about, ethnic harmony and fairness eludes us. It would seem logical, therefore for Newsday to conclude that it is only on the basis of the stuff of which dreams are made that we can realise our noble ideals of cross cultural respect and understanding that Newsday so loyally yearns for on behalf of our multicultural mosaic.

All of us cherish the hope that hitherto the pervasive unwillingness demonstrated by our tribal politics to establish the requisite institutional and legal machinery to facilitate that " the aspirations of a plural society" will be addressed frontally. That Newsday's dream will become a reality.

The private sector, in the interim, according to the AG Jeremie is free to discriminate with impunity because of constitutional inadequacies. The Equal Opportunity Act is permanently cold storaged to the benefit of the monopolistic and parasitic fringe.

But it seems that your noble dreams of ethno-cultural peace, justice and harmony, according to the Prime Minister's Eid Message (Newsday 13 Nov. p 6) is already in force and effect in T&T. It does not need dreams. In fact in your Eid editorial (Newsday 14 Nov. p. 10) you quoted excerpts from that Eid Message validating certain ethnic scenarios claimed by the PM to exist, that you previously felt it necessary to dream about in your Divali editorial.

In spite of the admissions contained within the Eight Principles of Fairness, the several High Court Judicial Review decisions, the mantra of the Leader of the Opposition and the several polls conducted T&T, according to PM Manning, T&T has been spared from the effects of "racism" and "aggressive nationalism". That we have not taken the diversity of our peoples for granted. But it is a strain of exclusive, assertive, assimilative nationalism that is no different from the aggressive genre, spawned since 1956 that has ethnically polarised our multiculturalism to date.

Where, how and in what ways have we sought honestly as a Government to officially manage, conserve and harness our diversity since 1962 to accord "equitable treatment of all the country's citizens, regardless of their ancestral origins" has escaped The Ken Gordon Group of Eminent Citizens, Mr. Justice Deyalsingh, at least 40% of the population and even the Newsday. To talk ad nauseam without the requisite walk, that you cherish, privilege and not eschew diversity is always politically correct. To agree selectively with the phraseology popularised by MP Hinds, it is "small talk" and "rum shop fodder' (Newsday 28 Aug. p 12) even to insinuate that we cater for differences in T&T. Remember that all ah we is one ( the policy of assimiltationism).

We are so serious with not taking our diversity for granted that we refuse to change the Order of the Trinity Cross Award to respect and cater for multi-religious sensitivities. The Prime Ministerial cannot pay respect to the annual Divali Nagar exposition, the premier Divali celebration, although he previously agreed to attend and participate. We are so serious about diversity management that we now have a proliferation of four Committees dealing with ethnic relations in a scatter shot approach. The right hand does not know what the left- hand doeth. Mother T&T including The Tunapuna-Piarco Regional Corporation continues to discriminate amongst her diverse children and over 300,000 nationals are poverty-stricken in the face of a booming new oil wealth bonanza and a GNP in excess of US$ 8,000.

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