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On the Israel Khan dress issue
Posted: Saturday, November 25, 2006

THE EDITOR: The suit that attorney Israel Khan was supposed to have worn and indeed the whole matter regarding wearing of a Nehru suit instead of a European suit in the courtroom is perhaps the most visible example of how much we in Trinidad should remain and indeed, desire to remain colonised. Here we are so many years after being granted independence, and up to now we have not possessed the independence of mind to create epistemologies, institutions and standards that reflect our history, culture and social reality.

It is no wonder then that our crime situation is what it is and that the various institutions that are supposed to make this country function are the muddled bureaucratic, barely efficient state they are in. We seem to be saddled with learned elites who can only think(?) deep enough to enforce dress codes that were devised by a people who are as foreign to our climate and culture as one can get; who apishly follow Western ideas of civilisation and development; who spout theories in keeping with Durkheim, Adam Smith, Keynes, Kant, Rand, Billy Graham and other irrelevant theorists. We revel in adhering to things foreign and live to be validated by the distant foreigner. Our very Carnival now panders to perceptions of the foreigner with this uncreative Las Vegas showgirl costume and if clothes alone are an indication, then the only “Caribbean man” in parliament is Gerald Yetming (it's certainly not the one who made a fuss over his choice of attire).

It's not just about the clothes; it's about the wider mentality that prevents us from taking pride in our own creativity. If at this stage we haven't yet created a mode of dress for dignified, formal occasions and places that reflects the realities of Trinidad; if at this stage we cannot yet create our own epistemological and ontological constructs, then we might as well just change back the flag

Corey Gilkes
La Romaine

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