Category Archives: Police

Thinking Race/Understanding Color

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 21, 2020

“Nobody can be properly termed educated who knows little or nothing of the history of his own race and of his country.”

—Frederick Alexander Durham, The Lone-Star of Liberia.

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIn his epoch-breaking work Capitalism and Slavery, Eric Williams noted that racism is a product of slavery. “The reason,” he says “was economic, not racial; it had to do not with the color of the labor, but the cheapness of the labor.” On the other hand, in White Over Black, Winthrop Jordan argued that racism predated slavery, citing three distinct prejudices that conditioned the English responses to Africans: our blackness, which signified filth, sin and evil; being uncivilized; and our not being Christian.
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New video emerges in Morvant police killing

By Darren Bahaw
July 09, 2020 – newsday.co.tt

PoliceA 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.
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Brute Force, Blame and Bigotry: Police Killings in Morvant

By A. Hotep
July 05, 2020

lettersSome 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.
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Protests and State Violence: Leaders Must Stop Dodging Responsibility

By Dr Tye Salandy
July 02, 2020

Dr Tye SalandyApproximately 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.
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Black American Lives Have Always Mattered…

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 29, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAbout one hundred yards north of Whitehall, there is a short street, Maxwell Philip Street, that is located between Prada and Scott streets, in St. Clair, Port of Spain. It is no more than 500 yards long. Although it is located in an affluent part of the city, it commemorates the life of a very important member of our community.

Philip, one of the most respected and accomplished Afro-Trinbagonians of the nineteenth century, might be little known to our contemporaries. However, given the impact that Black Lives Matter (BLM) is having on the present era and the interest it has generated all over the world, it might be wise to become acquainted with Philip, his importance in our history, and the enduring connection of the BLM to Afro-Trinbagonians.
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Crime and punishment T&T style

By Raffique Shah
July 25, 2019

Raffique ShahOozing from the barrels of blood that flowed from the bullet-ridden corpses of last week’s 24 murder victims and almost as many who suffered serious to critical gunshot wounds were several important lessons that we may choose to ignore, to our peril. Violent crimes have spiralled out of control, and most people are inured to the blood and gore that once shocked us. Now, spectators calmly record the macabre murders on their smart-phone cameras, video-clips to be uploaded on the Intrernet. Some achieve viral videos ratings, providing entertainment for huge audiences on social media.
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Jamming the Poor, Still

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 13, 2019

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIn 1981, after teaching in the United States for about ten years, I decided to return home for good. To do so I had to erect a personal library so I could do my work. Without my library I would be lost, so I asked my first cousin—one of those cousins who possesses the skills to do everything—to build a library at the back of my mother’s house.
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Wage war against criminals, not the media

By Raffique Shah
April 30, 2019

Raffique ShahGary Griffith’s unilateral declaration of a “cold war” on the conventional media in general, and the CCN Group in particular, was as predictable as it was inevitable. As a garrulous ex-military officer whose larger-than-life public image was literally forged by and in the mass media, he failed to understand that unlike publicists who are paid to promote a product or personality, successful media houses thrive on their fierce independence in disseminating news and views.
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Enter Gary Griffith: Act One

By Raffique Shah
September 19, 2018

Raffique ShahGary Griffith couldn’t have scripted a better opening act for his entry onto the national stage as the new Commissioner of Police, even if he were the Bard of Cascade or whatever suburb he lives in or comes from.

After six years of play-acting by career police officer Stephen Williams, and amidst much intrigue, controversy and good old Trinidad bacchanal over the selection of a new CoP, which featured principal parts played by politicians of every hue and persuasion, not to add cameos by a significant number among the “extras” in the 1.4 million population, Gary landed the starring role—and what an entry he made.
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“Don’t Talk About It; Be About It!”

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 12, 2018

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeMy first impulse was to congratulate the government for voting to appoint Gary Griffith Commissioner of Police (CoP). Whatever Griffith’s weaknesses, his appointment promised to give the police force the stability it deserves and the country the space it needs to breathe easier; that is, until Stuart Young, “Ad-minister of everything but master of nothing,” was recycled into the Ministry of National Security.

Without even being confirmed, Griffith hit the airways telling the population what he would and would not do although prudence dictated that he meet with the leadership of the police force, learn from their experiences, and tell them of his plans to make the force a more efficient unit. After such discussions, he could have determined how best to attack the monster called crime.
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