Forged in the Bowels of Corruption: Pt 1

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 14, 2017


Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeThe last time I heard, the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) was a public institution, which suggests the public owns it. This suggests further that the public (in this case, the taxpayers) have a right to know what’s taking place at “our national university” since the taxpayers have spent billions of dollars to establish this public institution.

In other words, the public has an obligation to question the raison d’etre, the pedagogical direction, and the quality of the leadership at UTT. It’s not self-evident that UTT is going in the best direction and possesses the most astute leadership.

But, things do not go so in T&T. Our national university is collapsing, the newspapers, faithful to their mission of informing the public, alert us to that fact, (Express, November 3), but the Minister of Education, scolding the public right to know, declares: “I was surprised that it was made public because we are in a process of discussion how best we can meet the challenges we face” (my italics, Express, November 4).

One is not sure who constitutes the royal “we” of this statement or what are the challenges that “we” face, apart from the loss of jobs. Minister Garcia informs us that he has met with the Prime Minister and will discuss the matter with the Finance Minister “so as to be in a better position to articulate the Government’s position,” which I presume is the royal “we.”

Fazal Karim, a UNC MP, jumps into the spree as he has every right to do. He argues the job cuts that may ensue from a UTT collapse are “deeply troubling.” He counsels: “The displaced priorities of the PNM continue unabated in all spheres of public life from stadia, golf courses, fine art and the like. Yet, the UTT board of governors and the PNM government is intent on destroying the livelihoods of UTT staff” (Express, November 4).

He says the government has no plans “for education and training or national development.” It’s content to waste the public monies and destroy “the hopes and dreams of many young people…in a most thoughtless and cold-hearted manner.”

Karim may have a point here. However, he fails to tell the country that PNM drew on the racist model UNC developed when it created the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of Technology (TTIT) to train Indo-Trinbagonians to control the energy sector at the exclusion of Africans. It is only after Brian Moore, former president of the Co-operative Credit Union League of T&T, and I exposed this racist institution in a two-part series on I95 fm in 2003 that PNM was forced to speed up the development of UTT.

TTIT built at a cost of over $100 million was almost exclusively for Indo-Trinibagonians. On September 30, 2003, I reported:

“TTIT consists of approximately eleven hundred students; seventeen full-time faculty members and about thirty-five part-time members. Of these seventeen full-time members, only one African has a permanent spot on the faculty. Fourteen members of the faculty are Indians. There is not one African who is a senior instructor on the faculty. All of the senior instructors, except one, do not have an MA degree as required by the rules of the institution. Of the part-time faculty there are no more than five African members. Approximately thirty members of the part-time faculty are Indians.

“Approximately 75 percent of the student body are Indians; about 25 percent are Africans. Perhaps about 75 percent of the students are males, 25 percent are female….There are about one hundred and twenty persons on staff of which approximately 70 percent are Indians” (, September 30, 2003).

TTIT was rife with mismanagement. In one semester, seven of the seventeen full-time instructors taught more than twenty-five hours per week. One faculty member taught as many as thirty-eight hours per week, making a salary of $23,000 a month. One instructor gave students grades without administering examinations. Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Audit Team reported that some instructors “were guilty of making up marks and were teaching too many hours.”

When the University of Houston, engaged by TTIT to evaluate its program, pointed out that many of the faculty and students did not meet the scholastic and academic requirements, its contract was terminated immediately.

I warned the government: “The newly formed Trinidad and Tobago University… is looking favorably upon TTIT as the nucleus upon which to form our new university. I would suggest that we look at TTIT more carefully before we leap, lest many of the policies, racial and otherwise, their inefficiencies, inadequate instructors and bad instructional practices be replicated in the T&T University. The T&T University ought to inform the public how it intends to proceed with its development…. There has been no such discussion about this idea.”

Today, UTT’s website proudly proclaims: “With its genesis in the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of Technology (TTIT), UTT initially focused on programmes in engineering and technology. Today’s programmes, however go far beyond engineering and technology to a full spectrum of educational opportunities.”

If TTIT is the genesis of UTT, is there any wonder why UTT is in the mess it is today? And where was Karin and his UNC colleagues when TTIT was perpetrating a callous racial and financial fraud on our citizens?

20 thoughts on “Forged in the Bowels of Corruption: Pt 1”

  1. Reading your piece of 2003 Dr C, utter contempt and horror is what engulfed my psyche. How such callousness can happen, and continued under the Kamla Besessar administration is beyond my imagination. Valentino’ calypso in 1970, Trinidad is nice, a paradise, he also told us who benefited from the country’ niceness. Trinidad’ so-called democracy, particularly encompassing the two major ethnic groups, needs statuary political watchdogs, to scrutinize how state finances are implemented. Trinidad also need social science specialists to mirror the ills of what passes as Democracy in T&T. Trinidad, should have no predominant Indian enclave community regardless of the pass history vis-a-vis the sugar plantation, it seems that the Africans history of not being racist to other ethnic groups, have historically come back with devastating effects to hurt them in all possible way. no one is willing to call out the true effects causing the young black male/female to fail, the forces stacked against them is condense and well calibrated, making the victim look like the victimizer. The concerted efforts to keep the African down under all circumstances, is well documented in Trinidad, in 2003, while seeking work i Trinidad, i was directed to two Indian business places doing Telecom, the manager of one called me at my mothers home one night , to come for an interview which i did, he never contacted me for a job, the other business place at point Lisas, told me that i was over qualified, i was given an interview with an African top man at TSTT, who was also the Airports Authority chairman at the time, after 3 months of seeing him on a biweekly basis, nothing came through, people in the know, told me later, not knowing me , is the reason for my not being employed. Finally, i was directed to a TSTT contractor down south oropouche, an African man, his small workforce, was made up of only Indians, because of his domestic relationships, the African issues in Trinidad runs deep among his people, plus the added discrimination of the Indian businesses. We need to expose under all conditions these ills that calculatively reject the aspiring African man/woman, making him/her victims of other peoples ill deeds. Africans suffer the world over, not because of his/her own doing, but of rooted hatred imposed, only to be labeled and castigated. This burning issue of African demise by both gov’ts of African and Indian origin will and must come to and end, in retrospect, this might be the crime foundation in Trinidad and Tobago.

    1. Most interesting, I have been there and done that. About 3 years ago after months of seeking a faculty post with my focus in the Caribbean and hoping for an opportunity in Trinidad and Tobago I did get an interview. Met with a search team out of UTT which lasted about an hour. About six weeks later I had a call indicating UTT was prepared to make me an offer. My excitement was almost uncontained, but kept it controlled being at another academic institution in the sates. About an hour and half later had another call which I was told to expect. To my surprise the follow-up call was not an offer but instead I was told by the party at the other end of the line ‘UTT could not pay me’. They could have kept the call. In spite of, I am still hopefully. Coming soon TGIFA.ORG

  2. Is the author defending or rationalizing the failure of UTT by criticizing and exposing the genesis of TTIT?

    Is the author suggesting that there a connection between the racial composition of TTIT and the failure of UTT?

    Is the author suggesting that UTT is failing because it imitated and followed the model practiced by TTIT?

    Would the author’s time be better spent analyzing the root causes of the failure of UTT and making recommendations for improvement?

    Once again the author chose to go down the racial and unproductive political road to nowhere.

  3. Somebody better hurry up and give this piper a” National Award” so he can feel relevant.Not Chaconia nor Ibis but maybe “Timarie”or “Zuti”.It cant be Mr. Rowley though, because he done run his mouth on him when Mr. manning was around.The Nutty Professor’s thinking is one of the main reasons why we are in this Racial mess.I “lump” him together with Sat, and Two regular bloggers on this Forum. Thanks for listening……..Ya Listening..!!!!!!?????.

  4. Dear TMan:

    Won’t it be better to wait until I am finished with my series before you jump to the conclusion that I am going “down the racial road.” Is there anything that I said to which you object; have I misrepresented anyone or anything; and doesn’t the art of reading and analyzing consists in seeking out the genesis of a condition before one proposed a solution. If there is anything that I have said suggests that I am going down a racist road you must point that out to me. And if there is any other way to read the genesis of UTT then you must let me know, that is, if you choose to ignore the words of UTT Profile that reads: “With its genesis in the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of Technology (TTIT), UTT focused on programs in engineering and technology.”

    You would recognize that I began by questioning “the raisom d’etre, the pedagogical direction and the quality of leadership of UTT” at the present time. That should presage a query that locates itself in the future rather than the past.

    So don’t get so defensive. Follow me and then tell me if you agree with my conclusions or not and, if so, what would you suggest that I went wrong.

    In respect,

  5. In life there is the pursuit of reason, logic and rationalization. This article confused all three, one cannot see reason and logic but a there is lot of rationalization going on. The rationalization is based on a skewered world view. We cannot rationalization the deliberate attempt by the government to close such an important institution. It is nothing but the height of wajangism based on the thesis statement “we in charge, deal with it”. We see the manifestation of such behaviour in the Couva Hospital, the UWI south campus and the Point Fortin highway. All tax payer funded but “non negotiables” according to the PNM world view as espoused by those in charge “we should give them people nuttin” dey eh vote for us.

    In case some are surprise, it has always been the modus operandi of the PNM to punish the people in return they will love you more. We have seen it as they lay off thousands, no protest, increase taxes in all budgets, the last one a few protest. When the PP was in charge we had mahatma Ghandi protesting the highway, mannequin man dragging a mannequin all over the place, aunty Verna walking around with a doll in a Pram spitting water, thousands of red and ready outside parliament, and a daily slew of anti PP reporting along with the usual cuss out over the radio. Yes it was a rough ride. Today folks TNT have the government we deserve and the plebbians are happy as this reporter seem to believe.

  6. The African disdain for knowlege higher education is rooted in the Caribbean African psyche. It is natural for Indians to pursue higher learning. Fazal Karim have been perhaps one of the most brilliant minds in the last UNC administration. He was the architect of an education revolution that the PNM has now flush down the toilet. The strongest PNM voter base is Laventille where they never lost an election. High crime, low education and ignorance rule the day. The result is over achievement in the area of violence and bastardization. It pains me to mention Laventille but that is the reality. It has been that way since independence.

    The African and Indian contribution to the world.
    Famous Indian Leaders.
    Mukesh Ambani Overtakes Chinese Billionaire To Become Richest Man In Asia
    Satya Nadella is Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft
    Pichai Sundararajan, also known as Sundar Pichai, is chief executive officer of Google.
    Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi is an Indian American business executive and the current Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo.

    Famous African Leaders.
    In his eight years as the leader of Uganda, Amin earned the nickname The Butcher, over 500, 000 people who were massacred under his rule.
    Joseph Kony-Uganda
    As leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Kony was responsible for recruiting child soldiers, up to 1000 people were being massacred per week.
    Bosco Ntanganda-Rwanda
    Bosco, also known affectionately as The Terminator, is responsible for somewhere in the region of 800,000 combined deaths, not to mention the countless human rights abuses

    1. Ian Smith has sadly been proved right
      By Graham Boynton
      12:01AM GMT 22 Nov 2007

      Ian Smith only once doubted the wisdom of his decision to declare UDI and lead Rhodesia into a 15-year civil war to protect white rule.

      That moment of doubt occurred in April 1980, during a meeting with Robert Mugabe, who the previous day had taken office as the first Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.
      Mugabe had summoned Smith to Government House and Smith was surprised to be greeted with a warm handshake and a broad smile; after all, the country’s new Marxist leader had promised his people that, come liberation, he would have Smith publicly hanged in Harare’s main square.

      At that meeting, Mugabe told Smith he was acutely aware that he had inherited from his old adversaries, the whites, a jewel of a country, and he praised its superb infrastructure, its efficient modern economy, and promised to keep it that way.

      Smith, completely disarmed, rushed home in a state of excitement, and, over lunch, told his wife, Janet, that perhaps he had been wrong about a black government being incapable of running his beloved Rhodesia.

      As he told me years later: “Here’s this chap, and he was speaking like a sophisticated, balanced, sensible man. I thought: if he practises what he preaches, then it will be fine. And for five or six months it was fine…”

      The simple, trusting banality of Ian Smith’s words may, in fact, offer more clues to the catastrophe that has been Rhodesia/Zimbabwe over the past half-century than any number of political or academic tracts.

      The point is Mugabe was not the sophisticated, balanced, sensible man Smith had briefly hoped for. Even as he was shaking Smith’s hand, he was plotting the destruction of another group of political enemies, the Matabele, and was soon to send Korean-trained troops into Matabeleland to conduct a campaign of torture and murder that has still to be fully exposed.

      It is estimated that between 10,000 and 20,000 civilians were murdered and as many again disfigured and tortured in what the Matabeles call the gukuruhundi, the washing away after the storm.

      The sensible chap, in fact, turned out to be the type of African leader that “good old Smithy”, as his supporters called him, had campaigned against throughout the UDI years. He became the embodiment of corrupt, violent, amoral African dictatorship – just as Smith had warned his supporters.

      Let us not forget the context of Smith’s determination to hang on to white rule in the 1960s.

      At the time that he claimed to be defending “civilised standards”, Rhodesians had already witnessed the flight of Belgian refugees from the Congo; Idi Amin had trashed Uganda, and Mobutu Sese Seko was about to introduce an even more brutal and dysfunctional regime in neighbouring Zaire; immediately to the north of Rhodesia, Kaunda’s Zambia was in a mess, riddled with corruption and economically mismanaged, and Malawi was being similarly misruled by the eccentric despot Hastings Banda. So why, Smith argued, would Mugabe be any different?

      Why, indeed.

      Smith was a simple man and it was his rather humourless, one-dimensional Rhodesian-ness that at once made him a hero among his own people and a figure of derision among his enemies.

      I spent hours interviewing him for a book I was writing in the early 1990s and he never once smiled or told a joke. He was the same dour, Calvinistic character whom I had so strongly opposed as a young white liberal growing up in Rhodesia, and who at the time represented all that was wrong about white minority rule in Africa.

      At our meetings, he spoke endlessly about how Rhodesians had been more British than the British, how Churchill – had he been alive – would almost certainly have emigrated from corrupt, liberal England to Rhodesia, and how this small community of decent, fair-minded whites had been betrayed by, well, just about everybody he could think of – the Tories, Labour, the Afrikaners, the OAU, the UN. Not surprisingly, he called his ponderous autobiography The Great Betrayal.

      It was easy to mock Ian Smith, but he was right – both about the betrayals and about the quality of most African politicians.

      He has particular resonance this week, as heads of the Commonwealth convene in Uganda, a country with an interesting democratic history.

      However ponderous, however humourless and unsophisticated he was, Smith had run a successful emerging African country and, although the whites were the main beneficiaries, there was increasing prosperity among the black population.

      Above all there was a sound, intelligently managed economy, free from the post-colonial blight of corruption.

      Today, Zimbabwe is a failed state with a non-functioning economy, a once-flourishing agricultural sector now moribund, and a population on the brink of starvation.

      According to a UN Development Programme index, life expectancy there today is one of the lowest in the world. So much for liberation.

      Although the first 20 years of Mugabe’s rule saw a slow, somewhat even-paced decline, the calamitous collapse has been achieved in little more than half a decade, an extraordinary feat of self-destruction when one considers that it took more than a century for Ian Smith’s white antecedents to carve a modern, functioning, European-style society out of raw African bushveld.

      But that has been the story of post-colonial Africa and, although this week’s obituaries will largely dismiss Smith as a colonial caricature, a novelty politician from another age, if you were to go to Harare today and ask ordinary black Zimbabweans who they would rather have as their leader – Smith or Mugabe – the answer would be almost unanimous. And it would not be Mugabe.

      It is perfectly ironic that Mugabe’s deputy information minister, Bright Matonga, when told of Smith’s death this week, described him as a man “who brought untold suffering to millions of Zimbabweans”.

      Those words surely apply more to his own leader than to Ian Smith.

      1. “However ponderous, however humourless and unsophisticated he was, Smith had run a successful emerging African country and, although the whites were the main beneficiaries, there was increasing prosperity among the black population.

        Above all there was a sound, intelligently managed economy, free from the post-colonial blight of corruption”

        I am not sure about the relevance this excerpt of Rhodesian history, is to our democracy here but I surmise that it has something to do with either our similar colonial past or white people’s superiority in maintaining order and organizational rule. Or Maybe it is an incremental supplement to Mamoo’s self appointed Indian supremacy and his richer than thou concentration of Indian wealth power over Africans. However intended, I find these arguments unhelpful to understanding our own dilemma here. If I might spare a moment to tell Mamoo that I have a member of my family who work in very close collusion with Indra Nooyi who as President of PepsiCo is doing a fantastic job and I’m sure does not subscribe to the idiocy of Mamoo’s propagandistic illusions.

        However intended, I feel that conversations remain more relevant when our intentions are towards the topic of discussions, rather than showcasing ethnic superiority over Africans.

    2. So we will just ignore Dr. Eric Williams, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. Lloyd Best, Dr. Terrance Farrell, Mr. Frederick Douglas, Mr. Walter Rodney and scores of others.

      Your claim is based on an extremely faulty premise and I have a very hard time that you truly believe what you wrote.

      Rather, you likely trying to provoke a response from folks.

      I responded to your post, so I guess your tactic works, to a certain extent.

  7. Mamoo, what do you have to gain by mi-information and dis-information? Indians don’t make up even 10& of the English caribbean population,Per capita, Nigerians are the most educated in the world, Africans in the caribbean are they not some of the most astute among all the ethnic groups? have you ever read of Africans buying degrees of higher learning? we bust our ASS to get good collegiate scores. Your job is to continually diminish the African so you can feel good, the propaganda you espouse shows how lacking you are in formal education, knowledge is not acquired through formal education, you continue to copy and paste what you read , without no form of research, how ignorant and backward you are, what you read in the white press, you run with, there are more Indian American and Indians in USA prisons of fraud and corruption convictions, why don’t you put it in print? “the good dog is yours, so is the bad dog” show some objectivity MAMoo,which Indian billionaire, have over taken his Chinees counterpart where was that publish? maybe you would get a heart attack if you are shown some of the great MAHARAJA’ of India.

    1. Hell you prove my point with that illiterate conjecture, that reflects the limited vocabulary you have. But tell me GATE was started by Bas in the dollar for dollar program. Manning improve on it. Kamla excelled on it and now Rowley has killed it.

      We see the same with all educational program started by the PP

      1. Let’s call a spade a spade and a hoe a hoe.

        The PNM, in spite of its many, many, glaring faults, its historical inefficiency, incompetence, its lack of clear vision and its cluelessness and inability to deal with the criminality of its ethnic support base, has ALWAYS managed to govern the country with a certain level of class.

        The UNC however was a different kettle of fish. They governed without class; they had no class, none of them, starting with Kamla who painted her own ugly picture of herself as a drunk, a personality of deceit and untruthfulness, an absolutely stranger to Principle and Integrity, both moral and cerebral.

        As for the Indo/Hindu component of her Cabinet? Ah pack ah shameless bribe taking thieves! Orl ah dem! Dey shudda been locked up and keys thrown away a long time ago.

        But again, is PNM incompetence and lethargy to blame for orl ah dem UNC tief still being outside.

    2. I DO NOT support the view that one race is superior to or better than another, or specifically that East Indians are superior to or better than African in any form or fashion.

      However, having said that, I am prepared to state that in Trinidad and Tobago the descendants of African slaves have not not kept pace economically or educationally with the descendants of East Indian indentured workers.

      I will go further to state that the mentality of the grassroots, economically deprived African-TrinBagonian, again referring to Trinidad and Tobago alone, is diametrically opposed to that of a similarly circumstanced Indo-TrinBagonian.

      In terms of education and self improvement, again in reference to Trinidad and Tobago alone, there is a vast difference in that one group sees sacrifice, education, hard work (which I admit many times involves skull-duggery, fraud and white collar crime as the means out of poverty, whereas the other group sees banditry/brazen robbery with violence and other acts of serious violence as the preferred option while their offspring in schools see bullying, extortion and simply taking what they want from others as an inalienable entitlement.

      Maybe the eminent Professor Cudjoe can shed some light on this phenomenon

      1. BTW, For those who would want to split hairs in reference to some of my above comments, obviously I am not referring to every single member of either group because that would not be factual, there are exceptions, but I am speaking generally, my comments based on my experiences and observation as well of those of many others, media reports, court records, of course the ethnic composition of the incarcerated population and a perusal of the TTPS’s “Most Wanted” list.

      2. Nobody is looking at superior or inferior when it comes to race. But the lessons of history is there for the none so blind. Forbes Burnham was one of the most brutal dictators the Caribbean ever had. He stole, kill and sent packing over 300,000 Indo Guyanese. I met some of them who escaped the brutal dictator. I met a man who told me an Indian woman jumped into a latrine to escape being raped, she left Guyana and is basically none functional because she was so traumatized. As for him he show me his hand where the bullet went through and only escaped death because his mother threw a blanket over him and covered him. They came shouting “kill the coolie”. He was raise by his grandmother, he had no bitterness towards those who did this to him, rather his voice indicated to me he felt sorry for them. I stayed by a Guyanese man who would wake up at certain times in the night, he told me he was part of the village patrol and he had to be up at certain times of the night to stand guard.

        But we had our own little dictator here thanks to an election his brutality was stopped. Upon assuming the Primeministership Patrick Manning made a deal with Abu Bakr that saw over 300 kidnappings of indo businessmen and their traumatized families. Of course all was not done by Abu henchmen. But quarries were given to Abu…
        Manning himself said the kidnappings were targeted. They had a list they were working from.

        Folks an education is suppose to make you a productive member of society. You are suppose to protect your fellowmen, and lift the standard of living for all. Not use your influence to foster dictatorship.

  8. Did the investigation into the demographics of TTIT students include applicants, qualification and intake?
    I think this information would be crucial to prove the racial bias.

  9. There are those who question idealism. Idealism is a noun, which means it is ‘thing’ that most civilizations were created from or formed by hoping to reach a philosophical consensus by which most or all people can live by. Earlier forms of idealism were taken from the works of men like Aristotle, Plato and Socrates. It therefore can be described as making contributions to logic, metaphysics, mathematics, physics, biology, botany, ethics, politics, agriculture, medicine, dance and theatre. Those are the ideals from which laws were generated, passed in constitutions and accepted as paths for mankind to live in harmony. Without idealism or relegating to quixotic solutions is the surest way towards societal breakdowns.

    So, it is with this in mind I reply to my friends who think that idealism should take a backseat to expediency. When solutions are based purely or mostly on expediency, it cannot last or be expected to be solutions to achieve narrow ends. This is what I believe the gist of Dr Cudjoe’s article is all about. In Trinidad we practice the politics of metooism. Which means that those coming from behind, expect to get (from government) what those in prior years got, without taking into consideration the circumstances that existed before their coming.

    Before educational competition began by the two major ethnic groups, education was considered a major requirement towards development by men like Lord Harris and John Jacob Thomas. The latter being a man who rose from slavery to being one of the most important educator this country has known. Today, that same requirement (educational) is seen as an advantage for one group (Indians) to upend ethnic educational superiority. Recent history will confirm that when the UTT concept was put into practice, most Indian professionals saw it as a means (by the PNM) to fast forward African education, thereby making educational contests fairer. When the UNC was handed the reins of government people like Gopeesingh and Karim wasted no time in making sure that this (contest) did not reached its desired ends (Africans to catch up with Indians).

    If we are to go forward as a people, we have to go back to principles by which Lord Harris and John Jacob Thomas spent their adult lives trying to accomplish – trying to make society responsive to the challenges we face to make our country a better place to liv, work and build families. This way we can build a brighter and better future for our nation’s image to promote a cultural identity.

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