Intellectual Honesty

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 29, 2016

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIn the latter part of the 19th century when thinkers were reducing Karl Marx’s notion of man’s economic dimensions (an analysis he began in Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844) to saying man is an economic animal exclusively, Frederick Engels wrote to Joseph Bloch on September 21, 1890: “According to the materialist conception of history, the ultimately determining element in history is the production and reproduction of real life. Other than this neither Marx nor I ever asserted. Hence if somebody twists this into saying that the economic element is the only determining one, he transforms that proposition into a meaningless, abstract, senseless phrase.”

The crucial words in these sentences, as italicized in the original, are “ultimately” and “only.”

Over the years Raymond Ramcharitar has been working overtime to distort remarks I made in a lecture “Learning and Education in Trinidad and Tobago” on November 1, 2003. After hurling his imprecations against the Black Caucus Movement, he argues: “The precursor to these sentiments was the Central Bank Director/Professor who was going around between 1997-2007 saying at UWI, Indians were taking over the TTIT (UTT), and that Indian teachers were not teaching black children in primary schools” (Guardian, August 17).

For purposes of brevity, I will only deal with the last sentence quoted above.

In an address of 5,539 words, I said: “The education system is not working for African students. I do not know whether some Indian teachers teach our children and/or offer the same tenacity when they teach African children as they do when they teach students of their own kind.”

The next paragraph read: “Correspondingly, I do not know if African teachers are as diligent as they ought to be when it comes to teaching our children and if they understand their responsibilities towards them” (, November 13, 2003).

It follows that if one extracts one sentence (“Indian teachers were not teaching black children in the primary schools”) inaccurately from the larger context of meaning one distorts my argument and makes a dishonest polemical claim.

The evidence of 2016 shows my observations of 2003 to be correct. If, as the evidence suggests, “The educational system is not working for the African student,” it follows necessarily that Indian and African teachers, for the most part, are not teaching our children.

In 2003 Trevor Oliver, former president of TUTA, condemned my statement and sought to absolve all teachers from blame. I responded: “I do not lay the blame for the underperformance of African students solely on teachers.” I also quoted the T&T Chamber of Commerce statement that said: “The current education system does not serve the majority of the nation’s children.” (“Truth Comes to the Surface,”, November 18, 2003).

I am a supremely qualified and accomplished educator. I was a monitor and a pupil teacher at Tacarigua A.C. and an assistant teacher at Point Fortin and Curepe A.C. before I left Trinidad to study in the United States.

In the United States, I kept up my interest in education. I was a member of a sub-committee of the Massachusetts Board of Education; I contributed to the debate of Harvard University’s Core Curriculum in the 1970s that changed the approach to education in the United States; I served as a member of several doctoral committees at Harvard University’s School of Education; and my essay, “What I Teach and Why” was published in the Harvard Educational Review in 1979 and has been reprinted since.

I have been an expert witness in murder cases in Florida (“The Circuit Court in and for the Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange County”) and California although I did not appear in court on the latter occasion. I testified as a cultural and multicultural expert as it pertained to the US and the Caribbean.

I have spent the past two months at Harrow Schools for Boys investigating the curriculum that shaped William Hardin Burnley, the biggest slave owner in Trinidad. Harrow, a famous public school in London, has produced seven British Prime Ministers. Apart from examining Harrow archives, I have read J. G. Cotton Minchin, Old Harrow Days (1898), Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown’s School Days (1857), and David Turner, The Old Boys: The Decline and Rise of the Public Schools (2015), during the period.

As an educator and a scholar, I do not make irresponsible statements. Correspondingly, I expect my antagonists to be equally as responsible when they respond to my positions. If Ramcharitar believes my analysis is “the precursor” to the sentiments expressed by the Black Caucus and other advocates of black liberation, he has an obligation to demonstrate that proposition in a coherent and scholarly fashion.

Intellectual honesty demands that Ramcharitar respond responsibly to my lecture, “Learning and Education,” rather than cannibalize a decontextualized snippet of what I wrote.

19 thoughts on “Intellectual Honesty”

  1. The problem with education in T&T has very little to do with Indian and African teachers as it relates to their biases, but rather with the archaic curriculum,poor learning conditions, outdated instructional techniques, examination and evaluation methods which date back to the Industrial revolution and a parent body which insists that traditional academic learning equals a good education.
    Compounding all of that are successive governments which fail to accommodate learning disabilities, divergent learning and creativity.

  2. Professor, I agree with you. I question who is responsible for encouraging this divisiveness between our people. Dr. Williams, a scholar (I apologize for misrepresenting the Hon. Williams’ speeches in the past due to my lack of understanding the history of our people) wanted to bring unity in the form of equal education for all regardless of creed, race, gender, etc. But the history of our education was consistently ruled by the Catholic Church and the white elite and to some extent, we are experiencing this ripple effect where the Hindus want recognition without true meaningful integration
    I cannot support that view.

    Yes! We need to come together as one nation and one people but the reality is we live in a very unequal place. The wealthy elite fuels corruption and encourages racism and they do this with such ease and grace that it serves as a distraction to our ignorant eyes. They control the newspapers, the television, advertisements, import/export, food and distribution and sadly our future.
    I feel discontent when I see our Flag waving at the gates of Amalagated Securities(the largest in the Caribbean company that pays our people less than a living wage),or hear EMT workers from Global Medical Response/Amalagated Securities discuss their pay rate of TT$35/hr (both indo and afro), while the corporation, a subsidiary of Amalagamated is paid close to $400US per trip…or read about suspicious fires in POS with hundreds of dollars in merchandise losses and where investigations are unchecked,or where a prominent businessman’s son pollute our colleges by abusing the trust of young women and post photos that destroy future careers and no one is arrested…, or read about dead fish in our ocean that serves to benefit wealthy activists with private interests…all to the detriment to poor Afro, Indo and mixed people. or read articles about environment protection, written by experts who also have private stakes in high end property and blatantly burn protected forests for private interest without seeking govt. approval…or drugs that are found in cans that are packaged professionally with expensive factory seals and etc….it is very frustrating to live here and witness the injustice..

    We need to integrate a stronger early education based on science and validated by research and best practices without regard to religious affiliation or beliefs. Learning is a skill that will elevate our people and change their way of thinking. This task is very time consuming and our government is challenged with corruption from the private sector…they are crushing our dreams of unity..the folks who came here as investors selling trinkets…but we can change this when educators from our universities share their research with our government and lead us into the light of critical thinking…and the truth..

  3. I was reading Kamla Persad Bissessar’s Independence message and found only one quotable sentence to which I believe, was made to fit our experience after Independence. She stated, “History does record those nameless patriots whose labour and sacrifice prepared the foundation for our independence.”

    I would not delve into honesty or purpose on her part in advocating this truism. But it is the only reflection of truth (without a political tint, I hope), that really come to the core on who and what made this nation a prosperous one. Our history has shown us to be very political, when considering contributions to the development of this country. There are literally thousands of ordinary people who go to their given places of employment every single day, work honestly to generate a productive cycle of achievement. Go back home to their families, attend to the welfare of their loved ones, participate to the pressing issues surrounding their communities, build and elevate their environments and are NEVER NOTICED for the contributions. They make sustained productive efforts to keep their neighborhoods safe, sacrifice their time through the webbed agencies of government to attain simple rewards. And yet, their contributions remain unnoticed, un-rewarding and ghostlike.

    Perusing our daily media, one would NEVER get the impression that such individuals exist. Instead, there is a phrase that says “empty vessels make the most noise”. Those “empty vessels are usually motivated not by the productive citizenry. But by what they see as the denial of their rightful claims to share in the national pie. Those making such claims have nothing in their backgrounds to show for their contributions to the society. They are usually mouth pieces, representing pockets of uneasiness that are still in action but always seeking entitlements to national prosperity. The comatose media usually rush to air these grievances without even examining the objectivity of their claims. But by exposure to national media, those complainers are usually heralded “leaders” who air grievances of their “troubled” communities. Our media NEVER takes the initiatives to study or educate us on the nature or history of what they have done to mirror their concerns but pile us with their piety of privileges.

    Take for example the author of my quotation. Now that she is out of power, she knows and imparts righteous expectations of what exemplifies good citizenship. But as a leader of the people, there is hardly one accomplishment that she can lay claim to to exact a meaningful contribution that we can all acclaim to her initiatives. She counsels Dr. Rowley on his government’s failure to arrest crime. Even suggested that Dr. Rowley look at her record as an example on how to combat crime.

    What she exposes on such a policy, is her lack of understanding to use the law fraternity to better the lives of citizens. On taking up the mantle of leadership, her first mistakes were to
    dis-enfranchise or dis-credit some of those who have made genuine contributions to our development. Allowed our then maligned Attorney General, Anand Ramlogan to seek refund and retribution from our now Principal of U.W.I, professor Brian Copeland to return the nation, his claim of inventing the scientific achievement and acclaim of the G-Pan. He fought tooth and nail to nullify the professor’s achievement. Then there was Malcolm Jones, the Chairman of Petrotrin. Because of his party affiliation, the same Anand Ramlogan sought to use the judiciary to identify him as a thief and failure at the helm of our energy successes. Jones was in fact the first Chairman to lead Petrotrin towards an income of past one billion dollars. Then there was David West, a pick to lead the Police Complaints Authority, that most people believed was a brilliant one. But the same Anand would have none of David’s achievement without first, extracting from him, a misplaces loyalty, of offering to lie, so he can please Anand’s desire to diminish those, in Anand’s mind, do not deserve what they genuinely earned. Now, with Anand’s demise, Kamla has introduced and floated her next guru, Gerald Ramdeen as our next profiteer of judiciary assertiveness. Who and what is Ramdeem is anyone’s guess.
    what we do know of him is that he profited handsomely from Anand’s stay as Attorney General and the money Anand expended for “lawful” purposes was astronomical.

    So, as we celebrate Independence, yes, we should pay attention to those who contributed but were otherwise insignificant in the rewards of what the country had to offer. By the same token we should reject the promotion of cherished iconoclasts who are presented to us as mantles of our sovereignty, but are mere profiteers of those who really worked towards building a better and stable society. We should also watch those who claim leadership and extract what they do have and shared with to be so deemed.

  4. Brother Neal, I think you are best suited to deal with this.
    Our good friend whose boasts are continually ringing in our ears about his l-o-o-o-v-e-e for India-a-a-a would appreciate this. This is a good opportunity for him to switch with Ranuka’s scholarship with his son.
    He is preparing his son for university and I’m sure she would not mind Mahmoo’s son as her replacement.

  5. Funny stuff Brother K. What do yah know folks – an obvious- low caste / indentured descendant-Trini , left her country of birth ,to go to fake Democratic India , to study Hindi, and somehow is surprise ,that she is treated as rat feces, for all her efforts.
    As for that ‘country hating ,super troll Mamboo,’ he might enjoy coming across, on ‘dis here Trini Center Nation ,’ as a simi literate nitwit , ”but stupid he ain’t ,Mi Hermano- trust me on dat.
    Mamboo, or his Siamese Twin,TMan, ain’t want nada to do with those ancestral lands- hell holes, of either India, Pakistan, and Nepal.
    Dem boys love White fiefdoms such as Australia,Mama Britain ,and Pax Americana.
    There during their studies, they may find a White ,long suffering creature to marry, and so help lighten up the historically dark skin tribal family, eeeehhh?

    To prove my point , here is ever ecstatic Basdeo , going to see his Scottish son in law, Y El Nieto, si? .

    Oh, and by de way, let de record show , that decades ago, Basdeo, had a chance, to take up some opaque Indian Government Commonwealth scholarship , but gave dem the middle finger , opting instead ,to grab the more lucrative post ,as a Caroni Union leader,and de rest – as we like to say on the streets- is history.

    Here is the bigger issue Brother K, that’s worth chewing on as an … ummmm…’intellectually honest ,’ exercise :- If the Nigerian, South African, Congolese, Somalian , or Sudanese government ,was paying 3 million to an Afro Trini bloke, to go and study some similar nonsense in their respective country, and such student would wisely refuse, why the hell again will a seemingly intelligent/ Bollywood wanabe -Trini Chica ,accept this escapist adventure, to India ?
    Just maybe , these ‘Brown/ Black -neo triumphalist cretins,’ aren’t as smart as they claim , si?

    With citizens like these , who needs enemies , Brother Kian?
    As we speak , I’m putting the finishing touches , on a ‘win/ win ,difference making- Human Security initiative,’ that might help elevate mi underachieving / tribally fractured Pias, while furthering the cause for Humanity.
    Let’s quit wasting energies , on these non patriotic folks.
    Stay Vigilant!

  6. “2016 shows my observations of 2003 to be correct. If, as the evidence suggests, “The educational system is not working for the African student,” it follows necessarily that Indian and African teachers, for the most part, are not teaching our children.”

    Learning involves several factors, in today’s world with laptops and the information super highway, students have billions of bytes of information at their finger tips. Simply put there is no excuse for failure. We live in the Information Age. This year the world celebrated 25 years of Internet access.

    The past regime gave children laptops for the specific purpose of enhancing knowlege. However we see that being “clawed back” and PNM appologist Kian asking all kinds of silly questions about the program in the past.

    In the UK the top A level students were Africans from Africa, African children from the Caribbean were doing very poorly. Is it the cultural ethos of “entitlement” resulting in none performance of African children in the Caribbean. I remember how much my parents pushed me to learn after I had developed a dislike for school due to the incessant physical abuse mete out to me in the form of a ruler bearing down on my calves by an ignorant teacher. Yes I was lifted and dragged to school each day to face my abuser. Thankfully my persistent mother made sure I had an education.

    Two of my neighbors were teachers along with aunts and uncles. I can tell you they were good teachers wanting the students to succeed. They both worked in schools with predominant Africana children. One said to me “boy them children head hard like they can’t take the education, I does try my best with them”. The other one said about the same thing. Now how could it be their fault when the children are not absorbing the information. A teacher can teach but the child must be able to absorb and understand the information.

    Yes there were teachers who did not care and there will always be those, but one have to be careful not to “tar” all with the same brush.

  7. “The current education system does not serve the majority of the nation’s children.” (“Truth Comes to the Surface,”, November 18, 2003).”

    No education system has truly served the majority of the nation’s population, that is why the carriculum must be reviewed ever 5 years. When I was in school I learned, sin, cos, tan, o/h, a/h, o/a (trigonometry). Have I ever used it? NO but I am sure it is still being taught today. What I would have preferred to learn was how to do your taxes. Taxes is an everyday event but I went through the school system not learning the basic principles of taxation. It would have benefitted me more back then to learn how to problem solve. Hopefully in today’s school environment they are teaching that. Problem solving is an everyday event yet I went through school not knowing anything about it.

    In Agriculture class I learned about soil types which was beneficial but along with that I would have preferred to do some practical planting of crops. Fortunately I learn from my mom and still enjoy my backyard garden. I learn nothing about fertilizers all through my school years, yet I could not eat tomatoes that was not fertilized.

    There is a need for the more everyday practical aspect to education. Education should be revisited and the Japanese style of learning modeled (second or third economy in the world). Surely they are doing something right.

  8. ” There is a need for the more everyday practical aspect to education. Education should be revisited and the Japanese style of learning modeled (second or third economy in the world). Surely they are doing something right.” Mamboo

    Dear Lord ,and can it get any worse people, these lame brain ideas, by our resident Mayaro drunk?
    Speaking of education, or rather-lack thereof, if a Hell do exist , your Papa , will surely be the first to enter , for his failure ,to ensure you acquire some schooling.
    Lo Siento Mamboo,Estás mintiendo. It’s virtually impossible, to learn trigonometry ,if you only try to enter school ,during the August holidays , when the institution’s doors are close.
    Just kidding, mi country hating Piazzano.
    Don’t worry , some country , might be tempted ,to drop an Atomic bomb , or two, on us like was done in Nagasaki, & Hiroshima.
    If we are lucky, they’ll force us to likewise submit to their will/ thoroughly ,reshape us socially, and psychologically , in similar Yankee style, then we can emerge as an Technological, Industrial giant, who hates wars- just like the Japanese folks.
    Your tribe cannot even agree to quit statutory rapes of little girls , under de stupid guise of proclaimed religions- thus forcing numerous ,to be deprived of any semblance of education, since Independence, but yet you are blabbering away, about ‘practical learning,’ Japanese fashion.
    What the hell do you know about Japanese folks? 99% of them are Buddhist- not practitioners of Islam, Christianity, or Hindustani, like we have here.
    Therein lies a major key to their success- whether good or bad. One – monolithic-people , one nation , one purpose , united by a common humiliating, neo genocidal tragedy, who were allowed to flourish peacefully, due to the protection given ,by their conniving Imperial Benefactor , Pax Americana .
    In contrast, 48% of our population , walks around wailing about the evils of Indentureship, even though in actuality , they came out of it ,laughing like real estate bandits.
    They in turn , think they are vastly superior , to the other 49%, whose ancestors , endured 400 years of Barbarian slavery- and never compensated in the end.
    They likewise , wish to take all credit , for any scintilla of success , our country achieved, while finger pointing, and casting blame , for all our socio – political woes , on said historically maligned folks.
    Sadly , every policy , social initiative ,personal interaction,business , or political collaboration ,that’s attempted by your tribe – in de history of this country-was done ,with one aim – promotion of narrow ,self interest.
    I’m talking about high end Tobago East/ Couva political alliance, to some low end ,roast corn selling , bake ,& shark, or Gerra Pork, business damblay,si?
    We have a unique opportunity, to build on our differences , toward a common ,win/win , positive end, but for the actions of misguided , delusional , competing elites.
    As for the future?
    No Se.
    Stay Vigilant people!

    1. Kian wrote
      “Your tribe cannot even agree to quit statutory rapes of little girls , under de stupid guise of proclaimed religions- thus forcing numerous ,to be deprived of any semblance of education, since Independence, but yet you are blabbering away, about ‘practical learning,’ Japanese fashion”

      Underage age marriages are against the law in India. A girl must be age 18 to be married. I don’t support underage marriage, nor do I think the over 1,000 of schoolgirls from your tribe who get pregnant under 18 should be having babies without a papa. So how do we fix that leave it up to bastardization?

      Africa holds the record for underage marriage and so to Islamic nations. Get your facts straight.

      1. Mamoo, I know and expect lies and dishonesty from you because you are the scorpion in Neal’s analogy of the scorpion and the frog. I do not mind being associated with the quote you credited to me. But to explicitly quote me as the author is a blatant lie and propagandistic. You are forever trying to bring the conversation to marriage as if the word is panacea to sound living. I am not going to engage in your folly about marriage but I do take umbrage to your lies and dishonesty about me.

  9. Actually the most famous statutory rapist in T&T is the present PM, a school girl when he was a teacher in that community.
    So far he has revealed two sons with different mothers out of wedlock…a fine example indeed!


    “So far he has revealed two sons with different mothers out of wedlock…a fine example indeed!” TMan

    Well muchas gracias Tman , for ‘bringing us up to speed ,’ on this situation. The Mason Hall bastard, just went and impregnated a 35 year old looking ,17 year old Chica , while jumping up in a Sando -Indian Band!

    Yeah, and what a ‘Doochbag,’ as we like to say on de streets.Go file a lawsuit- to demand his removal as PM-before these local untrustworthy ,PNM stooges , who call themselves High Court Judges.
    That could result in a win/win scenario down de road for the tribe. If as expected ,’you alze ,’loose the recall Appeal, then this forces the hands of dem African savages , as the Mackela Panday led , UNC dominant PP , inveigle their way back into power, before 2040.
    Seriously though,maybe folks of the tribe ,are justified in hating these insatiable, Afro-Kinky head-sexual monsters, who like to prey, on delicate women , from other tribes- be they Indians, Chinese, and most importantly, White Euro- Mujers.
    As for his 45 year old son, made with the promiscuous 17/18 year old Roxborough student, back when he was a 19 year old , oats sowing -teacher?
    Sorry, but that does not count. Not only was this law not on our statutory books back then , but even today, some leeway is also given , if the alleged ,male perpetrator , does not have a significant age difference , from that of the victim.
    In addition TMan , I am totally in agreement with your twisted logic- statutory rapes of underaged girls , are ( obviously )always worst , if they are committed by African blokes ,and the victims are unmarried.
    In de case of your tribe, 40 year old pot gut drunks , who marry 9, 10 11, 14 , and 16 year olds – under the guise of Hindustani , and Islamist religions , are a step up, the civilize ladder.
    Tell you what folks , I am fervently of the view, that since our 1962 Independence , at least 250, 000 Indo Trini hombres, mothers, grand mothers, doctors , midwives, Hindu Priest, and Islamist Imams , would be behind bars , if our Law enforcement officers , were allowed to do their jobs, and lock them up, as opposed to following a revolting, vote getting , appeasement policy , as practiced by PNM Political elites, in La Trinity.
    I stand corrected , but something tells me I ain’t wrong.
    Heard it from reliable , unmentionable sources TMan, that up next for hot topic debate in Parliament, is serious discussions ,on runaway Suicides , as prevalent , not only in Surinam,and Guyana , but also T&T.

    What prompted this you ask?

    1. The recent murder / suicide of a… ummmm…. Tobago Mom, who her family too quickly claimed , jump to her death in some post Trauma fit of rage/ melancholy.

    2. The idiotic accusations, made against our hard working , much maligned ,Police Officers , who your Opposition leader, claimed – for some opaque reasons-were in cahoots with their National Security boss Dillon, and so are distorting de true state of criminal reality. Go figure!,232872.html

    Finally ,Ag Commissioner Phillips ,has a perfect opportunity, to prove he is more worthy of the top job , than his 6 year acting/ vacationing Boss,DCP Williams.
    Here is an idea Police Commissioner Willow:- Immediately begin a comprehensive review, of every alleged suicide, that ever took place in this country- especially amongst de tribe during the past 3 decades -to see if there might be any questionable patterns of action/ improprieties…ummmmmm?
    I have a theory , that 95 % , or more ,of said alleged Suicides ,are in actuality murders, disguised to look like such, but the cynic in me never brought in to that.
    ‘Me think , ‘our ex PM ,Queen Karma , and I ,are on de same page, re this crime problem.

    Enough of this stupid argument ,as to who is King/ or Queen, of underachieving La Trinity. Who are bigger sex fiends in our T&T – Is it de African tribes , with their penchant for raping unmarried girls, or the Indian tribe, who not only rape them when unmarried, but then marry them ,when they get pregnant to conceal , their crime?
    Who is prepared to step up, and look out for innocent kids, poor abused/ un-empowered women, neglected elderly, and we can throw in exploitable immigrants , who are easy prey, in our T&T ,aka Baby America?
    Luv this song by de Birdie, which sort of place things in proper perspective :- ‘Beat she up Lion ,bust she head.

    Lion know.. de Queen ain’t easy , so he decide to fight easy….
    One can only hope he knows what he’s doing , for there are those before him- like Benefactor Basdeo, political adversary Patrick Manning, and of course, de Queen Maker him self in Jack – FIFA -Warner, who’ve underestimated Siparia’s own in – Her Majesstrick Queen Karma , to their own peril.
    I luv this land, Y tu?

    1. A transparent defense of the indefensible. A rationalization of the immoral and irresponsible actions of a Prime Minister who has been forgiven by the nation, because so many men and women are in similar situations.
      With regards to wrongdoing in T&T, no race, religion or ethnic group has a monopoly on crime…..murder, rape suicides, child molestation, drug offences, fraud, abductions, robbery, abuse, etc. The country seems to be in rapid decline.

      1. “The country seems be be in decline?” Tman
        Ha ,ha, ha,and you folks are so predictable. Lost a stupid , inconsequential election , and suddenly ,the defeatist , ‘false narrative ,’ is trotted out for public consumption.
        Put differently-There goes the 1986 refugee runs to Norte Americana , and Mama Britain ,by members of the brown/black -neo triumphalist /post recalcitrant Tribe, otra vez!
        Join the line behind dem Syrians, North Africans, and Afghans, and don’t let the door hit ‘you alze’ on de way out- as we like to say on de streets.
        A word of caution,remember , 300,000 fellow CARICOM nationals , Asians, European,Middle East , Latin American , and African refugees , are ready ,willing , and able, to take your place , upon exit.
        Seeing that your COP/UNC/ and by extension ,PP party ,is in rebuilding stage , for at least the next 2 decades, it means , more decline , so you, or numerous unqualified cretins , won’t be able to rush back any time soon, to grab available jobs , created by your leaders , tribal purges – as was the case ,during de GHASTLY, 2010- 2015, Kamla PP reign.
        On a point of order ,I’m hoping that dis “rationalization of immoral , and irresponsible action of a Prime Minister ,” sling shot SHOOTING / Accusations ,isn’t directed at an ever credible, progressive Humanist , such as yours truly, mi country hating Piazanno.
        Ok, I get it, you and fellow members of the tribe , see great merit , in if possible ,castrating , denigrating , and if you were given the chance a year ago, prevent the Afro Kinky Head Mason Hall kid,from ever sitting in the PM big chair -all because of his Oats Sowing actions, that was committed ,in the Island ward , as a 18/19 year old.
        Yep, anything to justify your tribal clan , ugly , culturally driven penchant, for condoning Statutory Rapes of innocent, 9, 10 12, 14 and 16 year old T&T girls, under the guise of some opaque Hindustani/ Islamist ,religious Rights/ Freedoms.
        You don’t have a problem that 99,9 % of said girls ,comes from poor desperate families, or will be subjected to verbal, and physical abuse, plus forced to endure a life of degradation, in part , due to the fact that they’ll automatically be deprived of an education – accorded to the likes of your cross country running Canadian daughter, Kamla, and Sat Maraj grand daughters , and de two Dupree – CLICO – British University educated -Panday gals?
        Wait a cotton picking moment , and here is some breaking news folks , as brought to de fore, by T Man. Listen to the sly Mapippi snake:- “With regards to wrongdoing in T&T, no race, religion or ethnic group has a monopoly on crime…..murder, rape suicides, child molestation, drug offences, fraud, abductions, robbery, abuse, etc.”
        Well I’ll be…..!
        Go through my 5001 blogs ,on dis here Trini Center Nation, and you’ll see consistency on my part , re that OR SIMILAR subjects.
        Here is mine in a nutshell-‘We all together are responsible for the social quaqmire , that our country seem to be stuck in , and all hands on deck, are needed ,to pull us out,and on to that elusive part, of Sustainable Development’
        In the interest of Bridge Building – let’s move beyond useless religious / political ideologies,or worst yet , idiot escapist Party politics machinations, and instead , find ways to protect our nation’s kids , via eradication of all underage marriages.
        In addition, let’s do what we can to empower women, and the poor, as well as protect desperate immigrants – many of whom are quite capable of making useful contributions ,towards elevating our presently underachieving T&T, into the much envied ,Jewel, of the Region- as opposed to the laughing stock, that we have evolved into , especially over the past 5 years,of decrepit governance,si?
        The age of consent is 18,and anyone caught indulging , will face the full brunt of the law- if you can garner the evidence.

        Don’t worry about Dr Keith Rowley, for not everyone will give him a pass, simply because the leaders before him , did not fully live up to the mandates of their Manifesto. Love of country , goes beyond romp kissing , and tribal adulations- something that ‘you alze ,’seems unable to recognize.
        You , and likeminded others , have a clear choice. Stay in ‘de do nada/finger pointing lane,’ or join forces with Neo-Progressive Humanists, to hold all our leaders – past , and present – accountable, for the pathetic state of affairs. Emphasis on – Past, & Present.
        Yet , a naive few ,still think, that Nation building, is an easy proposition .
        Nope. That’s a lie. It takes concerted efforts, and respect for the other. Trouble is,if you choose however, to spit on the graves of my heroes , I’ll do likewise.
        If you dismiss all my ideas ,as that of an ignoramus savage , I’ll produce equivalent data , to reflect your barbarian stupidity ,as well.
        That will get us nowhere of course!
        Long live the Republic of Tobag….,ooops , lo siento, T&T !

  11. Neal, you said it best with your illustrative analogy of the frog and the scorpion. What we see from the ‘other side’ is not something that is ‘just happening’. One of the achievements of sister Alyssa, was to make us aware of what has been before us for more than one hundred and fifty years. To materialize the reality of this behavior, all one have to do is look to places like Mauritius, Fiji, Guyana, Uganda, South Africa and elsewhere to see a repetition of what we experience here in Trinidad. It is a learned behavior, so it is obvious that it is just the ‘way they are’. Look at Kamla, there is no doubt in our minds that she just can’t help it. She felt the taste of power with the help of Jack Warner and Gypsy. You and I knew, before it happened, what the outcome would have been. When she felt the assurance that she did not need them anymore, she dumped them.
    Remember the famous ‘PNM march’ against the government? Jack Warner was furious that of all the people protesting there was “no Indians”. He gave about eighty-five scholarships. None to Africans (that we are aware of) – all to Indians. Yet today he is anathema to the Indian community. Sat Maharaj has unleashed his most unhealthy barage of filth towards the African community; yet Professor Selwyn Cudjoe professes the Sat is his ‘friend’. Kamla has rewarded him a lucrative national award (if I am not mistaken – the ORTT). The is a scenario where good is the reward for evil.

    Dr. Rowley (at the age of 18) impregnated his girlfriend of like age 17. A foolish woman from Tobago, Alleyne-Toppin, with the help of Kamla, exposed this behavior as rape. Her tribe, including TMan and Mamoo, echo this manipulated allegation that the Prime Minister is a rapist. Kill them dead, they will believe what the leaders tell them. IN the mandirs, it is common practice that very young, unwed girls are raped all under the guise of religious traditions, yet we are asked to ‘respect’
    hindu religious practices. They boldly accuse Rowley as though his behavior is unfamiliar to the African community.

    Let me remind the TMans and the Mamoos, slavery was NOT a bed of roses. The African was treated with the most vicious and unhealthiest of sexual practices. Our mothers and fathers were taken from us at early ages, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Mothers and fathers were forced to live on separate plantations. Children were forced to cut cane from those early years. There were no niceties in the experience of our forefathers and mothers. So, marriage out of wedlock CANNOT be seen an somehow unhealthy or
    immoral in this context. It is the natural outcome of a system to which we had to survive by. Everything is relative. Indians came and had uninterrupted traditional practices and nothing is wrong with that. But when you accuse us of something that we were forced into by reason of our domination. Then try to be pious and condescending about our morality, then I take umbrage to that. Dr. Rowley is just being a western trained
    African man. I hope that would put TMan and Mamoo’s obsession with our morality at rest.

  12. I am forever amazed by our news media and how they report ‘NEWS’.
    However intended, they never seem to be able to carry a conversation in proper context with historical reminders. Take for example, today’s Express headline: “Fewer citizens believe There is nothing wrong with that proposition, because it is reflecting on one year of PNM’s administration. What this article fails to do is remind us “where we were one year ago?”.
    If I fell into a body of water while dressed in my evening garbs, una&T is better off now than when the PNM took Office a year ago”. ble to swim my way out, a passerby came and took me out of danger. Safe on dry ground but still wearing my evening garb, ruffled, wet and unkept, my friend saw me and ask, “how you doing?”. Should my answer to that question be conditional, based on my experience in the water, or should it be predicated on conditions at the time of asking?

    The article, as written does not give us a prelude to “where were we one year ago?”. The evening garb I was wearing before falling into the water was expensive, flashy and suave. I bought it with my credit card, which maxed out at $10,000.00. I could have gotten U.S dollars at will, because the Central Bank flooded the financial market. I travelled extensively on burrowed money. All my credit cards were maxed out because I did not take account of my spending. After my rescue and still in my evening garbs but faced with monumental debts because I credited much more than I could pay for, my friend asked. “Are you better off now?”.

    Depending on how you consider the question there can be three important answers:

    Choice one –
    I can say “hell yeah! you damn right I’m better off, I was saved from the water, wasn’t I?, now I can be hopeful. I can salvage my soiled garments; with my spared life, I can look at things differently and concern myself with my spending. I was over burdened with debts, now I can resolve how to pay off my credit cards and return to solvency. I can learn how prevent the dangers of falling in the water in the future”.

    Choice two –
    “I’m not doing too well. Before this incident, I was burdened with debts but I was living well. Never mind I was living above my means but living was good. Now I don’t have enough to buy another garment like this one. I am burdened with high debts but with the change in my condition, I will have to work twice as high to return to my free spending ways”.

    Choice three –
    “It does not make any difference to me. Yes, I was living well before I fell into the water. My garments are damaged but I can fix it. Things are no different now than before I fell. I can return to things as they were regardless”.

    The problem with the Express’ article is that it is only concerned with my condition after I was rescued from the water.
    It does not concern itself with the existing conditions of the economy before the change of my conditions. Before the change people were spending freely without a care in this world, even though we were actually in a recession. The then Governor of the Central Bank NEVER WARNED US THAT. He only muttered that after the change. Before the change, the Finance Minister NEVER told us the he was allowing our national debts to rise beyond unprecedented allocations. Our burrowing capacity was all used up. Our capacity to burrow was very limited and the new administration had to experiment with ways and innovations on how to pay the debts incurred by the outgoing government. The assets earned by NGC (the only revenue making body), were used to fund the lavish spending of the old regime. There were many, many creditors to whom we are indebted. Many projects were started and not finished with burrowed money. Oil prices (our only hope) at an all time low. Money owed to contractors at inflated and uncontrolled prices. Ministers of the outgoing government all became very wealthy while the poor got poorer. A brand new hospital, un equipped and unstaffed without any viable means to run and maintain it. Fundings of historical proportions of sports and other entities with un-explainable means. People at management level, unqualified to handle the positions that they were put into. Law school built without consultation. Money funded from other budgeted projects. Hundreds of thousands of computers given away without proper budgeted means of funding. Who were the contractors of those projects? Contractors paid billions before completion of projects, running away after their benefactors lost control of the government. They even wanted to take their equipment from the country rather than finish their contracted projects.

    That in a nutshell, is what the year in review has to be compared
    compared with. The question should be, where do we go from there? Not, are we better off? There is no way we could be better off, coming from the conditions we came from!!!!
    Those questions posed are in fact immature and self-serving. I might make for good reading but it is not definitive and informative in regards to our real conditions of living. It carries a kind of American taste to ask those questions, but were are not Americans and we have no FBI, CIA and Justice Department to look at the ills that the previous government employed to run our economy. Instead we have a Court of Jurisprudence that is staffed with judges who are ready, willing and able to overturn the last election, to make it palatable for those who emptied our Treasury to go back and take what is left.

    These are the real relevancy of our situation. The question of “are we better off” is definitely a non-starter. To indulge in using media to objectively answer that question CANNOT truly reflect the reals concerns the PNM government is faced with. For example, when they came into government, there was only three days worth of funds to run the whole administration of the country. That is a reality!!!!! Being “better off” CANNOT come into play, until such time as we have rectified structural inefficiencies in the government.

    It is vexing when the media does not inform. The media is staffed with reporters whose qualifications are questionable. Journalism is an important profession, if we are to be better equipped with knowledge of our surroundings. At present, it appears that the media is fixated with telling us what some expects to hear and definitely NOT what we ought to hear and read.

    Polls have its place and there will always be need for them to measure. But how and when it is done is important to truly reflect what is happening to us. None of our dailies do that at present. The best way to gauge what they are willing to tell us, is to look at their Board of Directors and ownership. When you look at it from this point of view, it would not be hard to ascertain what they do and how they do it.

    In the meantime, whether we are better off or worse off is not for the media to propagate. It is for us to ponder and examine where we are and where we came from.

    1. Correction:

      My story became distorted when the lines were misplaced:

      Where the phrases:
      “Fewer citizens believe”
      ” una&T is better off now than when the PNM took Office a year ago”.” were interposed;

      It should read:

      “Fewer citizens believe T&T is better off now than when the PNM took Office a year ago”.

      Falling into the water was illustrative and not meant to be literal.

  13. As September 7, 2016 approached, the media was riffed with prognostications of the failure of the PNM government’s grading in its first year in office. There were rush to judgement by politicians, media houses and commentaries critical of the government’s first year performance. They acted as eager school children happy to grade their teacher with failing grades of “E”, “F” “G” and God knows what else. Is it their prerogative? Sure! But when one decides to go public with information such as what we read in the media, we expect some degree of objectivity and pursuit of facts. I have read very little facts pertaining to the government’s first year in office but there is plenty of criticism. I read with interest, an article in the Guardian regarding the Prime Minister’s speech last night. In it, very little was said about Dr. Rowley’s speech but plenty was printed about about an ex-civil servant’s response to it. I remember Dr. Rowley giving an account of the the government’s initiatives in partnering with Ghana on energy deals. A move that will bring in new foreign reserves but no mention was made in print by the media. This brings to question, what is the purpose of the media? Is it to inform? Teach? Instruct? Educate? Mitigate?
    OR Propagate? All public institutions publish their Mission Statements and Purposes before selling their products. To a large extent, we expect the media to do the same. If their intent is serious publications, they should say so. If their intent is to be serious and objective, they should do so. If the intent is to entertain us, they should do likewise and say so also. My hunch is that they would like us to take them seriously.

    If we are to do that, then they too must take themselves seriously and publish news that have relevance, in some cases continuity, substantive and pertinent. When they give us a story today and tomorrow act as thou they never heard that same story before, then they are really fooling themselves and trying to fool us at the same time. Take for example, the 1986 Ronald Reagan favorite political quote “Are you better off than you were one year ago?”. We see our newspapers peppered with that political question as an indictment to Dr. Rowley’s government for performance of his first year in office. But wait, let us as the question, is it fair? At the beginning of the year, the same Newspapers published Dr. Rowley’s expectations for the year, where he said “Ladies and gentlemen, we must all appreciate that the circumstances we now face as a nation require sacrifice and managed adjustment in our living standards ….. If we fail to adjust now, we will find ourselves as we did in 1986, with an economy with insufficient foreign exchange reserves and having to restructure our debt under a series of IMF programmes”.

    Any serious minded newspaper will take from this advance warning from Dr. Rowley, that things weren’t like to get better. What a serious minded reader would gather from that statement, is the hope that the downward slide in governance would subside or minimise. No where in his warning notice did he predict that things would get better in his first year in office. What he did predict though was that he would stabilize the institutions of government and no one coupled deny that the PNBM have done that and continuing to do so. I have no problem with those who might accuse me of “being PNM”. What I am about is the casual nature of news reporting and “yellow journalism” performed by our local media. An important ingredient to proper reporting is ‘instant recall’. That skill seems to be lacking in the performance of our reporters and it tells in the stories they produce and publish. Why aren’t our media staffed with reporter with journalistic skills like say Tony Fraser?

    Len Gordon, a former newspaperman and founder of the Express, was and still is a respected name in journalism. Where is the standard? What are the objectives? Where are we going with this bachanaalish and scandalous attitudes that is so prevalent in the media? One gets the impression that they are publishing to please some and negate others.

  14. What is the purpose of the media? Is it to inform? Teach? Instruct? Educate? Mitigate?
    Where are we going with this bachanaalish and scandalous attitudes that is so prevalent in the media? One gets the impression that they are publishing to please some and negate others.” Kian
    Great observations , and it is often said, that “necessity is the mother of invention.”
    That was the easy part mi amigo- highlighting the problems. Doing that will however ,only have us looking like our favorite family dog , who is trying to catch it’s tail , but with no luck whatsoever.
    A simi ugly ,pee wee Herman-ish , Geekish, Jewish guy , named Mark Zukerberg , while languishing in his Harvard University dorm, unable to get chicks , decided with a few like minded friends, to start some sort of student base , interactive , networking apparatus, which a few years later, has evolved into a multi billion dollar , global social media giant , that we refer to as Facebook. It has gone on to make huge impact on modern journalism , one might add. Need I add , that his personal worth is $US43 Billion, and sometime recently, he simply plucked a woman out of the Universe ,to make her his wife, who so happened to be Chinese? Nuff Said.
    A few moons ago, and enterprising , Indo Trini Business bloke , perhaps just like you Kian,became disgusted with the state of affairs of our T&T media reporting ,and the degree to which the elite establishment agents , and editors from then, Trinidad Guardian, Trinidad Express, Radio Trinidad, 610 Radio, and TTT, were ignoring the plight of his people.
    Enter , stage right , young ,idealist Uncle Raffique Shah, and photo journalist , Keith Shepherd, and de rest is history. The Bomb, Blast,T&T Mirror, and (me think )Punch,was created. Need I say more?
    Suddenly , if an Indian hombre ,from Barrackpore ,had a head cold, or severe case of the runnings, and any doctor,refused to treat him to his satisfaction, that became front page news. Can’t discriminate , in de land where “each , and every race , finds an equal place,” si?
    If an East Indian lady, from say Couva, or Aranguez, missed her periods, or her straying hombre, 12 months later , refused to support his young , year old child , or heavens forbid, she was unable to get some lazy Police Officer,to execute a warrant, for the bastard’s arrest, that too became front page news, and therefore, a cause for political actions ,,by vote seeking political animals, in Govewrnment/ Party HQ..
    For decades CNN ,aka de anti Arab , anti Islam , anti Middle East,subjective, feel good America media empire highlight reel, was the rage,as the above mentioned groups, stood by and cringe , again , and again , as another distorted , pro Israel, everything is great America, and Western European beat down -story was launched, for global consumption.
    Some one time Arab Bedouin , Goat / Camel herder son , turn elite billionaire playboy, decided that enough is enough , and so with like minded others, opted to create Al Jazeera.
    The rest , as we can say is history, as the propaganda / fair play scales became balanced.
    Do a quick Google of present day Blogging Giants , such as Democracy Now, Drudge Report, and Huffington Post, and you’ll see blokes who likewise, were dissatisfied with main stream media , that decided to do something about it .
    Not only have they profited greatly, but in their own ways, were able to place their blossoming organizations, as strong rivals, of the status quo media elites, and therefore effect change.

    Just like my favorite blood sports – POLITICS- often times , many folks , possess a pretty narrow interpretation ,of what the media is , or is not.
    VS Naipaul wrote classics , probing ,frictional, and non frictional books , such as House for MR Biswas, Miguel Street,The Mystic Masseur, and Among the Believers.
    Samuel Selvon gave us an insight in the travails of Caribbean immigrants in England , via The Lonely Londerners , Eric Williams changed the globe’s view of Slavery ,and Christian benevolence, in ending same via Capitalism and Slavery , as well as portrayal ,of the ugly under belly of European Imperialism , via Columbus to Castro. Remember is one time teacher , in Pan Africanist CLR James , and his masterpiece The Black Jacobins?
    Need we forget Dr Walter Rodney was a hero in all of Africa , for his classic work – How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, yet came home , and was brutally murdered by a fake African savior, called Forbes Burnham- all de while-even to this day- Indians in that country, continue to lament their plight in that country – while ignoring the pathetic state of their Afro Guyanese Brothers.
    Who therefore shall emerge , in any of these countries , where such writing luminaries came from , to continue to chronicle past , and present day history facts , so that future generations can benefit? Where you at , Bro Youruba?
    Hey Kian ,what ever became of Sistaz Alleysa?Did someone grabbed her ,while she was typing at home in Los Bajos,or is it El Secorro, and buried her naked , amongst dem hairy crabs , in the Beetham stinky Mang waters, for her audacity, in daring to expose the morays of certain unmentionables, or was she a mere clone, of Mama Linda Edwards, from Huston Texas, operating under a soubriquet? I’ve had my suspicions. Nuff Said.
    Seriously . I’m going to end this piece by making a few major points, of which I am certain most are already aware of :-
    1. The media , Banking / financial gurus , national Law enforcement fellows, our politicians, Business elites, health Care folks, Public Servants, Teachers , seemingly out of control children,and religious leaders, are products of our society, and so, would by their behaviors/actions,policies , and decisions ,would reflect the norms and values of such. Did anyone mentioned EBC legal opinion recently? Just checking , and so showing that nada operate by chance.
    In our toss salad/ multicultural,hodgepodge , calaloo-social morass, that can be a complex reality.
    2. Voting in elections, and merely running for office , so as to sit in Parliaments, or some Local legislative body , is only a small part of political involvement.
    Many citizens claim to hate politics , without even realizing that they have directly/ indirectly engaged in some form of politics already.
    What we need here is T&T , is more prudent political engagements, via activism .
    3, Civil Society /NGOs, and the likes , are the new politics , and way forward- especially for Developing nations like ours, from the Global South.
    4. No saving hero is about to land on our T&T ,from Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, Yale,LSE, or Cambridge,to save us. We have all the necessary skills right here presently.
    5. Let’s not sleep on the power Social media folks. I’m ever grateful to TRini Center Nation , but it too can carry us , only so far.
    For that New media , I am talking about to be fully independent , it cannot embrace the old school methodologies of main stream media , beholden to advertisers , and corporate entities, or solely concerned about narrow self interest.

    6. We have a choice folks- sit in a corner and engage in typical Trini – do nada – perpetual whining , pray to opaque gods to save us, from mystery evils ,that awaits us ,become over defensive , from a few subtle chiding re ugly culturally driven predilections,that are common to us all, or better yet, organize , engage, and joint in solidarity- ‘with the other’ – where applicable , as we as a collective ,build symbolic bridges towards better ends , and more glorious future.
    Oh , and by the , let me not be remiss , by failing to share a major pearl of wisdom , that was given to yours truly , by my late, extremely wise , Tobago Granny, and here it is :- ” Never cut your nose to spoil your face,” si?
    I Luv this land , Y tu?

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