The planters of yesteryear – descendants of Roume de St Laurent, who were invited by the last Spanish Governor, Don Jose Mario Chacon – remain a privileged social group in Trinidad. Like the famous Count de Lopinot of Arouca, the French planters were settled on lands snatched from the Amerindians that were under cultivation.
Dethroned by the British, the French Creoles were antagonistic to British rule and resented the English Language. Also, while the French philandered, the English were more puritanical in their social relationships; the Scottish drivers and overseers being the exception. This philandering produced a social class that came to be identified as colored with an aspiration to be accepted as Frenchmen.
The introduction of indentured servants from India were met with protest and resistance by the French Creoles and the colored class who acted as their proxies. Scared of the changing demography, that hostility against the Indians persisted to this date.
Exploited by the English planters and hated by the French Creoles and the colored, the Indians never felt welcome in this society. In 1961 Dr. Eric Williams, a colored, was brutal against the few Englishmen who saw merit in supporting the DLP led by Dr Ridranath Capildeo. Seeing the threats to their lives and properties, these white business owners packed their bags and left for safer havens.
“Massa Day Done” was not directed at the French Creoles but to the English who had supported the DLP. The colored class was elevated (Ken Gordon), and the whites stayed in the background. This long relationship of religions, language, cuisine, and general aspiration to be as French as they can be, made them willing partners of the French Creoles. Today French Creoles is no longer a racial group with a common place of origin and history but includes many who wear kurta and dashiki and sport sindoor in their foreheads.
The arkatyers or recruiters who were employed by ship captains to forage the Indian villages spinning tales of easy livelihood in a land called Chinidad are very much active today. They are not the regular village thugs but men and women in suits and knowing their whereabouts in boardrooms.
The floods that are wreaking havoc to the people in flood prone districts have been turned into a PR exercise for the French Creoles with the assistance of the arkatyers. The emphasis is not on solving the problem as was done in Greenvale but distributing subway sandwiches, cleaning materials and medical assistance. More so the work is done by volunteers with limited financial assistance from the business elite but maximum advertisement of their ‘participation’. I was equally astounded to see several NGOs and even Members of Parliament, all trying to extract as much publicity from rendering a few sandwiches and a bottle of clorax to affected families.
These businesses that advertise their ‘participation’ in flood relief, do not use local vegetables in their fast-food outlets. The meats that they use are also imported from other parts of the world, not from our local poultry farmers.
What engineering feat is required to solve the flooding in Debe/Penal and St Helena/Kelly and other parts of the country? If it was successfully done at Greenvale, then that effort can be applied to solve the flooding in the other districts. But there is a big difference between Greenvale and Debe/Penal etc – in the former the affected people are Africans while in the latter they are Indians… no relations to the arkatyers and CEOs.
The arkatyers dressed in their kurtas knows the rules of the game. They are not to talk about the discriminatory policies of the government that destroy the livelihood of citizens in an entire district but can enjoys many privileges for themselves, their families, and their gurus.
Floods present big opportunities for the elite business class to import vegetables. This flooding will be allowed to persist until our farmers are totally frustrated and give up farming altogether and ready to become wage laborers in mega farms leased to the French Creoles. It is like what has been done to the coconut, dairy and sugar cane industries…ignore it and it will die a natural death and all the products can be replaced with imports.
As for the arkatyers, they are the new colored (coolie) class working at the behest of the elite business class. They are like robots, programmed to carry out their task as CEOs and managers- reminiscent of the loyal bureaucrats of the Indian Civil Service that assisted the East India Company and the British Raj to steal more than 40 trillion dollars from India, the biggest heist in the history of the modern world.
Arkatyers may be better understood as pimps by the ordinary people or brokers by the elite business class. The arkatyers that are associated with the business elite class are holders of MBAs, not your regular pimp, hence I would refer to them as brokers.
Father Murphy, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Chaguanas acted as a broker and was never credited for hiring Indian women to play the role of comfort girls to soldiers away from home and lonely, and putting their lives at risk to save the free world from Hitler. This business transaction took place in a structure on the same compound with the Church. Father Murphy should not be judged but should be praised for his role as a facilitator in this divine mission. May God Bless his Soul!