After the British left in 1962, the French Creoles and their children of concubinage took charge of Trinidad and Tobago. A picture was painted depicting Indians as the cause for poor race relations in the country and the Blacks like innocent babes, incapable of doing wrong. The French Creoles forgave and forgot the rants of “St Vincent Street Jammette” and “Massa Day Done” rhetoric of Dr. Eric Williams and strategically aligned themselves with the Blacks.
Black Lives Matter means Black privileges in the English-speaking Caribbean. Look at the political pappy show that is taking place in Guyana. After more than one hundred days of an election in Guyana the winner is yet to be sworn into office. It is only because of Black leaders’ covert support that such obscene backwardness can be entertained. Had it been the PPP/C indulging in such improprieties, all hell would have broken loose.
In Suriname- a member of CARICOM-the Opposition parties charged that President Desi Bouterse was obstructing efforts to install a new government after his party failed to win a majority of seats in the National Assembly.
Desi Bouterse was convicted last November by a military court in Suriname for the killing of 15 people comprising of university teachers, trade unionists, journalists and lawyers, all critics of his government when he came to power in 1982 through a military coup. I did not hear Reginald Dumas or the learned Professor Selwyn Cudjoe sounding an alarm. Why should they? Black lives were not snuffed out; they were mainly Indians.
In 1957 and until the 1966 when independence was granted, the Afro-Guyanese Trade Unions and the PNC led by Forbes Burnham conspired with the CIA that removed Dr. Cheddi Jagan from power. Businesses were burnt, innocent citizens were beaten and murdered on the streets of Georgetown by Black criminals while the police and army stood by idly. In the village of Wismar Indians were murdered, raped, their houses burnt to the ground; yet, this dark side of our Caribbean history remains hidden!
Black Lives Matter is a code for privilege in the Caribbean. Dr. Eric Williams’ utterance of “recalcitrant minority” after his defeat by the DLP in the Federal Elections of 1958 is now being twisted by Professor Selwyn Cudjoe. Writing in the Sunday EXPRESS (06/06/20) Cudjoe came with disinfectant and other cleaning materials and attempted to sanitize the racial outburst of Dr. Eric Williams at Woodford Square in 1958. Cudjoe said that it was the Opposition that was creating racial discord after Lionel Seukeran moved the motion in the parliament to censure Dr. Williams. Cudjoe quoted Dr. Williams: “My whole philosophy is based on racial integration…”
Cudjoe went on to cite Dr. Williams’ admiration of Tagore, Gandhi and Nehru of India. Cudjoe wrote: “He was influenced particularly by Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, the father of India’s independence.” I have no doubt Dr. Williams admired these individuals but I can say with certainty that this was not reflected in his government’s policies toward Indians.
Where is the Mahatma Gandhi Institute? Land was allocated at Mt Hope and each time there was a sod turning ceremony, the place was vandalized. Is this the admiration that Dr. Eric Williams have for Mahatma Gandhi? Hindi was never introduced as a subject in the curriculum though spoken by 425 million as a first language and 120 million as a second language. More so, the Indian government is keen on providing funding for the teaching of Hindi, the fourth among the languages spoken in the world. Where is literary works of Tagore in our schools and the shelves of our libraries?
Further to stopping the Maha Sabha’s school building program, Dr. William’s referred to the schools as “cow sheds”- they were cow sheds indeed but 100% percent built by the toil and sweat of the people of the lagoon; not gifts from the Vatican or the State. Dr. Williams systematically kept Indians away from the public service, defense forces -army, police, coast guard, fire service, State enterprises and most blatantly, the foreign service. Indian culture was suppressed while creole culture was funded by the State to the hilt.
The effort to stymied the political will of the Indo- Guyanese people is a clear statement that Indian political aspirations do not matter. Indians are left to live on the periphery of the State-no support for agriculture and more so, a readiness to stand by and see Indian livelihood destroyed as has become the norm with the annual flooding in rural districts.
The vindictiveness of the PNM is reflected in the draft report of the Roadmap to Recovery Team. Imagine, two months of a pandemic and T&T’s economy has collapsed! Furthermore, the fundamental cause of the collapse has not been identified, yet, solutions have been recommended. If the economy is weak there would be reasons why it is so. Are we going to repeat the same mistakes?
These bright economists are recommending $16B for social welfare because Black Lives Matter. Keep the people on hampers and the food importers and big supermarkets like Massy Stores would be raking in billions of dollars. Unfortunately, our farmers and market vendors would not have the opportunity to benefit from such windfall.
The Roadmap to Recovery is nothing short of a PNM political campaign to feed its supporters along the East-West Corridor, San Fernando, Point Fortin and Tobago. Imagine only $25m allocated for agriculture? Was Vasant Bharath part of that Recovery Team? What is the view of Dhano Sookoo, President of the Agricultural Society, on this meagre allocation for agriculture? And our Minister of Agriculture, Clarence Rambharat and Avinash Singh? Are their voices taken seriously in the PNM?
The injustices of Black governments of the Caribbean must be highlighted. Black are certainly not angels and as such their racist and discriminatory policies must be highlighted fearlessly.