Had the early Indians been given education on merit, Trinidad and Tobago would have been better off today. Unfortunately, only those who were willing to convert were made monitors and teachers in primary schools despite non-Christians like Muslims and Hindus having better grades. One person shared that another individual got the job as a monitor despite him having better grades because the father of the successful candidate was an elder in the church.
I know of an individual who sat the GCE Examination five times to win the minimum qualification to teach in a primary school. Another case in point was a senior teacher who shared with me that after writing the Exhibition examination, her parents, poor and illiterate, did not bother to inquire about her success or failure. After repeated appeals to her mother the two travelled to the girl school in San Fernando. They were shocked to learn that ‘your principal said that you were not interested in the place’ which was filled by the principal’s daughter.
Are Hindu leaders any better? My experience has proven to me that ‘chamcha’ or booth licker is always favored in preference to a more competent candidate. The truth is sycophancy or chamcharism has become the culture. The present leader himself did not earn his position by merit and hence the continuation of such a policy.
Bhadase Maraj was no chamcha. He was a self-made man with strong limbs and a broad chest. He toiled tirelessly and build an economic empire at a youthful age. It did not stop there but continued with his struggles for better working conditions for the sugar workers, the right of their children to education by building the Maha Sabha and then forming a political party, the People Democratic Party in 1955 to give them a political voice. The defeat of the PDP in 1956 did not deter Bhadase Maraj who aligned with other groups to fight and win the 1958 Federal Election and the 1959 Local Government Election.
Our aspiring leaders must be measured against the like of Adrian Cola Rienzi, Sat Maharaj, and Basdeo Panday. These men led battles on behalf of the people at the risk of ridicule and imprisonment. Whenever the community was under attack these men rose to the challenge and today, they have etched their legacies in the minds and hearts of the people.
Sadly, our contemporary leadership promotes sycophants like the colonial masters and the Christian missionaries. This culture must be broken if the community must succeed in its endeavors.