There is a school of thought that suggests people of African ancestry ought not to be treated with privileges specific to them. It further suggests Trinidad & Tobago’s focus should be about ensuring that every sector of our society gets equal treatment. I subscribe to a school of thought that suggests that all poor and underprivileged people should be given a hand up and not a hand down.
History testifies that the African man has had a western world experience of dehumanization that is much different from any other human being anywhere in the world. Centuries of a structured system that disallowed any kind of family structure, removed any sense of achievement based on personal inputs, criminalized education, disallowed religious practices and legally designated a person as less than a human could not have allowed such a people to easily assimilate into society as a normal human being. Thus, targeted intervention towards addressing the social inequity may have been necessary.
In Trinidad & Tobago there are two major races. One had the opportunity to choose whether to come to the West Indies or not. That group were allowed to keep their cultural and religious identity. The other did not have that choice. While one could have said goodbye to family and friends the other was captured without that opportunity.
Both races required specific targeted political and social intervention to compensate to the social injustices they inherited. In 1948 based on the findings of the Soulbury Commission, the government of Trinidad & Tobago by law established The Sugar Industry Labour Welfare Committee (SILWIC).
That Statutory Authority still exist today. They were mandated by law to disburse housing loans for first time construction and repairs/renovations to existing dwelling houses, to purchase property for first time homeowners, to acquire lands for its clients, to maintain the settlements and to provide welfare services to its less fortunate clients through financial aid and other forms of assistance (Trinidad & Tobago Gazette April 13, 2005).
That was a specific law targeted to assist sugar workers. There has been no other law that I am aware of, specifically targeted to assist workers in any other sector of the society of Trinidad & Tobago. If the politicians of today wishes to help the under privileged people of Trinidad & Tobago especially those of African ancestry that were made to suffer from centuries of statutory dehumanizing laws, then similar targeted legislation is required.
It is not good enough to make political promises while continuing a structure of dehumanization, offering hand outs and jobs without any job security, accommodation without certificates of title and empty promises enough to continue the cycle of dependence.
Until the banks and financial institutions make statutory changes to ensure there is equity in assessing finance and politicians move away from token handouts, then promises to underprivileged people would remain political mamaguy.
God Bless Our Nation