Phagwa is calendared for March 20 but there is no word from the Ministry of Culture with respect to funding. However, the Ministry of Culture has already released $147m for Carnival 2023. The National Ramleela Council is yet to receive funding for Ramleela 2022.
This is a society where our National Anthem boasts ‘every creed and race find an equal place’. Listening to PNM over the years one would think that this country is the epitome of racial harmony and an example to the world. If today there is still some semblance of peace and civility in the country, it is solely because Indians are 37% of the population. The depth of patience that Indians display is unfathomable!
The recent refusal to publish the top performing students in the SEA is another case in point. What was the rationale for denying the recognition of those top winners? Is the Ministry of Education saying that it does not recognize hard work? What if Anushka Singh was not the top student and it was Andrea Smith, would the Ministry of Education have refused to declare her?
Imagine the UNC was in power, and an African child had placed first in the SEA and the government had refused to publish the result, what would have been the reaction? All hell would have broken loose. There would have been screaming headlines, talks shows and possible protests on the streets shouting charges of racism. All the pastors, deacons, bishops and even the Archbishop of Port of Spain would have voiced their disapproval with the most vehement and coarse language.
The recent call by the Ministry of Education to recruit teachers for denominational schools is an effort to destroy the little good left in the education system. The government already sets the criteria for the recruitment of teachers. It also has numerous schools from kindergarten to primary and secondary to tertiary to recruit teachers. Why the desire to interfere with the denominational boards? If there are schools that are poorly performing- government or denominational- then the Ministry of Education should identify them and take remedial steps.
The buying into social theories that are alien to our culture was witness in 1970 when the working-class black population took to the street demanding black power. That act was the joke of the millennium. Here was a society where blacks were in power and yet the demand was being made for black power.
Black Power was a black versus black struggle with the sitting government having a plane on standby for Cabinet Ministers and their families to leave. Luckily, nothing is sustained for long in this country and the entire protest and rage subsided. Interestingly, when the election was called in 1976, the PNM party was re-elected to office!
In the USA blacks are using a social theory – Critical Race Theory (CRT) – to explain their social disadvantages in the society and how to escape it. CRT simply means looking through the prism of race to explain their every social disadvantage. Personal responsibility is shunned, merit is thrown out the window and a culture of entitlement is the blueprint.
CRT is applied in our society to explain the poor performance of black children while ignoring the large group of Indians who continue to underperform. It is as though poverty and underperformance are only affecting blacks and hence, they alone need the intervention of the State.
The continuous decline of agriculture has placed thousands of farmers at a disadvantage, the majority from the Indian community. Irrigation and a solution to the flooding is not a cause for concern for the PNM because most victims are not part of their vote bank. Praedial larceny is ignored by the Commissioner of Police (CoP) for reasons best known to him, but he can provide a strong police presence on the streets for Carnival.
It is only fair that Indians start using CRT to clamor for justice in this society. If Carnival can get $147m from the State coffers, them Phagwa should be entitled to the same sum. In fact, we should start with demanding equal representation in the police and defense forces.
Social theories are only tools used to fight social wars. It is high time that the Indians in the diaspora boldly and shamelessly demand equality in the distribution of State resources. I would be happy to see Indians occupying 50% of the places in the national football team including captain, coach and manager. (Have I made myself clear?)