Now that the government has reduced the number of scholarships to 100 from 400, and another 300 to be given out as bursaries, it means that several of our bright students may be victims of discrimination.
What criteria would determine the selection for bursaries? Would it be given to students with high scholastic scores but low-incomes; or are we going to give to students with low scholastic scores and low-incomes? And what about those with high or low scholastic scores and high-incomes being given bursaries because they are the friends and families of politicians? We cannot rule out the reality that this society has a parasitic culture in relation to the state.
Has the HDC been fair in its disbursement of homes among applications? Among the successful applicants, more than 90% of them have been PNM supporters and without apology. More than that is the crude fact the HDC has become a tool of the PNM to pack marginalized constituencies with their supporters, and again, without apology.
In the field of culture, millions of dollar are dished out for Carnival and Emancipation while Divali, Ramleela, Indian Arrival Day is left to scramble for a few dollars. Black artists are financially supported by the State and are also given forums such as TTT and the school system to make their presentations? Why are Indian artists denied the opportunity of funding from the State? Is the State not eager to promote and celebrate our ethnic diversity?
It is a shame that so many Indians are bypassed for promotion in Trinidad and Tobago. I recalled Prime Minister Patrick Manning personally intervening to stop the appointment of Devant Maharaj, the top position in the National Lotteries Board. It took several court battles and a final ruling of the Law Lords of the Privy Council to rule against the government.
The PNM is in the habit of providing their blue-eyed boys and girls scholarships, only to return in less than six months or a year and be promoted ahead of senior members of staff, generally mainly Indians, thus explaining why the senior ranks of the public institutions including the Police Service and the Public Service have so few Indians. More sinister is the fact that the blacks including Jack Warner were not prepared to address these disparities. Do you recall the hue and cries of Jack Warner, then a senior minister in the Peoples Partnership government when Nizam Mohammed in his capacity as Chair of the Police Service Commission said that a preponderance of one ethnic group in the senior ranks may instill fears in victims reporting crimes in a multi-ethnic society like Trinidad and Tobago?
But the most naked and shameless appointment was the current Commissioner of Police. Coming low in the shortlist after the interviews, Gary Griffith was promoted to first place and his competitor who was No 1 in the shortlist was not only bypassed but harangued with a string of false allegations of corruption.
Today Indian parents and their bright sons and daughters live in fear of being the victims of state-sponsored discrimination. as all along the way the PNM has favored without fear the incompetence of their black supporters.
Students like Karisha Rajkumar from Vessighny that won an open scholarship in Business is an example of hard work and sacrifice. When the news reached her that she won an Open Scholarship, Keisha said that she was with her mother selling polourie. She said that she never had a computer and used a cell phone to access the internet to do her research. It only proves that the desire to succeed against all odds is not lost in our students!
Unfortunately, while our students continue to do us proud, a few of us who are in a position to assist financially to provide incentives to these most deserving cases fail to play our part. Many rather keep their money in the 1% banks rather than give some to these deserving scholars; yet, they continue to pour scorn on the 1%, damning them for their success.
Nevertheless, whatever the PNM or the rich may do to give their children education, they would or should by now know that education cannot be distributed like HDC homes and welfare cheques. Education is preceded by a burning passion to learn, to make sense of the world around you and no amount of bursaries and favoritism are going to help a child who has no desire to learn and is happy going about life like a moron.