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Race politics in T&T—Afri-centric analysis

By Kwame Nantambu

One of the ultimately stupid, insipid, divisive, dysfunctional, Euro-centric variables that has reared its ugly head is the issue of race in the upcoming Tobago House of Assembly elections.

At the outset, it must be emphasised categorically that the public "Calcutta ship'' no-brainer, rubbish, diatribe vomited by Mr Hilton Sandy only speaks volumes as to his utter myopic, ignorance and Euro-centric misunderstanding of Euro-colonial history, that is, the relationship between the European coloniser and the colonised in the Caribbean.

In addition, he also seems totally void of any scintilla of knowledge of European enslavement in the Caribbean.

The fact of the matter is that historiography proves that Europeans brought Africans involuntarily and violently from Africa to be enslaved on plantations in the Caribbean between (August 1516-17 to August 1834-38).

As a corollary, Indians came mostly voluntarily from India at the behest of the Euro-British to be enslaved on plantations in the Caribbean between May 1845 to March 1917.

In other words, then, both Africans and Indians were enslaved by disparate Europeans (regardless of what title His-Story gave to those who came from India).

Moreover, European colonialism lasted in the Caribbean from September 1493 (Euro-Spanish) until August 1962 (Euro-British). And the Euro-British colonised India until its independence in August 1947.

Ipso facto, both Africans and Indians have been duly colonised and enslaved by Europeans—that's our common historical denominator, period.

However, because of the overt manifestation of the evil genius of the intrinsic divisive genre of Euro-centric miseducation, the legacy of this divide and rule phenomenon is now alive and kicking in politics in Trinidad and Tobago.

The salient fact of the matter is that Africans are not Europeans; they are not white. Indians are not Europeans; they are not white.

Indeed, the official population census figures of Trinidad and Tobago reveal that Africans account for 37.5 per cent of the national population while Indians comprise 40 per cent. Ergo, these figures prove that the majority population of Trinidad and Tobago represents people who are neither white nor European, period.

As such, mere deduction would suggest that Trinidad and Tobago does not have a racial problem; on the contrary, Trinidad and Tobago does indeed have an ethnic problem—figures and our Euro-colonial history do not lie— people and politicians do, every day of every year.

As CLR James once stated: "The race question is subsidiary to the class question in politics and to think of (today's neo-colonialism in Trinidad and Tobago) in terms of race is disastrous. But to neglect the racial factor as merely incidental is an error only less grave than to make it fundamental.''

After 50 years of putative political independence, now is the time for Trinbagonians to judge/classify ourselves using our story as the historical backdrop instead of using the divisive, dysfunctional, ahistorical Euro-centric model/backdrop as per the ridiculous "Calcutta ship'' model/backdrop in Tobago.

Trinbagonians need to assiduously adhere to the lyrics/spirit of our national anthem to the extent that Our Story not only demands that "side by side we stand'' but also the salient fact that Trinbagonians must seek/strive to completely destroy/sever that imposed/inherited Euro-centric colonial, divisive umbilical cord and see /treat/respect each other as one former colonised/enslaved people—that's our common historical denominator, period.

Trinibagonians might have come from different places/countries and on different European ships but at the end of the day, we all have been lodged in the same former European colonised and enslaved boat, period.

Truth Be Told: As the "Father of the Nation'' Dr Eric Williams once stated: "On August 31, 1962, a country will be free, a miniature state will be established but a society and a nation will not have been formed. After August 31, 1962, the people of Trinidad and Tobago will face the fiercest test in their history... whether they can invest with flesh and blood the bare skeleton of their national anthem, 'here every creed and race find an equal place'.''

In the final analysis, unfortunately and most regrettably, this "fiercest test'', as in final exam, is still in session and under the control/supervision of a presiding invigilator in January 2013—results still unknown.

• Dr Kwame Nantambu is a

part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies.

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