The Independence dream...not for blacks
As a black professional in this country today, I feel a profound and deepening sense of hopelessness.
Were black people naïve to have optimistically heeded Dr Eric Williams' Independence dream for our nation? We epitomised the sentiment and vision that "every creed and race find an equal place". For blacks there was no Mother India or Mother Africa but just one Mother T&T, a home of equal opportunity for us all. Fifty years on, where has it gotten us? Black people have not progressed like other races in the society, but are worse off.
Blacks did not inherit businesses or colonial estates, nor did they get title to land like indentured labourers. By contrast, black people came to T&T as slaves, and upon Emancipation had nothing but their freedom. Ex-sugar workers were given land... however blacks, displaced by dismantled or privatised industries in this country, were not afforded the same advantage. Consequently black people represent the largest segment of the salaried working class, whose PAYE tax dollars contributed to the progress we collectively enjoy today.
Jobs for which black people are qualified and experienced are simply not available due to our race.
Today we experience no jobs, no homes, and a growing disparity between salaries and the cost of living, further marginalising and pauperising the working class. Is it any wonder that our youths are angry, violent and take their share of the national patrimony, as they are not afforded any legitimate way to partake in the nation's bounty?
Therefore, should we remain steadfast in our commitment towards creating a united Trinidad and Tobago or should we bind together to support one another as other races have done?
Clearly there are negative consequences associated with this approach towards nation building. However, for blacks to progress, tactically we must rethink our strategy, regroup, refocus, and strategically reposition ourselves to a position of strength and respect once again.
While my Christian morality prevents me from advocating a philosophy of every race for itself, an alternative perspective is that Afro-Trinidadians adopt a similar stance to other races and support each other to develop business and other social organisations to project and protect their economic and other interests towards prosperity.