As I pen this article I hope our Honourable Prime Minister will be alerted to it on time.
Since the formal appointment of the new Prime Minister of the Republic Trinidad & Tobago, Honourable Kamla Persad Bissessar I have heard her make comments to the effect that we shall no longer have Indo – Trinidadians, Afro – Trinidadians etc.
Before our Honourable Prime Minister assumed Office, I would have taken the implications of such a statement differently. But as the Political Leader of the Nation, the implications are no longer the same.
Citizens of this country would recall when some persons expressed similar sentiments at another time and place they claimed there was an “ethnic cleansing ” plan and some cried “Douglarisation “.
Several years earlier the then Prime Minister of the Nation Patrick Augustus Manning attempted to deny the Indian community of Republic Trinidad & Tobago a holiday applied for by the Indian community as ” Indian Arrival Day “and change it’s nomenclature to “Arrival Day. ” At that time I wrote an article disagreeing with the then Prime Minister of the land – Patrick Manning. In that article I indicated that some Africans arrived here as free people,explorers ,etc., but that if we were forced to celebrate “Arrival Day ” I would come into Port – of – Spain, with members of my organization all in chains,as reminiscient of the inhumane treatment of Africans as we became legal chattel under the then European colonial powers.
The Holiday remained ” Indian Arrival Day “.
Are we now expected to deny the Indian community in Republic Trinidad & Tobago to celebrate one of their great moments of achievement now that the Honourable Prime Minister has dismissed racial designations and distinctions?
What of our National Anthem : “here every creed and race find an equal place “? Are we going to discard that as well?
I want to suggest that we stop being hypocritical.I disagree with our Honourable Prime Minister, Ms Kamla Persad Bissessar, that we should submerge memories of who we are or deny or racial identity.
I agree that it would be well for human beings to relate with each other on the basis of our common humanity; but this common humanity is not quite so common. This humanity has such political dimensions and implications philosophically and other wise that some social scientists when they discover this among some people refer to it’s occurence as humanism.
We can be Trinbagonians without denying our heritage and racial identity. What we have to safeguard against is the tendency by some to judge others on the sole basis of race and to falsely ascribe certain attributes of human behavior and character solely to racial origins.
The implications of the no race issue,while it can be addressed here, will still have international implications.
Many countries employ questionaires and official forms that require that persons designate their race. Are we going to instruct our citizens to desist from filling out these items on such forms?
So,please Madame Prime Minister allow us to consult on these matters as you have indicated that a Peoples Platform government will do.
LET EVERY CREED AND RACE FIND AN EQUAL PLACE.