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Caribbean series back on: Prof. Ravi Chaturvedi supports the move

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Photo source : thehindu.com

Guyana: The Padma Shri award winner Prof Ravi Chaturvedi is supporting the cause of setting up test matches, in the upcoming Indian tour of West Indies, at T&T and Guyana. The BCCI has declared that they will resume all bilateral relations with West Indies, this happened as they signed off the 2016 Indian tour of the Caribbean. It seems that the BCCI has put all bad blood behind them, and have recommence their bilateral relations after they were severed in 2014.

During the months of July and August four test matches will be played in Antigua, St Lucia, Jamaica and T&T. The eminent author and commentator , Chaturvedi, has toured West Indies on five occasions and believes that at least one match should be played at T&T and Guyana , seeing the Indian diaspora in the countries.

He said “My 1976 commentary stint from the West Indies enabled me to understand all that can be done at various levels to foster stronger friendship with the fanciful Caribbean islands. The reciprocity in the areas of culture, commerce and politics need to be strengthened.”

“In view of the ongoing ICC Twenty20 World Cup, my focus consequently will only be on cricket as a strong bond between the West Indies and India. With nearly 45 per cent of the population being people of Indian origin in Guyana and T&T, one feels while planning the West Indies tour, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago must get a match whenever Indian team tours West Indies.”

“In fact, the ideal situation would be to have both the Tests and ODIs in these two countries as permanent fixtures in the future Indian tours of the Caribbean. With Shashank Manohar and Anurag Thakur at the helm of the affairs of the BCCI and Dave Cameron in charge of the WICB, the point may be taken to its logical conclusion. The Indian High Commissions at Georgetown and Port-of-Spain may also chip in with their opinion to strengthen my point of view.”

“My suggestion was favourably received by the two then presidents of the West Indies Board, the late Jeff Stollmeyer in 1976 and Wes Hall in 2002.”

Credits: Guardian

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  1. Its nice to see that the Indian diaspora is being thought about . Sports as a unifying trend is refreshing.

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Stop Blaming Indians for the Black Crisis in Trinidad and Tobago

Raymond Ramcharitar, a columnist with the Trinidad Guardian, is quite accurate when he wrote that “the oppressor these days in the minds of many Trinidadians is not the white world, but local Indian. It’s a narrative relentlessly repeated on talk radio, in newspaper columns, in academia.

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Indian Coolies preparing rice in The West Indies. Circa 1890-96. The West Indies has a strong presence of the people of East India decent.
Indian Coolies preparing rice in The West Indies. Circa 1890-96. The West Indies has a strong presence of the people of East India decent. Wikimedia Commons

 – by Kamal Persad

July 10, 2017:

Blacks in Trinidad and Tobago are describing the situation of the black community as a “crisis” and as one requiring urgent attention.  The main areas of concern are the crime situation affecting the black community, the black on black violence, the murders of young black men and the gang warfare.

They point to the prison population as being black in composition, and the under 18-year-old prisoners at the Youth Training Centre (YTC). The recent outbreak of young black men from the St Michael’s Boys’ Home is also a serious concern to them.

Another area of expressed concern is the under-achievement of blacks in education. This becomes an emotional issue annually when the results of the SEA, CSEC, and CAPE are released and the lists of the top achievers and scholarship winners are announced. There is a visible under-representation of blacks as top scorers in these exams.

Blacks are constantly comparing their situation of crisis with the perceived success of Indians Click To Tweet

The 2017 SEA exam results

An example is the results of the 2017 SEA exams in which the first three top places were attained by Indian students from denominational schools.  Success in business and the professions are also referred constantly by blacks. They point out the absence of blacks.

Trinidad is a plural society and blacks are constantly comparing their situation of crisis with the perceived success of Indians – Indians are their point of reference and comparison.

One tendency in this obvious comparison of ethnicities is to blame Indians for the crisis in the black community. This aspect of black analysis of their situation has the potential to lead to tension and conflict.  Sometimes the United National Congress (UNC) and its leader, Mrs Kamla Persad Bissesser, are singled out for attack especially since she led the government for five years (2010 – 2015), and the UNC political base lay in the Hindu and Indian community. 

The black talk-shows, articles, letters, etc.

The sources of black opinion are expressed in the many call-in talk shows on the radio, in letters to the editor, and articles in the print media such as the weekly TnT Mirror which is virtually an Afro-centric weekly newspaper.  These media outlets are followed by the Trinidad Express in which the black position is given widespread publicity by several columnists who are clearly Afro-centric in their worldview and position on issues. There is the complete absence of any alternate Indian-orientated opinion in this daily newspaper.  In this sense, the Trinidad Express can be deemed to be an urban Afro-centric newspaper and certainly not “national” or “independent” as it proclaims itself to be.

Aiyegoro Ome of the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) and its cultural arm, the National Action Cultural Committee (NACC), in a letter to the Express (“Mark Emancipation Day in Every Home.” June 24, 2017 p. 15) suggested that Emancipation Day should be celebrated widely. “Let’s face it, the African family is in crisis. The signs are everywhere. Communities which are primarily African are going through torture. Young African males, in particular, are the frequent perpetrators and well as, the victims of crime, notwithstanding the accomplishments of many Africans youths, the status of Africans is tainted with a lot of nonsense.” 

Mayday, Mayday!  SOS, SOS

Using the language of distress and trauma in a lengthy letter to the press (Guardian. June 20, 2017, p 21), another black writer, Michael Joseph, wrote: “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!  SOS, SOS, SOS to our leaders. Where are they? The Afro-centric community is leaderless and without voice. ” He continued: “Our predicament:  We are experiencing a period of genocide in the black communities, where the system is geared towards our demise and we are in full co-operation shown by our actions and attitudes towards to each other.” Joseph stated that the “system” is working for others and not for blacks:

Michael Joseph added: “This multi-ethnic, multi-racial society is exactly what it is, every ethnic group is looking out for themselves and nothing is wrong with that.  What is wrong is the fact that the Afro-centric communities are without voice. We are still being sold to the highest bidder, depending on the education and indoctrination. And so, we contribute to the progress and success of everyone else but ourselves. Where are our leaders?” 

“Wake up black man!”

Joseph called upon blacks to “wake up black man – we are in no position to feed ourselves and protect our families and communities, and that is not good for a people.” He added: “Strength in numbers seems to have no meaning in the black communities. When will the killing stop? Who is benefiting from it?” He hoped the black youths would “stop killing each other, our youths in due course would put away the guns for the real war.” This black predicament affects others: “Children growing up angry with no love of one parent or another, “as such the well-off in society “get robbed or killed by the same disgruntled youths.” Thus blacks pose a real danger to society. This is a point repeated by other black writers on the black condition – the national price the country has to pay because of the black condition and crisis.

The criminal attack by bandits on Fr Clyde Harvey on Monday, June 13, 2017, on the Roman Catholic compound at Hermitage Road, Gonsales, in Belmont, Port-of-Spain, is viewed by the black intelligentsia as the epitome of the black crisis.  The Prime Minister’s reaction was first published in condemnation of the attack of Fr Clyde Harvey: “The attack on Father Clyde Harvey by able-bodied, gun-toting men sadly represents the worst that exists within our communities. Notwithstanding what difficulties one may be facing in life there are limits beneath which the human form should not sink.”  Dealing with the family background of the criminals, he said: “The miscreants have parents and I hope that somewhere in this country today, there are a few parents who are hanging their heads in shame as they reflect in private as to what more they might have done to prevent any of our citizens from behaving in this despicable way.”  

“This is a black crisis.  Don’t put lipstick on it!”

Dr Keith Rowley did not identify the ethnicity of the criminals or reacted in any ethnic-orientated way to the crime. The identity of the bandits were known when the police arrested four young men between the ages of 17 and 24 years, all from the Gonsales area in Belmont in Port-of-Spain. The many other responses to this high-profile crime against a popular priest were generally to condemn the crime. This was not the case of others.

Dr Theodore Lewis is professor emeritus of the University of Minnesota in the United States, retired and residing in Trinidad. He reported on a conversation he had with Fr Harvey before the crime in an article in the Express, about the crime in the Laventille area, and about “his parishioners who bear the brunt of the crime.” Lewis wrote: “But he (Fr Harvey) went further and yes, it is black boys whom he says can see no avenue for escape. Fr Harvey is not afraid to name the problem.  He is not putting water in his mouth. This is a black crisis.  Don’t put lipstick on it.”

“He (Fr Harey) points to the white-collar dimension of crime, crime in suit and tie, hiding behind the cloak of respectability.” In fact, in response to the attack on his person and church, Fr Harvey said that “in a sense, I cannot blame them. Some have identified the men as two wicked young men. They are not wicked, they are victims of our society. It is not about forgiveness. I don’t see them as guilty or see them as misguided – they are victims.”

Thieving black people’s money

When Fr Harvey was forced to open the church vault with a gun at his head, he recounted the event that one of the bandits, when they saw the cheques, one of them said: “All these cheques, you must have money, allyuh pastors have money, allyuh thieving black people money.”

Fr Harvey’s comment on the incident was that the thieves did not distinguish between a “pastor” and a “priest.” He completely ignored, and had no comment to make on, the psychology of the criminal mind, the black young men, who view him and his church as “thieving black people money” and feel justified in robbing and assaulting him, and from what one of them told the policeman, other victims as well, motivated by a sense of victimhood of blacks.

White collar criminals responsible for black crime

Fr Harvey blamed “society” and “white collar criminals in suit and tie” as responsible for the actions of the black criminals, while the black criminals blame him and his church for “thieving black people money,” a truly interesting divergence of positions.

Theodore Lewis commented on the crime against Fr Harvey: “Black boys behind the bridge do not have the means to do that [white collar crime]. They are not accepted in prestige schools, primary and secondary. The university is blind to the absence of blacks in medicine and engineering despite what Noel Kallicharan says.   Fr Harvey was the victim of ‘societal forces that are at play.’”

Lewis added: “Fr Harvey is the one person there is in this country who can sit with gangsters and reason with them to end their war, the main casualties of which are young black men. Men are fighting for their lives daily, while the sons of Mr Big go to university, and while politicians fight for State land for sugar workers, Black men are dying too soon, their beautiful children left without a daddy to read to them at night, black children born into a country that does not tell them about the prowess of Courtney Bartholomew …“

At no point does Lewis place responsibility at the door of the black leaders. The absence of black men at university in medicine and engineering, it seems, is at the expense of Indians who are students of these disciplines. The “sugar workers” are mainly Indians, the prestige schools are populated by Indian children. By being successful in school and university, especially in medicine, law, and engineering, Indians are accused of contributing to the black condition in Trinidad and Tobago.

Blame the PPP Government (2010 – 2015)

Errol Pilgrim followed the Theodore-Lewis’ warped line of thought in his article, “The African Condition in Tatters in T&T” (TnT Mirror. June 16, 2017, p. 11). He identified the criminals who attacked Fr Harvey as black men and placed the African condition of crisis, not within the African community, but on the People’s Partnership Government (2010 – 2015), and more particularly, at the feet of Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissesser.

The criminals who attacked Fr Harvey are described as “cowardly young Black miscreants.”  Pilgrim wrote that “as we move towards our thirty-second-year celebration of emancipation, it is difficult to identify anything in the condition of Africans in our nascent society that is worthy of celebration. For far too long, the character of the young African male, existing on the margins of society, has been largely defined by unrelenting brutality and brutishness and an aversion to anything that is decent and lawful.”

Errol Pilgrim referred to the Selwyn Ryan Report and proceeded to lay the condition of African crisis with Kamla Persad Bissesser and the PP government. He stated that the cancellation of the off-shore vessels by the PP government is responsible for crime among blacks. Pilgrim’s language is quite extreme: “The drugs and gun smugglers enjoyed a long uninterrupted reign, getting their mindless minions, consisting of young Black men, to reign terror on the streets and to set the indigent pockets of African habitation along the East-West corridor awash with African blood.”

Pilgrim wrote that the recommended national service scheme was a “stepped up servile CEPEP scheme” and the recommended use of sports was answered by the PP government “racially-orientated decision to seek to lay waste and ruin the monument that the previous government had started to erect.” He added that the PP’s Life Sport programme “burgeoned into a mammoth criminal enterprise.”  This is political propaganda which fail to address the real causes of the black crisis, but puts blame for the black condition on others.

Blame Kamla Persad-Bissessar

Errol Pilgrim quoted the Ryan Report which asked the question: “What does increased youth criminality say about the failure of two earlier generations to provide ample role models and institutional support to guide the current generation?” Pilgrim’s answer is limited to five years, 2010 to 2017, when Kamla Persad-Bissessar was prime minister. He blames her for everything negative in the black community.  His subsequent week’s article, “Hard To Be Black and Proud In T&T,” carried a photo of Kamla Persad-Bissessar with the caption: “Whereas the PNM has sought to be all things to all people, the UNC has openly and quite effectively sought to promote as a matter of policy, the interests and development of their East Indian political base …“

Errol Pilgrim’s article is a comparative account of the failures of Africans and the successes of Indians with the conclusion that Indians are responsible for the African condition.  Pilgrim’s final article in the month of June, 2017, “I’ll Keep Writing Until Black Justice Happens,” (TnT Mirror, June 30, 2017, p. 11) disclosed his purpose of writing: “ … the racial and ethnic perils that the Black man in Trinidad and Tobago has had to endure to the advantage of other racial and ethnic groups. I propose to persist in my focus on this taboo of race and ethnicity.”

Blacks are never held accountable for their situation, and do not take responsibility for the crisis which they proclaim is facing them. The continuous administrations of Eric Williams from 1956 to the time of his death in 1981 and the PNM in power for 30 continuous years is never mentioned.  Discussion of the continuation of PNM in government under Patrick Manning is avoided, and now under Dr. Keith Rowley.

The new oppressors are Indians

Are we to accept that these PNM administrations did not foster the interests of PNM black supporters? There is silence on this topic. To give a historical background of the black condition would create distress – it is better to avoid Eric Williams altogether.

Raymond Ramcharitar, a columnist with the Trinidad Guardian, is quite accurate when he wrote that “the oppressor these days in the minds of many Trinidadians is not the white world, but local Indian.  It’s a narrative relentlessly repeated on talk radio, in newspaper columns, in academia.  In last week’s Express Selwyn Cudjoe began to beat the drum again saying that Indians were brought here to stymie the economic progress of Africans” (“The View From  AL Jaeera ” Guardian. May 24, 2017 p. 20)

Ramcharitar was referring to Cudjoe’s article in the Sunay Express (“Getting It Right.” March 26, 2017, p. 14) in which Cudjoe wrote that “Indians were brought to Trinidad to undercut the progress that Africans were making at the economic front” and “Indian labor had managed to put Africans back in their place.” Cudjoe concluded that “when Kamla talks next, I hope she talks about the impact indentureship had on her African brothers and sisters and how, in 2017, we can rectify the conditions of poor Africans who still remain at the bottom of the economic pie.” It is as though Indians and whites owe reparation to Africans. 

There is no Indian voice in the Express and Mirror

The black blame of Indians for their condition of crisis is now given historical justification, and as such, Indians must pay for black reparation, an argument based on historical fabrication and falsification. When Indians are mentioned in this discussion of the black crisis, it is the black view of Indians which is published.  There is virtually no Indian voice (columnist) published in the Express and the TnT Mirror, very few letters in response to the issues raised by blacks. There is no discussion of the Indian condition in Trinidad and Tobago or analysis of issues from an Indian viewpoint.

In a Newsday article (“Indo-Trinidadians Position Today.” June 12, 2017, p 12), Trevor Sudama wrote that “we do not know a great deal about the Indo-Trinidadians’ presence in the society today because not much relevant and informative research has been done. To argue for such a program is to run the risk of being accused of having an obsession with race and engaging in race rhetoric. In a polite society, it is considered taboo to talk openly about race.” Yet blacks are engaged in race discussion about themselves and Indians daily, and the media give enormous time and space to entertain this discussion.

One expects that this discussion of the black crisis, as defined by blacks themselves, would continue with great intensity, and the Indian presence would continue to be ignored. When Indians are mentioned at all, it is by blacks who are engaged in comparison of the Indian condition as they perceive it or to blame Indians for the black crisis

This situation cannot continue and Indians must find avenues to respond to black attacks on Indians and to give as far as possible, objective assessment of the reality in Trinidad and Tobago.

Kamal Persad (BA & MA in History, UWI) is from Carapichaima, Trinidad and Tobago. He is an Indian academic Ideologue.

 

 

4 responses to “Stop Blaming Indians for the Black Crisis in Trinidad and Tobago”

  1. It seems strange to not recognise that Indians are black people too and were always referred to as such by the Europeans.It is American Television causing the problems if British channels were broadcasted thing would be much better

    • Irrelevant in terms of this article. There are historical and ethnical distictions being made specifically in terms of Trinidad and Tobago. Outer perceptions are not being considered here. But the fact of the matter is that there is a social divide…. If this social divide and the “Black condition” as described here is justified is another story.

  2. They ( the writers of this article) know fully well that Afro Trinidadians have very little economic agency and know that the U.S. has a finger on who operates the illicit trade of Guns and Cocaine, both trades of which Afro-Trinidadians strangely have little or no control. They know also that people are putting the pieces of the puzzle together and finding strange coincidences. It is about time they come face-to-face with this and stop engaging in the victim blaming of their own making concerning the Afro-Trinidadian community,

  3. Ramcahritar has written the same article in the local newspapers for over ten years, every week, with a slightly different angle or sometimes basically the same argument as the author demonstrates with their sub headings. Ethno nationalists like Ramcharitar, Kumar Mahabir and now this author peddle this narrative of inter ethnic tensions over and over. Outside of the worldvoew of ethno nationalists these examples have deeper contexts and counter examples. This much of what is said here is not true, and simply serves to help ethno nationalists to create divisions in the society that the majority of people in T&T do not hold to. Its almost like Sat Maharaj the secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha organization which is the major Hindu organization in Trinidad and Tobago, has culture warriors and sends them out each day to peddle some ancient version of Indians he has in his head and that most people in T&T think never really existed. They want a battle between ethno nationalists on each side because it provides Sat and his cronies with political power. The reality is T&T for the majority is a fluid place of culture and not a pluralist one. The writers i criticise hold to the latter definition while most everyday people live the first example.

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Australia to abolish 457 existing Visa programmes, Changes won’t affect Indians much: Harinder Sidhu

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Harinder Sidhu said that the number of India-born Australians has tripled in the last one decade providing relief by ousting fears over the new visa regime

New Delhi, May 9, 2017: After Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced last month that he will be abolishing the existing 457 Visa programme, currently used by temporary foreign workers to gain employment, the country’s High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu said on Tuesday that she did not expect the move to affect Indians much.

Speaking at a media interaction organised by the Indian Women’s Press Corps here, Sidhu said the move to abolish the 457 Visa programme was aimed to ensure that people who come to Australia should be properly qualified.

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The 457 Visa programme is used mainly to hire foreign workers in the restaurant, IT and medical industries and the majority of such visa holders came from India, Britain and China. Turnbull’s statement, coming days after he visited New Delhi, caused a lot of consternation in India.

According to government statistics, 95,758 people were living in Australia under 457 Visa programme last year, with the highest proportion coming from India (24.6 per cent), followed by Britain (19.5 per cent) and China (5.8 per cent).

Sidhu said that most of the Indian 457 Visa holders work in the IT sector and, given the “great shortage” of IT workers in her country, “we expect Indians to continue to qualify” for Australian visas.

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“This (457 Visa) is just a temporary visa that allowed people to come and work for a week to four years,” she said.

She said that the number of student visas issued to Indians has also continued to rise over the last three years.

From 46,000 student visas issued in 2014, the number rose to 53,000 in 2015 and to over 60,000 in 2017, the High Commissioner said.

As for incidents of racism in Australia, Sidhu, who is a person of Indian origin, said that Australia was “one of the most successful multicultural societies” with people from 120 countries.

“There is a policy of zero tolerance at all levels of government (on racism),” she said.

In this connection, she also pointed out that 48 per cent of Australia’s total population of 24 million are first and second generation migrants.

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As for India-Australia ties, the High Commissioner said that both countries shared “a fairly strong bilateral relationship”.

She said that during Prime Minister Turnbull’s visit to India last month, he and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi agreed to “add fresh momentum” to the bilateral ties.

Stating that both countries shared common strategic and security interests, Sidhu said that military ties were growing in numbers, “notably bilateral naval exercises”.

She also said that both countries shared a “strong economic relationship” while mentioning that Modi and Turnbull have agreed to “move forward” on the proposed Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

Later this year, the largest ever Australian trade delegation will visit India for the Australia Trade Week.

According to the High Commissioner, the personal relationship between Modi and Turbull is very important for growth of businesses in both countries. (IANS)

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101-year-old Indian Woman Man Kaur bags Gold in 100 metres sprint at the World Masters Games in New Zealand

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101-year-old Man Kaur , Twitter

Auckland, April 24, 2017: Indian Man Kaur, 101, won the 100 metres sprint at the World Masters Games here on Monday. Hailing from Chandigarh, Man Kaur was the lone contender in the 100-years-and-over event which she completed in a minute and 14 seconds.

She will also compete in the 200m race on Wednesday, and has registered to take part in the shot put and javelin throw events.

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Man Kaur has raced her way to glory in many championships with training from son Gurdev Singh, who lives in Canada and is also a runner. She took to running at the age of 93 on encouragement of her son.

She has won more than 20 medals in the Masters Games across the globe.

“I follow whatever my son does. I train every day with my son. I like to keep myself fit and healthy. I will continue running till the death,” she was quoted as saying by tvnz.co.nz. (IANS)