is one of the few countries in the Caribbean that enjoys
a variety of races. It enjoyed a rich history of trials
and tribulations which saw this country changing hands many
Today we have the influence of the Spanish, the Portuguese
and the British within our society. The two dominant races,
the African and the East Indian, also played integral roles
in shaping La Trinity. From the slave trade to indentureship,
to colonialism and beyond, not many countries around the
world can boast of such a rich heritage.
But instead of appreciating our uniqueness and instilling
the practices of racial solidarity, there are those who
are bent on destabilising the peaceful coexistence of mankind
in this gem of the Caribbean.
It has now become the norm of the Opposition United National
Congress to charge racial discrimination anytime an East
Indian (or if we choose the more subtle term, an Indo-Trinidadian)
is accused of an offence.
Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma has been accused of misbehaviour
in public office. This is a very serious allegation as it
has brought the independence of the judiciary into question.
We all believe that equal justice prevails, but the allegations
made against the goodly CJ have sought to cast doubts in
our minds as to whether it really does.
As serious as this allegation is, one would have hoped that
the calls for investigations into the matter would have
been resounding in all quarters. Instead, the race card
has been played, with the Opposition accusing the PNM administration
of ethnic cleansing.
Is it to say that Indo-Trinidadians are not to be investigated?
Are Indo-Trinidadians to be exempted from investigations
as opposed to other ethnic groups?
It is this PNM administration, accused of ethnic cleansing,
that initiated investigations into its own in the likes
of Dr Keith Rowley and Minister Eric Williams. And in spite
of the charges of ethnic cleansing being labelled against
the Government, rational thinking citizens can see that
racial harmony is very much alive in the rank and file of
From party chairman Franklin Khan to the PNMs choice
for House Speaker and Senate President, Barendra Sinanan
and Dr Linda Baboolal, respectively, even government ministers
Diane Seukeran, Christine Sahadeo and Satish Ramroop are
part of the Government that is accused of ethnic cleansing.
The issue of racial imbalance has now permeated the walls
of the protective services with police officers charging
there will be an issue of racial imbalance if they are not
promoted. What sort of an argument is this?
The fact remains that because of the mixture of races that
proliferate the society and its complexity, along with the
individualism and divergent cultures that exist, there can
never be a racial balance in any organisation.
Placing racial balance before expertise and competencies
will not auger well. We will never be able to produce the
desired end product simply because we choose race over competence.
There always was and will always continue to be entities
in our society where different races are dominant.
Racial balance or professional expertise?
When we examine the two major races, we will see that Africans
continue to dominate such things as calypso and the protective
services while East Indians continue to dominate the business
On the world athletic stage, blacks continue to be the dominant
race, while in T&T the East Indian man continues to
dominate the cricket pitch.
Recently, there was a letter to the editor calling for more
East Indians to be included in the Soca Warriors team for
the World Cup.
T&T, this archaic thinking is very unhealthy for a developing
society and it only continues to set us back. Why is it
that the colour of a mans skin and his ethnicity continue
to bear credence today in almost every issue that arises?
Why cant we see people as citizens of T&T, regardless
of skin texture? What we need to ensure is that the right
people are placed into the right positions. Why should we
compromise the calibre of players on the team just to claim
Racial harmony can only exists in the minds and the hearts
of men. The way we treat each other, the things we do and
say, practising the ideals of being our brothers keeper,
coming together for a common cause, rallying round
the WIthese are all indications of racial harmony.
Having 50 per cent East Indian and 50 per cent African in
every institution is not the solution.
The older folks need to take a page out of the books of
us youth. Look at the relationships we have with peers,
whether it be at school or at play. We have no time to argue
about race or play the game.
At the end of the day, we all have to live in this land
together and if the Maharajs dominate the medical fields
and the Tobys continue to dominate the football fields that
should not be an issue. It all has to do with the individuals
thinking and liking.
As for the charges of ethnic cleansing by the Government,
in the words of a colleague, thats rubbish.
Jeffers is the education officer of the PNM National Youth