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Sight and insight

August 12, 2001
By Selwyn R. Cudjoe

IN philosophy as well as in life, one must always distinguish between sight and insight; phenomenon and nomenon. Sight refers to that which we see while insight suggests a deeper appreciation of what we see or experience.

Phenomenon refers to the appearances of things whereas nomenon is concerned with the inner dimension of reality. While sight and phenomenon describe the outward appearance of reality, insight and nomenon examine the inner cause of any given phenomenon. These distinctions are necessary to understand and to predict social, scientific and/or political truth.

It was revealed last Friday that the Ministry of National Security used Special Branch officers to track Captain Gary Griffith who is alleged to be having a relationship with Mikela Panday. Such a story has all the sensational ingredients: PM's daughter, a young attractive Indian woman. Handsome soldier, an African man, or so he appears. Their relation breaks the taboo about Sat Maharaj's insistence that never the races shall meet. Yet, young Mikela and Griffith, oblivious of these hide-bound rules, seek to clear their own path.

Such an affair is rich in irony. It pierces the surface talk about "one love," "national unity," "my brothers and sisters" and reveals the contempt for Africans. It also contradicts UNC's rhetoric and reveals the nature of the beast. The more they talk about one love, the more they reveal the one love is for their race. The more they talk about integrity and transparency, the more their greed and corruption bubble to the surface. The more they pontificate about their devotion to our people, the more they manifest their commitment to enriching themselves.

On the same day the newspapers exposed Mikela's affair, Newsday revealed Ramesh Sharma of NWRHA paid himself $613,440. When caught, he refunded the money. Five hundred thousand, eight hundred dollars were wired to Ranjit Sookdar's bank account. When caught, he said he did not know who sent the money. Says he: "I immediately requested that it be wired back to the account from where it came." I wished we were all so blessed. How delightful if would be if all of us could write cheques worth thousands of dollars to ourselves and have a fairy-godfather wire large sums of money to our personal accounts.

On the same day, 19-year old Junior Roberts from Tobago, was sentenced to three years in jail for robbing Christian Reiter, a German tourist, of $2,600 and 500 Deusch marks. In this instance, "justice" was swift. Within a week of the incident, Roberts was incarcerated. Calling the crime "inhumane," Magistrate Mark Wellington used Robert's incarceration to send a message "to like-minded persons." Presumably he was referring to Africans. Before August 2, Roberts had "a clear record."

In all these stories, race, respectability and titles play an important part. Sharma and Sookdar are Indians. Reiter is European. Griffith and Roberts are Africans. The Africans are treated as criminals (although Roberts confessed his guilt) whereas the Indians are given the benefit of the doubt. Sharma and Sookdar remain free and continue to receive their pay. Europeans must be protected from the "inhumanity" of the African.

Meanwhile, the fraud squad insists on the "sensitive" nature of their enquiry into the NWRHA (Trinidad Guardian, August 10).

On August 9, the Concerned Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago rallied to alert citizens about threats to their freedom and of an impending social and constitutional crisis. Cognisant of the need of citizens to intervene in their affairs, yours truly offered an 18-page analysis of the crisis. I advised citizens about the constitutional dangers of selecting our next President with the votes of two MPs whose legality to sit in the House is the subject of court action.

The successful President will select a Chief Justice in June. If this happens, and the two MPs are found to have contravened the election law, there is no constitutional remedy for the illegal selection of the President and CJ.

Further, section 113 of the Representation of the People Act demands that this matter be acted upon expeditiously. The failure to resolve it after one year, one-fifth of the term of the House, is not expeditious, especially when a similar matter in Florida, US, was settled within four weeks. Yet, our AG persists in doing everything to keep this matter going on as long as possible so that his party can frustrate justice through legality.

Such behaviour reminds us of when he used the Privy Council as his neighbourhood grocery store and exploited every legal loophole to achieve his end. When it did not suit his fancy, he decided it was no longer important.

Once more, he seeks to exploit the Privy Council for his benefit. Previously, only a few persons were involved. Now, the fate of the entire nation is subjected to his manipulation of the law, hence the intervention of Concerned Citizens. We insist: come hell or high water this matter must be resolved by December 11, 2001.

Although the BBC carried reports of our activities, our newspapers did not carry one word of my address. Interestingly enough, Saturday Express devoted a large story to Swami Divyanand Teerth who "will be making pronouncements to the Hindu community about the position they should adopt on a variety of issues." Yet, our pronouncements are treated as non-events. Newsday did not even mention it.

Fairness demands that African views be accorded the same media attention as those of other groups. If Roberts, Griffith and Cudjoe were Indians; Sharma, Sookdar and Teerth were Africans and Fiefher an African lad from Tobago justice and reportage would have been played out differently. Roberts would have been given more time to prepare his case; Griffith would have been welcomed as a family member; and my views would have been published.

Our nation must examine the nomenon of our existence. We cannot afford only to describe our surface reality.

We must dig deeply into the subsoil of our social and political experiences to discover the essence of our reality. Only such insights will allow us to face up to our problems honestly.

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