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Multiculturalism and its Challenges in Trinidad and Tobago (1)

By Selwyn R. Cudjoe(2)
March 09, 2011

Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than the love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole. The glue that fits the pieces is the sealing of its original shape. It is such a love that reassembles our African and Asiatic fragments, the cracked heirlooms whose restoration shows its white scars.

Derek Walcott, The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory

Recognition of every individual's uniqueness and humanity lies at the core of liberal democracy, understood as a way of political and personal life. The liberal democratic value of diversity therefore may not be captured by the need to preserve distinct and unique cultures over time, which provides each separate group of people with a secure culture and identity for themselves and their progeny.

Quoted in Charles Taylor, Multiculturalism

It is common knowledge that Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, changed the name of the Ministry of Culture to the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism as a gesture toward my friend Sat Maharaj, secretary general of the Maha Sabha, more as a payoff for favors rendered than the culmination of a carefully thought-out cultural policy. Sat has always advocated the celebration of the multicultural dimensions of our society rather than our working toward the creation of a transcendent national culture that results in the formation of national consciousness and loyalty to the nation. His demands have been fueled by a conviction that non-Hindu groups and festivals (such as Africans and carnival) received more government funding than his causes (the Hindus and Diwali). He wanted to level the playing field so that all cultural groups were funded in proportion to their numbers. This demand was driven also by his fears of what he calls the "doularization" of the Indian population and the inherent suspicions that minorities within any society feel toward the presumed advantages of the majority group.

Following her concession to Mr. Maharaj, Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar, subsequently revealed her own misgivings about the previous government's disbursement of funds to cultural groups. Speaking with Jason Edward Kaufman, a foreign reporter she invited to attend the Diwali celebrations in November 2010, the prime minister said she wanted to "see the emergence of 'a new national mind' based on the values of respect and understanding... I want Trinidad and Tobago 'to be the best example in the world of unity in diversity.'"(3) She claimed that while the previous government "did not pay much attention to the Hindu population, ... her government would." Anand Ramlogan, attorney general, was of a similar opinion: "'People think of Trinidad as a predominantly African country. We want to rectify this mis-perception." Previously there was "discrimination manifest in subtle ways, ... one of which was the allocation of state funding.'"(4)

The first expression of the People's Partnership multicultural policy was articulated by the Honorable Winston Peters, minister of arts and multiculturalism, at a conference, "Towards a Multiculturalism Policy," held at the Center of Excellence on October 13, 2010, under the auspices of his ministry and the University of the West Indies.(5) There he expanded upon the remarks of the prime minister and of Sat Maharaj. He noted that the policy of multiculturalism came about because the government of Trinidad and Tobago recognized that "a large portion of the citizenry feels itself alienated from sharing in the development of the nation."(6) He did not say why they felt that way. Further, he said the policy seeks to foster "a climate of inclusion, equitable distribution of resources and recognition and celebration of cultural diversity."

In his short statement of 1,000 words, the word "diversity" occurred nine times; national identity once; and national consciousness was never mentioned. This policy speaks to our diversity rather than to our commonalities. Only once in this address did the minister mention what we have in common as a people. He never outlined an approach to foster our Trinbagonianness. Interestingly enough, Minister Peters' words do not match his actions, as recent articles by Martin Daly and Lennox Grant point out.(7) One would have thought that the person who implored "Little black boy; go to school and learn" would have been the first person to understand the scientific achievements inherent in the creation of the pan and the genius of the pioneers of this musical form.

When the prime minister, the attorney general, and the minister of multiculturalism attack aspects of black culture that reflect the essence of Africanness and African survival in this country, one wonders whether the term "multiculturalism," as used by the People's Partnership (PP), is not directed at promoting Hindu culture at the expense of the other cultures in Trinidad and Tobago under the guise of unity in diversity, the slogan used for the Australian multicultural policy. When one announces that our nation's cultural policy is intended to assuage the alienation and exclusion East Indians feel, I wonder if we are starting out this policy with a false premise. In other words, how can we base a cultural policy on the alienation that one group says it feels when the very argument made in favor of East Indians is that they have maintained their culture (cited as the reason for their advantages in the society). On the other hand, that the Africans have lost their cultural heritage is advanced as one reason why so much antisocial behavior occurs in the black community.

We can't have it both ways. Either East Indians are more closely linked to and interwoven in their various religions and cultures in ways that Africans are not; or Indians have deliberately separated themselves from the society because of the particularity of their beliefs; their original location in the country; and the various constraints that prevented them from intermingling with the larger majority group. V. S. Naipaul has taken pains to make this point in his nonfiction writings.

When the minister of arts and multiculturalism speaks about ensuring "the equitable distribution of state resources" to each group in the society, I wonder if he is aware of the fatuity of his statement. The Housing and Population Census, taking place in the island as I speak, identifies nine categories of people in the society: 1) African; 2) Caucasian; 3) Chinese; 4) East Indians; 5) Indigenous; 6) Mixed: African and East Indians & Others; 7) Syrian Lebanese; 8) Other Ethnic group; 9) Others. Do such fine-tuned distinctions cause further separation of these groups from one another? In other words, how do those persons of the mixed category (to take one category) organize themselves to benefit from this well-intentioned program? Does such a policy fragment the society, or does it help to bring it together?

To listen to the proponents of multiculturalism, one would think that Trinidad and Tobago never possessed a national cultural policy. Yet the multiculturalism of which the PP speaks merely describes an existing condition, that is, T&T possesses different cultures and religions that need to be respected, rather than the formulation of a policy that works through what multiculturalism means within the context of our society; how it impacts upon our conduct of national business; how it creates national consciousness; and how it emphasizes our Tobagonianism rather than keeping us entrenched within our particularisms.

On the eve of our national independence, Dr. Eric Williams, the first prime minister of the republic, launched his hurriedly written History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago. It was a present to the nation. I was at the University of Woodford Square and still possess a copy of this work. In the conclusion of his book, he outlined a national culture policy that sought to break down the boundaries behind which various races and cultures had entrenched themselves. He declared:

There can be no Mother India for those whose ancestors came from India... . There can be no Mother Africa for those of African origins and the Trinidad and Tobago society is living a lie and heading for trouble if it seeks to create the impression or to allow others to act under the delusion that Trinidad and Tobago is an African society. There can be no Mother England and no dual loyalties... . There can be no Mother China even if one could agree as to which China is the Mother; and there can be no mother Syria or no Mother Lebanon. A nation, like an individual, can have only one Mother. The only Mother we recognize is Mother Trinidad and Tobago and a Mother cannot discriminate between her children. All must be equal in her eyes.(8)

To me this is Dr. Williams' "Mother Trinidad and Tobago Speech." This is his approach to the construction of a transcendent national cultural policy.

In 2007 Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa conferred the Order of Companions O.R. Tambo (Gold), South Africa's highest national honor, on Dr. Williams posthumously on behalf of his commitment to peace, cooperation, and his inspiration to South Africa in its quest for racial harmony. In his foreword to Imtiaz Cajee's Timol: A Quest for Justice, the biography of Ahmed Timol, one of South Africa's most noteworthy freedom fighters, President Mbeki noted the impact that Dr. Williams' "Mother Trinidad and Tobago Speech" had on the South African liberation struggle. I quote this extract at length because Timol was a South African of Indian descent whose first loyalty was to a unified South Africa:

Just as Dr. [Yasuf] Dadoo expanded the non-racial ethos that is the hallmark of our liberation movement, just as Dr Dadoo lifted the gaze of his community to behold its African realities, so too did Ahmed Timol expand upon and enact, in his own flesh and with his own blood, the great lengths to which the Indian community in South Africa could and would go in order to assert and claim its proper birthright in this place: Ahmed belongs in a high place amidst the pantheon of great African indigenous leadership not only in this country but across the diaspora. As is often the case, the challenges that we face are not unprecedented and we are able to learn from the prior experience of others in the nationalist struggles elsewhere. The vision of Dr. Dadoo during our struggle for liberation was, for instance, strikingly similar to the vision of the great West Indian historian and prime minister, Eric Williams whose book Capitalism and Slavery, pioneered a new understanding of the end of the slave trade a century and a half after the end of the successful revolution of Haitian slaves. In his speech marking the independence of his country, Williams directly addressed the great diversity of his country in the cause of national unity.

After quoting from Dr. Williams' "Mother Trinidad and Tobago Speech," Mbeki exclaims: "This is the wisdom we too apply, in our quest for a single South Africa"(9) If South Africa, an emergent nation and a society with more cultures and ethnicities than Trinidad and Tobago, accepts the wisdom of our Founding Father as one of their guiding principles, why does the present government feel it can so easily discard a concept and practice that guided the first fifty years of our nation's development?

In Trinidad and Tobago some of us have been talking about a national cultural program that speaks to our oneness as a people. In 1983 I added my voice to the national conversation when I spoke about the need to develop a national cultural policy and the part it should play in our development. In that lecture, "Cultural Policy and Social Development," I bemoaned the absence of a "well-delivered and articulated political ideology ... and the exact method we are supposed to pursue to achieve those objectives."(10) I also differentiated between what I called an official and unofficial culture; traced the historical development of our people's cultural activities; then suggested how such a policy may conduce toward the development of national consciousness and a national identity. I asked: "Should we promulgate a policy that fosters the maintenance of a multicultural society, or should we strive toward the creation of a homogeneous Trinidad and Tobago culture?" I drew the following conclusion:

There are consequences for both choices. If we determine that at the present time we are a plural society but in the future we hope to create a more homogeneous Trinbagonian culture out of this heterogeneous mix, it then presumes certain strategies. Do we begin by teaching all our children in all of our schools the Hindu language, do we make the Ramayana and the Bhagvad Gita mandatory at all schools, and do we make John Mbiti's African Religions and Philosophy and Janheiz Jhan's Muntu mandatory for all of our children? It is only by the possession of the full knowledge of each other's culture that we can begin to aspire toward a truly homogeneous Trinidad culture. The same of course would be true to some degree for the culture of the Chinese and other groups.

If, on the other hand, we opt for the preservation of our separate and distinct cultures, such a course presumes different strategies and leads to different results. Thereby we condemn ourselves to the maintenance of our immigrant society with each different group making separate demands upon the body politic and the body social and a continuous demand for proportional representation. We presume a perpetually fragmented society.

Or maybe there is a middle ground. We have to decide a course. It is only within this context that cultural activities can be made more meaningful.(11)

The People's Partnership opted for the second possibility. This was a far cry from what Dr. Williams intended when he celebrated our commonalities and warned that "the Trinidad and Tobago society is living a lie and heading for trouble if it seeks to create the impression or allow others to act under the delusion that Trinidad and Tobago is an African society." It was imperative that he took this position at the formation of our nation. In doing so Dr. Williams sought to respond to a comment that Lord Harris, the governor of Trinidad, made in 1848, ten years after apprenticeship. He observed that "a race has been freed, but a society has not been formed."(12) As if to reinforce this position, Dr. Williams quoted an Oxford professor who on contemplating this wave of immigrants who were flocking to Trinidad observed: "Such a colony is but a great workshop rather than a miniature state."(13) These were the realities that Dr. Williams had in mind when he declared that our citizens could have no Mother India or Mother Africa. Williams believed that we ought to stop paying loyalties to our particularities and embrace a larger entity called Trinidad and Tobago.

Many newly formed independent states faced the same problem in bringing together their various nationalities and ethnicities. Some adopted a position similar to that of Dr. Williams, but not all succeeded. In 1947 India divided into two states, India and Pakistan, despite the best efforts of Mahatma Gandhi. In 1957 when Ghana became independent, Kwame Nkrumah, the leader of that country, saw the uniting of fifty ethnic groups of his country into one national entity as the most important item on his political agenda.(14) Akailapa Sawyer, in his 2007 foreword to David Rooney's Kwame Nkrumah: Vision and Tragedy, observed that Nkrumah's fight for independence "went beyond anti-colonialism, involving as it did an uncompromising quest for autonomous and self-sustaining national development." A principal component of his vision was "national unity, rejecting the centrifugal forces generated by regional, ethnic and other particularisms."(15) It might be of interest to some and ring a bell to many when, in his quest for national unity, Nkrumah called those persons in the Asante region "feudal tribalists" who wanted to secede from a unitary state and opt for a federal system.(16) Although these ethnic tensions led in part to Nkrumah's downfall, his steadfastness in working toward the creation of a unitary state proved immensely important to Ghana's development as the political conflict in Cote d'Ivoire, by contrast, demonstrates.(17)

In 2004 Ghana's President John Kufuor brought together a committee to update the country's cultural policy. President Kufuor noted that "one fascinating attribute of our culture is strength and unity we derive from our diverse cultural background."(18) The policy notes that Ghana's culture "is dynamic and gives order and meaning to the social, political, economic, aesthetic and religious practices of our people. Our culture also gives us our distinct identity as a people." Furthermore, their culture "is established by our concepts of Sankofa, which establishes linkages with the positive aspects of our past and the present. The concept affirms the co-existence of the past and the future in the present. It, therefore, embodies the attitude of our people to the interaction between traditional values and the demands of modern technology within the contemporary international cultural milieu."(19)

Such an approach suggests that as we construct a national cultural policy every attention must be paid to the varied cultures within our midst, our historical past, and those elements, positive and negative that make us who we are. However, it must speak to our oneness rather than to our apartness.(20) This is where the concept of national consciousness and national identity comes in. It cannot begin with the assumption that all that is necessary to construct a national policy consists in giving equal amounts of money to each group and to promote what Kaufman, Persad-Bissessar's special guest saw as the "special status" that Indian culture now enjoys and its "newly prominent place on the government's agenda."(21) It is not without irony that he testified: "There is a palpable sense that Indian culture now enjoyed special status in Trinidad government."

Multiculturalism, as the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics asserts, emerged in the sixties in Anglophone countries "in relation to the cultural needs of non-European migrants. It now means the political accommodation by the state and/or a dominant group of all minority cultures defined first and foremost by reference to race or ethnicity; and more controversially, by reference to nationality, aboriginality, or religion. The latter groups that tend to make larger claims; however claims of national minorities now enjoy considerable legitimacy, whereas post-immigration claims have suffered a 'backlash' in the last decade."(22) As far as I can determine, the multiculturalism that Sat and the PP endorse is taken from the Canadian model which has been described as the "the instigator of multicultural ideology because of its public emphasis on the social importance of immigration." In his contribution to the GOPIO Multiculturalism Conference, the Honorable Surujrattan, minister of foreign affairs, argued that his party also drew on the Australian model of multiculturalism to fashion its policy.

Canada's multicultural policy was driven in no small way by the desire of the French-speaking group in Quebec to secede from the federal union and the right to form a "distinct" society. They wanted "to safeguard the integrity of its own form of life against the Anglo Saxon majority culture by means, among other things, of regulations that forbid immigrants and the French-speaking population to send their children to English-language schools, that establish French as the language in which firms with more than fifty employees will operate, and that in general prescribe French as the language of business."(23) I don't know if the PP adopted its multicultural policy because it felt that Africans in Trinidad and Tobago were about to secede from the union to create their own state.

Canada also adopted its multicultural policy to accommodate the many immigrants flooding into the country which also presents its own problems.(24)

Immigrants who do not share much of Canada's history constitute a tiny proportion of Canada's population. However its multicultural policy is meant to assuage its own racism and exclusionary politics. It is noteworthy that the Durham Report that led to the Canada Act of 1867 that conferred independence on Canada spoke of the homogeneous and racist nature of Canada's culture. It said:

We have in our country a stable society. Our economy is healthy, as good as any for a country of our size. In many respects, we are very much better off than many sovereign states. And our potentialities are large. Our people are homogeneous nor are we plagued with religious and tribal problems.(25)

While Canada was congratulating itself about its homogeneity and patting itself on the back about its not having religious or tribal problems, Trinidad was proving a laboratory experiment of what a multicultural society was. In 1866 W. H. Gamble, a Trinidadian who had studied at Oxford, described Trinidad's multicultural mix: "Many distinct peoples go to make up the population of Trinidad. There are men from all quarters of the globe, and with but little exaggeration, it may be said that, in Trinidad, all the languages of the earth are spoken."(26) In his work Gamble provides a comprehensive description of the Africans and Indians who lived in Trinidad; the many languages that were spoken; and the diverse cultures that were practiced.

In a word, there is nothing that Canada can teach us about multiculturalism. Whereas Canada began to get its first taste of multiculturalism in the 1970s, Trinidad was a virtual laboratory of race, language, religion, and culture mixing a century before Canada adopted its multicultural policy. Trinidad has always been a diverse society where all creeds and races respected one another, although we have not always understood one another as fully as we might have. Trinidad has accommodated numerous cultures, religion, and languages from the inception of its adventure as a society.

Australia's multiculturalism policy arose in the latter part of the twentieth century in response to the exclusion of non-European immigrants. Fact Sheet 6, "The Evolution of Australia's Multicultural Policy," states: "The 'White Australia policy' as it was commonly described, could not, however, withstand the attitudinal changes after World War II, and the growing acknowledgement of Australia's responsibilities as a member of the international community. In 1966, the Liberal-Country Party Government began dismantling the White Australia policy by permitting the immigration of 'distinguished' non-Europeans."(27)

In other words, for most of its history Australia discriminated against non-whites and treated its indigenous population in a horrible manner. When Foreign Minister Rambachan celebrates the virtues of Australia's multicultural policy, which he proudly announced as his government's policy, he ought to remember that Australia is a society which, from its inception, committed genocide on its indigenous population, who incidentally are of African origin.(28) It ought not to be used as a model for Trinidad and Tobago's national cultural policy.

Indeed, our leaders are citing the multicultural approaches taken by Canada and Australia, two European countries. Why does the PP take its inspiration from two white governments who brutalized and alienated their nonwhite population? Shouldn't we look to South Africa and Ghana, two African countries, for inspiration? South Africa suffered from the apartness of the races (apartheid) whereas Ghana, a former colonial society, suffered from the policies of a colonial master that did everything in its power to set different ethnic groups against one another. Might it not be helpful to seek inspiration in the cultural policies of nonwhite nations who have been faced with the divisiveness in their societies rather than those who belatedly tried to accommodate those citizens whom they left out and discriminated against initially?

Trinidad and Tobago has never been a homogenous society. In fact, it has been a society in which all persons have been accepted; where we have worked and lived together although there may have been forces, from time to time, within and without the society that have sought to separate some groups from the larger body social. Dr. Williams was aware of this reality when he offered his version of the necessity to pay allegiance first to the country in which one lives. When the minister of arts and multiculturalism affirms that his party wishes to adopt a policy of multiculturalism because "a large portion of the citizenry feels itself alienated from the society," one really has to ask how such exclusion arose; who is responsible for such a separation; and whether a policy that promulgates differences fosters "a climate of inclusion." One might even ask if he ever read the words of the Father of the Nation.

In 1948 when India gained its independence a jingoistic zeal echoed in Trinidad. Albert Gomes noted that a spirit of "Mother India" gripped the East Indian imagination; and "the pageantry of extra-territorial patriotism exceeded itself in Trinidad."(29) Without any warning, an Indian commissioner, Gaj Singh, maharaja of Jodhpur, appeared on the Trinidad scene. Gomes, a leading politician at the time and later a member of the Democratic Labour Party under Badase Sagan Maharaj, offers the following narrative:

On the face of it the appointment looked suspiciously like gratuitous reinforcement of the general mischief of communal promotion. What else could a commissioner do, seeing that he would have all the time possible for idle hands? The flow of immigrants from India had long since been stanched. Most of Trinidad's Indians were Trinidad born.

In the event my worse suspicions were confirmed when one of these diplomatic gentlemen proceeded to appoint himself leader of our Indian community and its political counselor and organizer. On the surface, of course, it all seemed above board and in the cause of culture, but to my keen instinct the sinister purpose was unmistakable. Indian separatism was being sedulously fostered by India's diplomatic representative in our midst. Worse still, one of our governors, no doubt taking his cue from Whitehall, had publicly associated himself with these thinly disguised fifth column activities by presiding at one of the many patriotic gatherings at which the glories of India's history and her widely diffused cultural influences were feverishly flaunted.

This commissioner and these Indians were against a West Indian federation thinking they would be greatly outnumbered by Africans from the other islands. He was stirring up the Indians and fostering separation among the various groups in the society. Gomes continues:

I protested to the governor against the presence—and of course the activities—of the Commissioner for India, whom I accused of subversive activity. I made it clear that I was prepared to make an issue of the matter. Indeed, I was not content that my protest should rest there, and when next I was in England I took it to the Colonial Office. I also saw Krishna Menon, then Indian High Commissioner in the United Kingdom... . He was quite firm in the view that the Trinidad Indian has to make himself part of Trinidad, because it was to that country that he owed first loyalty. Its future was his future, and it behooved him, therefore, to ensure that it was all that anyone who truly loved his country would wish it to be. They were also my views. The particular commissioner, of course, was removed. But separatism did not diminish.(30)

This was the climate Dr. Williams found when he arrived on the political scene in 1955 and which led to his highly contested views about "a recalcitrant and hostile minority" after the People's National Movement lost the federal election in the 1958. Lest we forget it was Dr. Williams who defended the East Indians when Sir Francis Mudie in his Report of the British Caribbean Federal Commission placed Trinidad third in its consideration for the federal capital and depicted the East Indians as "having ideals and loyalties different from those to be found elsewhere in the Federation and they exercise a disruptive influence in the social and political life of Trinidad which would violate the social and political life of the capital if it were placed in that island."(31) I do not wish to re-contest this battle in this paper or agree necessarily with the conclusion of the Mudie commission except to say that it was against this climate that Dr. Williams sought to dissuade loyalties to various international mothers at the expense of the national mother.

This tendency toward excluding themselves from the society and accepting their exclusiveness as grounds for separation (Peters calls it alienation) has always been a tendency among a certain section of our East Indian populace. Albert Gomes speaks about this tendency in his book. H. P. Singh, unhappy with the treatment of Indians by the PNM called for the creation of an Indian state in a separate part of the island. He called for "Proportionate Representation of all the communities and parity between Negroes and Indians in all fields of government and government jobs... . If our first proposal is not accepted, from now onward, the slogan of our Indians must be 'Parity or Partition.'"(32)

In retrospect, one has to thank Dr. Williams for not falling into the trap of encouraging proposals for proportional representation during the discussion of our Independence Constitution in 1962 that came mainly from East Indian groups such as the Indian Association of Trinidad and Tobago and the Indian Youth Association. In 1973 when this matter came up again, the PNM voted unanimously: "The present basis [first past the post system] for election to the House of Representatives should be maintained and proportional representation should not be accepted."(33)

It is this type of thinking—this desire always for separation—that led to the migration of thousands of East Indians to Canada during the 1980s and who petitioned the Canadian government for refugee status because they were afraid to live in Trinidad. They claimed that Africans were raping East Indian women. Raffique Shah, an Express columnist, puts it this way:

There was a time when the moment things turned sour in this country, those who could afford it would simply flee to the USA, Canada or Europe. That happened mainly among professionals who were educated here at taxpayers' expense, entrepreneurs who rose from running one-door shops to the multi-million enterprises. The one aberration to this pattern occurred in the late 1980s, when thousands of ordinary people, mainly Indians, fled to Canada as refugees, claiming they were oppressed by an African-dominated state machinery...

The "refugees" of the 1980s, for example, had no just cause for the betrayal of their fellow-Trinis, for sullying their country's image. They simply exploited the easy rules of entry into Canada, thought the grass was greener on that side of the fence, and angered Ottawa to the point where, thereafter, any citizen of this country wanting to visit Canada must first secure a visa...

As a patriot, I cannot come around to forgiving them for their sins against all of us who remained here, bore the brunt of what was meted out to us, and continue to contribute to building this country we so love.(34)

According to Article 13 of the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees, someone is entitled to asylum if he is fleeing from a country where "his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion." Those Indians who fled their country argued that their life was threatened because of their race which is why Shah, a patriot, felt so ashamed when they slandered our country.

Given these tendencies toward fragmentation, the creation of a policy that was meant to accommodate immigrants in the 1970s and 1980s is not appropriate to a society in which for the last half of the nineteenth century and the twentieth century shared the same space, possessed similar aspirations; and where our languages and cultures merged into an organic whole. If, as the present party suggests, more resources ought to be given to the dominant group—and Indians are now the dominant group—then that goes against the tenets of multiculturalism to which it says its subscribes. In Canada the emphasis is on supporting the minority groups and integrating them into the society. Such an emphasis suggests that any serious multicultural program in Trinidad and Tobago should pay more attention to African culture, the minority culture, rather than to the Indian culture, the majority culture and to try to integrate them into the society.

But, alas, a multicultural policy in T&T faces more complex problems than simply making the minority share in the majority culture or addressing the alienation of which Indians speak and feel. Any cultural policy, multicultural or otherwise, must speak uniting its various groups into one national entity and keeping the state together or what I call a transcendent culture that creates a collective national identity. It must speak to our Trinidadianness and Tobagonianness first (that is our national self-awareness); our Indianness, Africanness, Chineseness, Syrianness, etc., second. This was the essence of Dr. Williams' cultural policy that he enunciated as Father of the Nation. It is the aspiration of both Ghana and South Africa.

Many Indians are unwilling to accept Dr. Williams as the father of the nation. We can arrive at no other conclusion. However, we must do so if we wish to develop a collective identity. Any society that aspires to be a cohesive national entity must be willing to accept all of its history; not just parts of it. And herein lies a problem that no multiculturalism can fix. It is precisely the inability of most of our Indian population to accept the totality of our history and the heterogeneous nature of our origins that prevent them from acknowledging the appelation commonly attributed to Dr. Williams. Dr. Williams is considered the father of our nation because he was the leader of the nation when it was founded—regardless of his race. We may question aspects of his stewardship. We cannot contest the incontestable fact that he was there at the beginning and led us during the first thirty years of our existence: from colonial status, to independence, to republicanism. It was so for George Washington as it was for Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. They are the fathers of their respective nations not because they are white or Indian but because they were there at the crucial moment when their societies were born and were responsible for nurturing their society at the fist formative moments of their birth. Indeed, we can say of Dr. Williams what he said about Nehru at the celebration of this 75th anniversary of his birth:

If I have selected some aspects of his career more than others for special mention ... it is the result of a feeling of spiritual kinship with a man who was at one and the same time a national symbol, a philosopher of anticolonialism and a student of world history...

India today would not be what it is if India had not achieved independence and if Nehru had not been there for 40 years to learn and to teach, to guide and be guided, to inspire and be inspired, to aspire and to achieve. He stands out as one of the great figures of our country and one of the greatest champions of freedom of all time.(35)

Might it not be that Eric Williams' choice of our national motto, "Together we aspire; together we achieved," was influenced by the respect and admiration he felt for President Nehru of India?

This is the first lesson that any mature society or serious democracy must accept when it thinks of constructing a national cultural policy or, in this case, rethinking our national cultural policy. A country must accept all of its history; not just part of it.

We must also learn our history anew and accept that all aspects of the society belong to all of us, her children. In learning our history we must be prepared to take a serious look at how our society was made, the contributions that each group made toward its construction; and what constitutes the essence of our nation. We would then know what is distinctive about our nation; which would help us in knowing what we need to cherish and what we need to discard. Such a course of action depends on serious scholars who see their scholarly and national task to tell our history as it is.

If it is true that a people is the product of its history, then we can know and understand our peoplehood by committing ourselves to knowing the elements of that history. What in other words constitutes peoplehood, and how do we enhance our Trinidad and Tobagonianness? Most of us are much to invested in the here and now and have little concern for the past. We cannot hope to speak about our Trinidadianness and Tobagonianness if we do not understand the contributions the various groups made to the construction of our society; and the weights and values that one gives to the cultures that make up the unitary state.

The prime minister has intimated that she wishes to have comparative religions taught in schools and that is a good move. But before we talk comparison, would it not be better to teach the three or four religions that we know—to all of our students—and acquaint all of our citizens with the cultural vocabularies of our various peoples. In this context I suggest that all students should be conversant with Islam; Hinduism; Christianity; and traditional African religion.(36) These religions should be taught in all our schools, be they Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, or Hindu schools. I do not think a Trinidadian or a Tobagonian can call herself educated (as opposed to being skilled) if she does not know what the ramleelas; hosea; gyap; shango; orisas; and some of the major celebrations are. No Trinbagonian should be unacquainted with the cultural practices of all the major cultural groups.

We should also stop the bad habit of thinking that all the initiatives of a former government are bad. For the past seven years or so, I was a member of the prime minister's cabinet-appointed Committee on Race matters. We met monthly to discuss innumerable conflicts that affect racial relations in this community, and while meeting the committee members had the opportunity of getting to know the religions and cultures represented there. During those meetings I had an opportunity to interact with Sat Maraj, Deoienarinanan Sharma and Yacoub Ali. I came out of those meetings embracing all the members of the committee, but I established a particularly warm relationship with Sat whom I am now proud to call a friend. Sat still has his concerns and I still have mine. However, we are able to come together in a way that allows us to disagree vehemently with one another and yet remain friends. Such discussion allows citizens to see that persons with strongly differing ideas can still love and respect each other. Jergen Habermas, the German philosopher, argues that citizens can only arrive at a shared conception of "the good and a desired form of life" through democratic discussions that enable them to clarify "which traditions they want to perpetuate, and which they want to discontinue, how they want to deal with their history, with one another, with nature and so on."(37)

The discussion of the Committee on Race Relations can be strengthened. An annual compilation of the minutes of these meeting should be made available to the public, and there should be four public discussions on air each year on these matters. At a recent meeting inaugurating the Planet Three Peace Programme, the speakers warned that Ghanaians ought not to take "pockets of ethnic conflicts for granted, since those conflicts have the potential to assume national dimensions... . [The] speakers were unanimous in their call for peace to be upheld in order not to go the path of conflicts that had plagued so many African countries."(38) Let us not take our racial harmony for granted. Let us do all in our power to solidify and consolidate our racial harmony. The restoration of the Interracial Committee set up by Prime Minister Manning with some more publicity, more members, and public debate can go a long way to demonstrate to our publics that although we have varying interests and concerns we can speak about them in a civil manner.

Any cultural policy must speak about the expansion of our civilization and our humanity as a people. We cannot think about culture unless we talk about how we empower people in our communities, the heart of our society. I am convinced that in moving from colonialism to independence we did not empower our communities and build on the social and cultural capital they had accumulated over the centuries. It is true that Dr. Williams started the Better Village Programme to mobilize the various talents in the community and to preserve elements of out Trinidad and Tobago culture. To a large extent it was successful. However, any cultural program that's worth its salt must emphasize the three ls: the development of local libraries; the development of local culture; and the writing of local histories (that is, the history of our villages and of the people who made them what they are). The communities must be the vortex around which all our cultural aspirations revolve.

In a recent article in the London Independent, Tim Lott wrote that libraries remain "a beacon of civilization, a mark of what we [the British] stand for."(39) We may have moved from reading the hard copies of books to the reading of books on our Kindles and iPads. However, if we are to lift our cultural standards, create a mutually tolerant and accepting society that appreciates the gift our multi-cultures and religions bring to the storehouse of our nation; if we are to survive as a nation, then we must arm our nation and our communities with information and knowledge that allows them to understand the power within themselves and the equally powerful truth that we have been made in the bowels of Trinidad and Tobago rather than somewhere else.

Multiculturalism, as proposed by its advocates in the West, is driven by the demand for recognition and the preservation of particular cultural identities. Amy Gutmann of Princeton University observed: "Full public recognition as equal citizens may require two forms of respect: (1) respect for the unique identities of each individual, regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity, and (2) respect for those activities, practices, and ways of viewing the world that are particularly valued by, or associated with, members of disadvantaged groups, including women, Asian-Americans, African-Americans, Native Americans, and a multitude of other groups in the United States."(40)

However, Steven C. Rockefeller recognized the pitfalls of multiculturalism defined in this manner. He noted: "If members of groups are publicly identified with the dominant characteristics, practices, and values of their group, one might wonder whether our particular identities—as English or French Canadians, men or women, Asian-Americans, African Americans, or Native Americans, Christians, Jews, or Muslims—will take public precedence over our more universal identity as persons, deserving of mutual respect, civil and political liberties, and decent life chances simply by virtue of our equal humanity."(41)

In fact, the dilemma becomes even more intractable: How does one speak of the need for individual autonomy as it coexists with what Anthony Appiah calls "its uneasy relationship with collective identity"? Appiah argues that collective identities come in tandem with notions about how a person of a particular group or identity ought to behave. He argues that the collectivity "provides what we might call scripts: narratives that people can use in shaping their life plans and in telling their lives' stories." This leads Appiah to reject group recognition "as ideal because it ties individuals too tightly to scripts over which they have too little authorial control."(42)

The problem of promulgating multiculturalism as a national cultural policy is that it seeks to impose a model of behavior that we, as a society, have worked through over a century and a half ago and sends us back to scripts we discarded many moons ago. What Canada and Australia do is inapplicable in that we have already worked out a modus operandi for existing in our small country. The trend and experience have been to live and work together in spite of our differences. In my humble view, the multiculturalism as proposed by the present government takes us back to a point that we have passed. It is a policy that emphasizes our differences rather than our commonalities. It does not tell us how to consolidate our nationness, concretize our national identity; and make us proud to be Trinidadians and Tobagonians. Nowhere in their policy—and there is not much policy one can talk about—does it say who provides for the soul of the nation; how we consolidate our cultural and social achievements; and how to construct a more perfect union and a truly integrated Trinidad and Tobago.

Although some of my East Indian compatriots are fond of calling me a racist because I advocate for the rights and recognition of the Africans in this country, there are many things they do not know about me. In 1985, one year after we began Calaloux Publications, we published Noor Kumar Mahabir, The Still Cry: Personal Accounts of East Indians in Trinidad and Tobago. It is now considered a classic in the fields of anthropology and literature. In case anyone thought that I just arrived at a position that embraces a transcendent national identity, I reproduce what I wrote in the foreword of that book:

It is important to understand that the heritage of the East Indians is the heritage of all of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. At one level, it is the heritage of a specific group, but because the East Indians are indeed Trinidadians and Tobagonians, their heritage must be seen as part of the larger national heritage, for it is the collectivity of the African and East Indian heritage (and that of all of the other ethnic groups) that constitutes Trinidad and Tobago's cultural heritage. It is important to grasp that heritage in its totality and to make it meaningful in our lives. The heritage of people is not something one puts up for display but something that one takes and integrates into one's present to create a meaningful future.(43)

Today, I feel even stronger about these sentiments. To my comments I would add the words of Derek Walcott who captures what and how I feel in the magnificent imagery of his poem:

Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than the love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole. The glue that fits the pieces is the sealing of its original shape. It's such love that reassembles our African and Asiatic fragments, the cracked heirlooms whose restoration shows its white scars.(44)

Trinidad and Tobago is already a multicultural society. Our national goal should aim at keeping our nation intact as a whole rather than trying to weaken it. Such a project takes on much more importance since we know the trend of our East Indian brothers and sisters has been to opt away from unity and strive toward a kind of own-way-ness. We ought not to take for granted our living together harmoniously or even see it as being preordained. It is something that we have to work at arduously and continuously. Anyone who looks at Rwanda where various ethnicities lived together so peacefully until the massive genocidal actions unraveled their society can see how easily ties that have been built over centuries can be broken asunder in the twinkling of an eye. I repeat, We should not take for granted our living together harmoniously.

As our government, wrongly in my opinion, pursues its course of multiculturalism, I ask the leaders to ponder the historic words Nelson Mandela uttered when he was on trial for his life: "I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."(45)

We ought to cultivate a transcendent national cultural policy that builds our identity as a homogenous and harmonious people rather than one in which we cling to our particularities. To achieve this we must formulate a national cultural policy from a "truthful" examination of history; one that begins with the premise that the history of Trinidad and Tobago did not begin with victory of the People's Partnership in May 2010. That in fact the outlines of a cultural policy has been in place since 1962 when Dr. Williams offered his "Mother Trinidad and Tobago Speech". Against this background, I offer the following ideas as a way of strengthening our national identity and constructing a transcendent national cultural policy:

  1. A national cultural policy should emphasize our commonalities rather than our differences. It should grow out of our historical and cultural development.

  2. A national policy should emphasize our Trinbagonianism rather than our particularisms. Schoolchildren should be encouraged to recite our pledge of allegiance, know our national emblems, sing our national songs, etc., as a way of inculcating a sense of national consciousness.

  3. As the proposed multicultural policy suggests, we ought to give serious attention to and support all the cultures that exist in our society. We need to find ways to keep what is good about them and discard what is bad or negative about them. The major criterion of supporting our present cultures ought to be how they contribute to a people's sense of themselves and how they promote our national development.

  4. We ought to develop a historically informed perspective on what is at stake when any of our groups make demands on public institutions for the recognition of their particular identities and the celebration of their cultural traditions. Only a sustained nation debate can help us to clarify these issues.

  5. The teaching of the religions, cultures, and histories of the various groups in our society must be made a part of our curriculum in our high schools. In this context, there ought to be an agreed-upon core of information that each person must know to say that he or she is an educated Trinbagonian.

  6. We ought to devote considerable resources to researching and writing the history of our various cultures, village histories, biographies of outstanding individuals, and the publication of monographs, books, and documentaries, that emanate there from. (It is a shame that we do not have a biography of George Chambers, the second prime minister of our country.)

  7. We ought to establish a permanent commission constituted of representatives from various groups and ethnicities to develop a national cultural policy that speaks to our commonalities rather than our differences. This committee can be modeled after the Council for Multicultural Australia or Ghana's National Commission on Culture. Its conclusion should be made available for national discussion.

  8. The foundation of a government's national cultural policy must be based on respect for its citizens. Such respect can be demonstrated in how the state treats its citizens and how it responds to correspondences sent to government offices for example. This is not a problem peculiar to the People's Partnership government. It was rampant in the PNM government as well. Answering letters and treating people with respect must be the first step in the implementation of any national cultural policy.

  9. The creation of a national service program where all young people between the ages of eighteen and twenty are made to devote a year to serving their fellow Trinbagonians. It is a marvelous way of getting to know one another!

In the end, multiculturalism can be considered a "struggle of oppressive ethnic and cultural minorities for the recognition of their collective identities"(46) which is certainly not the case now that East Indians are the dominant majority in Trinidad and Tobago. Nothing I have said in this essay denies people their uniqueness or the specificities of their identities or cultures. We all possess multiple identities which we display when the occasion demands. David Brooks puts it well when he says: "People in all nations have multiple authentic selves. In some circumstances, one set of identities manifests itself, but when those circumstances change, other equally authentic identities and desires get activated."(47)

The only function of the state is to create a climate whereby groups can produce and reproduce their cultural traditions in which identities are formed. "The constitutional state can make this hermeneutic achievement of the cultural reproduction of life-worlds possible, but it cannot guarantee it. For to guarantee survival would necessarily rob the members of the very freedom to say yes or no that is necessary if they are to appropriate and preserve their cultural heritage."(48) Insisting on the primacy of a transcendent national identity does not in any way deny any one's Indianness or Africanness. It argues simple that to insist on a national cultural policy that privileges multiculturalism at this time can only stymie our national development and send us back into our tribal zones.

We should not take our national unity for granted. It is something that we must work on constantly if we wish to preserve our union. And, although we are not in the realm of law, it is wise to reflect on Habermas's observations:

A legal order is legitimate when it safeguards the autonomy of all citizens to an equal degree. The citizens are autonomous only if the addressees of the law can also see themselves as its authors. And its authors are free only as participants in the legislative processes that are regulated in such a way and take place in forms of communication such that everyone can presume that the regulations enacted in that way deserve general and rationally motivated assent.(49)

Multiculturalism is a foreign "ism." As some of our citizens say, "we pas' dat." It does not contain the unifying thread that keeps our society together, generate loyalty toward the state and help us to maintain our historically developed cultural form of life. Our challenge in the foreseeable future is to develop a national self understanding that is based on our citizenship rather than our ethnicity. This is why I reject multiculturalism as the national cultural policy of Trinidad and Tobago.


Brooks, David. "Huntington's Clash Revisited." New York Times, March 4, 2011.

Cajee, Imtiaz. Timol: A Quest for Justice. Johannesburg: STE, 2005.

Cudjoe, Selwyn R. "Cultural Policy and National Development," Ref. WI 308, Cudjoe (Trinidad Collection), January 11, 1983.

—; Indian Time Ah Come in Trinidad and Tobago (Wellesley, MA: Calaloux Publications, 2010.

— "Mother Trinidad and Tobago." Trinidad Guardian, January 20, 2011.

Daly, Martin. "Equal to Pythagoras." Trinidad Express, January 13, 2011.

Fact Sheet- "The Evolution of Australia's Multicultural Policy," Australian Government, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Canberra, 2007.

Grant, Lennox. "Knife-and-Fork Dining on Golden Memories." Trinidad Express, January 13, 2011.

Gamble, William H. Trinidad: Historical and Descriptive Being a Narrative of Nine Years Residence in the Island. London: Yates and Alexander, 1866.

Gomes, Albert. Through a Maze of Colour. Port of Spain: Key Caribbean Publications, 1974

Kaufman, Jason Edward. "In Trinidad, an Ascendant Hindu Paradise Flourishes During Divali." Artifino, November 17, 2010.

Mahabir, Noor Kumar. The Still Cry: Personal Accounts of East Indians in Trinidad and Tobago (1845-1917). Tacarigua: Calaloux Publications, 1985.

Marx, Karl. Early Writings. Trans. and edited by T. B. Bottomore. New York: McGraw Hill, 1964.

McLean, Iain and Alistair McMillan. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Opoku, Kofi Asare. West African Traditional Religion. Accra: FEP International Private Limited, 1978.

Peters, Winston. "Towards a Multiculturalism Policy," Center of Excellence, Macoya, Trinidad, 2010.

Rooney, David. Kwame Nkrumah: Vision and Tragedy. Legon: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2007.

Shah, Raffique. "Rally, rally 'round T&T," Trinidad Express, January 18, 2009.

Syme, Sebastien. "Don't Take Ethnic Conflicts for Granted." Daily Graphic, January 22, 2011.

Taylor, Charles. Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994.

The Cultural Policy of Ghana, National Commission on Culture, 2004.

Walcott, Derek. The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory: The Nobel Lecture. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1993.

Williams, Eric. Forged from the Love of Liberty: Selected Speeches of Dr. Eric Williams, compiled by Paul K. Sutton. Port of Spain: Longman Caribbean, 1981.

History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago. Port of Spain: PNM Publishing Company, 1962.


  1. A lecture delivered at the Multiculturalism Conference that was sponsored by GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago at Gaston Court, Lange Park, Chaguanas, Trinidad, on January 29, 2011. Certain additions were made after the lecture was delivered.

  2. Professor Cudjoe, the Margaret E. Deffenbaugh and LeRoy Carlson Professor in Comparative Literature at Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, is the president of the National Association for the Empowerment of African People.

  3. Incidentally, this tagline "unity in diversity" is not particularly new. It is the subtitle of the cultural policies of both Ghana and Australia from which Trinidad and Tobago multicultural policy takes its inspiration.

  4. Jason Edward Kaufman, "In Trinidad, an Ascendant Hindu Paradise Flourishes During Divali," Artifino, November 17, 2010. In his article Kaufman asserted incorrectly that "around half the population [of Trinidad and Tobago] traces its roots to India."

  5. This position was reiterated by the Honorable Nela Khan, parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism, when she addressed the opening session of GOPIO's Multicultural Conference.

  6. The term "alienation" is used much too loosely. In his speech the minister of arts and multiculturalism used the term to suggest that the East Indian population feels separated from the mainstream or what they sometimes call "Creole" society. He does not pay much attention to the inverse of the proposition that East Indians may have separated themselves from the society because of their culture and religions. Apart from asking why and how East Indians feel separated from other groups in the society, the real question is why they feel that way. The term "alienation" [or estrangement] is taken from Karl Marx's Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 in which he argues that creative labor is the essence of one's humanity. Capitalist relations however have distorted this relationship thereby separating man's essence [who and what he is] from his existence [what he must do to exist] which leads Marx to argue that "the object produced by labour, now stands opposed to it as an alien being, as a power independent of the producer...[T]he more the worker expends himself in work the more powerful becomes the world of objects which he creates in face of himself, the poorer he becomes in his inner life, and the less he belongs to himself... The alienation of the worker in his product means not only that his labor becomes an object, assumes an external existence, but that it exists independently, outside himself, and alien to him, and that it stands opposed to him as an autonomous power." [Karl Marx, Early Writings (New York: McGraw Hill, 1964), pp. 122-3.]. This separation is called estrangement or alienation. So that it is almost a meaningless statement [or a statement of little meaning] when one affirms that a group of people feels alienated from the society. It cannot be the basis upon which one develops public policy or a national culture policy.

  7. See Martin Daly, "Equal to Pythagoras," Trinidad Express, January 13, 2011; and Lennox Grant, "Knife-and Fork Dining on Golden Memories," Trinidad Express, January 13, 2011.

  8. Eric Williams, History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago (Port of Spain: PNM Publishing Company, 1962), p. 281.

  9. Imtiaz Cajee, Timol: A Quest for Justice (Johannesburg: STE, 2005), p. 7. This is a book all Trinbagonians should read. It tells the story of Ahmed Timol, "one of the most celebrated official murder victims of apartheid South Africa" (p. 13) who gave his life for his country. The author draws upon the wisdom of C. L. R. James, Michael Manley, and V. S. Naipaul to set up his story. This story is even more touching because it speaks to the commitment to his nation of a South African of Indian descent. In this context, the statement of Dr. Dadoo, another South African of Indian descent, is instructive and speaks to the limitations of a concept of multiculturalism in a postcolonial society: "Insulating ourselves from the national and international development of society would be nothing short of suicidal. We can no longer afford to remain narrow, sectarian and fanatical. We either march forward with the rest of the world or condemn ourselves to stew in our stinking juice. We must cultivate that healthy progressive national outlook, which alone can lead to our salvation. . . . In South Africa it is criminal to identify ourselves as Kholvadians [an Indian community in South Africa in which he lived] only; we belong to and are part of the great South African Indian community and nationally oppressed Non-European people" (p. 36).

  10. Selwyn R. Cudjoe, "Cultural Policy and National Development," Ref. WI 308, Cudjoe (Trinidad Collection), January 11, 1983. p. 1.

  11. Ibid., p. 8.

  12. Quoted in Williams, History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago, p. 97.

  13. Ibid., p. 97.

  14. Apart from its fifty ethnic groups, there are about 35 languages spoken in Ghana. Nine are government-sponsored languages. They are written languages and are taught in Ghanaian schools. There are 26 non-government sponsored languages all of which are spoken languages. English, the official language of Ghana, is used to unify the country.

  15. David Rooney, Kwame Nkrumah: Vision and Tragedy (Legon, Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2007), p. 15.

  16. Ibid., p. 153. The reference here is to Dr. Williams' description of certain elements in the Indian community that he called a "recalcitrant and hostile minority" to which Kamla Persad-Bissessar referred to in her "Indian Arrival Day Speech," 2011 in Indian Time Ah Come, pp. 112-16.

  17. See Selwyn R. Cudjoe, "Mother Trinidad and Tobago," Trinidad Guardian, January 20, 2011.

  18. The Cultural Policy of Ghana, National Commission on Culture, 2004, p. 2.

  19. Ibid., p. 9.

  20. Although I disagree with Prime Minister David Cameron's denunciation of multiculturalism—it seems to be more a condemnation of "Islamic extremism"—there is some merit to the claim that under some circumstances "state multiculturalism tends to divide a population."

  21. Kaufman, "In Trinidad, an Ascendant Hindu Paradise Flourishes During Divali."

  22. Iain McLean and Alistair McMillan, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 351.

  23. Charles Taylor, Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994) p. 111.

  24. Jurgen Habermas identifies two challenges that immigration presents to the host country, a) "assimilation to the way in which the autonomy of the citizens is institutionalized in the recipient society and the way the 'public use of reason' is practiced there" and a desire for an assimilation "that penetrates to the level of ethical-cultural integration and thereby has a deeper impact on the collective identity of the immigrants' culture of origin than the political socialization required under (a) above." (Taylor, Multiculturalism, p. 138).

  25. Quoted in Rooney, Kwame Nkrumah, p. 110.

  26. See William H. Gamble, Trinidad: Historical and Descriptive Being a Narrative of Nine Years Residence in the Island (London: Yates and Alexander, 1866), p. 42. See also Selwyn R. Cudjoe, Beyond Boundaries (Wellesley, MA: Calaloux Publications, 2003) for a discussion of Gamble's life.

  27. "Fact Sheet 6: "The Evolution of Australia's Multicultural Policy," Australian Government, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, 2007.

  28. The four principles that underpin Australia's multicultural policy are: a) Responsibilities of all; 2) Respect for each person; 3) Fairness for each person; 4) Benefits for all.

  29. Albert Gomes, Through a Maze of Colour (Port of Spain: Key Caribbean Publications, 1974), p. 166.

  30. Ibid., pp. 166-68.

  31. See Selwyn R. Cudjoe, Indian Time Ah Come in Trinidad and Tobago (Wellesley, MA: Calaloux Publications, 2010), p. 16.

  32. Ibid., p. 17.

  33. Eric Williams, Forged from the Love of Liberty: Selected Speeches of Dr. Eric Williams, compiled by Paul K. Sutton (Port of Spain: Longman Caribbean, 1981), p. 156.

  34. Raffique Shah, "Rally, rally 'round T&T," Express, January 18, 2009.

  35. Williams, Forged from the Love of Liberty, p. 233.

  36. We ought to look at a work such as Kofi Asare Opoku, West African Traditional Religion (FEP International Private Limited, 1978) to get a better understanding of traditional African religion. Opoku begins his book by noting that "a close observation of Africa and its societies will reveal that religion is at the root of African culture and is the determining principle of African life. It is not exaggeration, therefore, to say that in traditional Africa, religion is life and life, religion" (p. 1). He goes on to demolish all the derogatory terms such as animism, fetishism, and paganism that are used to define African religion and then cautions his readers: "[These] misconceptions were all based on the assumption that the mind of the African was so different from that of the European that special words were needed to describe his religious ideas. It needs to be emphasized, however, that religion in Africa is part of the religious heritage of mankind, and as such, it needs to be looked at from the same perspective as other religions" (p. 6).

  37. Taylor, Multiculturalism, p. 125.

  38. Sebastien Syme, "Don't Take Ethnic Conflicts for Granted," Daily Graphic, January 22, 2011.

  39. January 23, 2011.

  40. Taylor, Multiculturalism, p. 8.

  41. Ibid., p. 9

  42. Ibid., p. xi.

  43. Noor Kumar Mahabir, The Still Cry (Tacarigua: Calaloux Publications, 1985), p. 10.

  44. Derek Walcott, The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Imagination (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1993).

  45. Quoted in Cajee, Timol, p. 18.

  46. Taylor, Multiculturalism, p. 117.

  47. David Brooks, "Huntington's Clash Revisited," New York Times, March 4, 2011.

  48. Taylor, Multiculturalism, ., p. 130

  49. Ibid., pp. 121-2.

Professor Cudjoe's email address is