November 24, 2000 From: Cedric I. Barclay

The ugly secptre of racism in T&T

It is with grave concern that I read about the upcoming general election in Trinidad & Tobago. As a Trinidadian living abroad, one is truly amazed that in this day and age, the ugly secptre of racism and bigotry still remains as the one thing that the good citizens of T&T are being forced to digest on a daily basis. Its like appealing to the worst in mankind.

It is about time that those seeking the right to govern, realize that technology (if nothing else) has shrunk the global village. Any and everything that the political parties say, and or do... is being monitored internationally. Trinidad & Tobago might very well be the only country in the modern world, that claims racial equality et al...but at the same time continues to insult the intelligence of its citizens in this manner, and particularly at election time.

It is nothing short of shameful to read a senior personel in the party in power, catagorizing the incumbent government as the first of a particular ethnic group, when that person knows full well that governments in T&T, both past and present are not constituted by any one ethnic group. This to me, and I am sure I speak for others here in Canada, is very unbecoming of that gentleman, to say the least.

You see the story does not end there... no one in that organisation, including the Prime Minister, has even looked at the kind of damage that kind of politicking encourages. In any other country, that would have amounted to political suicide....but in Trinidad & Tobago, anything goes to get votes.

For example, can you in your wildest dream, imagine this type of racial pandering being practised by Al Gore or Bush? Using that type of insulting language would most probably start a civil unrest, the fallout of which would certainly alter the US political landscape for generations to come.

You see, that is exactly what has been perpetuated in T&T over the years, hence the type of lawlessness, and feeling of ill will that exist among our people today. I would further say... that this is the very thing that those aspiring to govern in Trinidad & Tobago do not seem to understand, or maybe they just could not care less...their primary concern is to score political points, hold on to power by any means necessary, ever if that means at the cost racial harmony, and the social well being of generations to come. Think about it people.

When a senior government minister can be implicated in murder...and the powers that be allows this to tarnish the integrity of ones government and country, in the full view of the rest of the world, something is wrong.

My real concern is why does the good people of T&T put up with this. Why aren't we forcing the political parties to address the problems in society. It is about high time that somebody tell the electorate , how they plan to correct the ills in society, should they be elected on December 11, 2000.

Just think about it, when the unemployed bandit, is coming after your car, or your household possessions that you slaved to acquire...and when that bandit is prepared to kill you in the process... do you really believe that he/she cares about your ethnic background?...I think not. His only concern is to take what you have and get away with it.

Why arn't the politicians addressing this issue of high incident of crime, and organised crime at that, instead of playing with "you head" come election time.

Look at the cost of health care. The citizens of T&T have been paying N.I.S, and more recently Health Surcharge. It is totally beyond me why it is that should a citizen full seriously ill, unless he/she can afford to pay for his treatment/medication... he/she is as good as dead, as has been the case with so many cancer/renal patients. I have personally known no fewer than 3 persons back home, who have died of renal failure, when they could no longer pay for hemo dialysis. This in and of itself is criminal.

These are just but two issues that deserves more attention than the race card, that continues to eat away at the heart and soul of an otherwise vibrant nation.

It is said that one reaps that which he sows, and if the only thing that the major political parties can offer is bigotry and racism...then they would have doomed the next generation of citizens to the same tired and hatefilled atmosphere of the past. Is this the best we can do for our Kids...and grand-kids?

Get real people... you deserve better than that. It is high time that you demand of your leaders, real leadership. Leadership as per the late Dr. Eric Williams, who was not perfect... but who most certainly has a positive plan for T&T... from colonialism, to selfgovernment/independence, and then republicanism. It was he who told the school children of a newly independent T&T, that they carry the future of the country in their school bags.That still holds true today.

Mr. political leader, the future success or failure of our country is now in you hands. Show that you are a true Trini, and tell us what are your policies on social services, health, the economy, and your strategies to ensure that we are a force to be reconed with in the global economy...for size no longer matters. This is your golden opportunity to really unite Trinidad & Tobago...something that has never been done before.

Then and only then can we stand proud and give true meaning to our national anthem..."Here every creed and race finds an equal place, and may God bless our nation."

With Best regards.
Cedric I. Barclay B.A,
(Econ. & Pol. SC.),Dip.I.R.
Kitchener, Ontario


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