Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Sticks & Stones In TnT Bones
Posted: November 10, 2001
An analysis by
Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Common sense and human sanity suggest that the health and progress of a nation are not measured by its financial and economic success but by how a government treats 'the least of these. And despite the fact that the IMF has given the UNC government 'top ratings at the external level, however, at the internal, inside level the ratings hit bottom'.

While economic life is booming in TnT, human life has been on a dialysis machine for a very long time. And this humane reality has forced a government minister to conclude that: 'no society can advance satisfactorily if too many of its people were left behind . . .. the privileged few (are) covering the wealth of the country while the masses grow dispossessed'.

The fact of the matter is that the wealth of TnT does not and must not belong to the chosen few but must be shared and experienced by the many. The haves must not live at the expense of the have-nots, as current public policy seems to dictate and legitimise.

In TnT today, the haves live in the plush penthouse surrounded by crass materialism and grandeur, at most, while the have-nots survive in the doghouse, surrounded by puppy chow and filth, at minimum. As a result of government's public policy, TnT is suffering from a severe case of life-threatening Euro-American-induced socio-cultural-economic-familial melanoma.

These symptoms are clearly reflected in students arrested with marijuana in school; the use of metal detectors in schools 'as a security measure' . ..to deal with violence and indiscipline in schools; young mothers mutilating their babies or drowning them alive in the sea; families ingesting gramoxone in suicide bid; teenagers chopping their stepmother and committing suicide by hanging themselves from a tree; flagrant disrespect and violence visited among Trini women; domestic violence and incest; social mandatory curfew between 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. on a daily basis; car hijacking; massive drug addiction and violent-oriented crimes; devaluation of human life; strange deaths at St. Ann's Hospital; mass exodus of TnT school teachers and nurses; shortage of doctors at Port-of-Spain General Hospital; the Health Minister opting for medical attention' in the United States instead of TnT; massive flooding in the capital city of Port-of-Spain, in addition to the flies swarming epidemic and the Mayor forced to conclude that the nation's capital is now a dying city'; and air pollution everywhere in TnT'.

These symptoms are not the stuff that human sanity is based on. As one social commentator once observed: 'Someting wrong'. Indeed, something is more than wrong; the whole thing is totally ridiculous and out of whack. But maybe this is the nature of sticks and stones in TnT body politic today. The reality is who is getting the sticks and who is getting stoned. One does not need a 'certificate' in rocket science from UWI to figure this out.

'Sugar Aloes' has already supplied the answer for all to heed. But this social commentator does not have a 'certificate' from UWI nor a law degree so no one listens to him or people of similar elk. Such people will never get into the bones of Afrikan-Trinis; however, they must not give up. Their rejection by their own people should be the potent resource for them to keep on trying in this ethnic supremacist struggle.

TnT is in a serious socio-cultural meltdown today. Morality, honesty and decency in public affairs have gone through the window and in some cases, there is no window. The bones of TnT are replete with vagrants and horners. Physical vagrants are seen on the streets of Port-of-Spain everyday while public, political horners and vagrants hide everyday in statutory bodies. The physical vagrants are pennyless while the political vagrants and horners are millionaires, by design and not by accident. This is the nature of get-rich politics in TnT under ethnic supremacy at its zenith.

Under this current scenario, the cycle of corruption continues unabated like a runaway maxi taxi or freight train with no stop sign in sight. Double-dipping in the public and private sectors by politicians is the legitimised way of operation, by design and not by accident.

The rule of thumb is that if one wants to get rich quick then one needs to participate in the TnT political process today. The System has been so structured that one's personal financial gains is paramount to the country's needs. Indeed, one may characterise TnT political bones as follows: 'Who wants to be a millionaire', Euro-American style. And since Afrikan-Trinis already relish and enjoy chewing Euro-American made gum while wearing expensive Afrikan costumes during their carnival Emancipation Day celebration every 1st August and TnT already has a Euro-American Roman-imperial Archbishop then everything seems to fit into place perfectly.

Under ethnic supremacy in TnT, the sticks and stones are not enemies but powerful collaborators in this power control national effort. The fact of the matter is that in addition to physical and political vagrants, the bones of TnT also exude political horners, bandits and outright robbers.

In reality then, hornin is both private and familial and public and political. In the private arena, one may loose one's girl-boy friend, husband-wife as a result of a good horn. But in the public, political arena, the citizens of TnT loose millions of taxpayers dollars as a result of a good horn by appointed politicians in statutory bodies. Public, political hornin in the bones of TnT has now become a friend and family ethnic affair, by design and not by accident. This is the nature of the symbiotic relationship between politicians and ethnic supremacy in TnT today.

These are the bare bones Physical, cultural, historical and political vagrants and horners now occupy the radar screen in TnT. And the screen is very wide and Euro-Americanised and in techni colour B not in Black and White.

The fact of the matter is that the body-politic in TnT is now fully pregnant with ex-tempo public policy planning and recycling politics together with the phenomenon of retrogressive progression in the socio-economic-cultural arena.

One has to wonder whether the Minister of Infrastructure drives on the same six-inch deep potholed roads as grass-roots, ordinary Trinis. Maybe not. But until and unless some calamity happens then the roads will remain the same. Public policy planning has been relegated to kneejerk re-actions instead of pro-active actions.

It would seem that the public roads in TnT need to be paved instead of the Queen's Park Savannah as part of a national, infrastructural program. The fact of the matter is that when one is driving one's car from Diego Martin to Belmont, one is actually and physically in a 'winin' mode at the steering wheel trying to dodge or wine away from the steep potholes.

The bones of carnival are in the polluted political air on a daily basis in TnT. Carnival, politics, vagrancy, hornin, Emancipation Day are all the same Khaki pants in TnT. They all positively represent pappyshow, mamaguay and congosa. The bones of the reality of ethnic supremacy in TnT are saying very loud and clear: 'veni, vidi, vinci' 'I came, I saw, I conquered'.

The bones of the reality of ethnic supremacy in TnT are saying very loud and clear that hypocrisy, reality, fake, and perception are interchangeable at their zenith. This is scary to say the least.

The reality is that in this 39th year of TnT political independence, the sticks and stones are numbing, castrating and rendering impotent the bones of certain Trinis, by collusive design and not by accident. However, potent resilience has always been the forte of the oppressed and down-trodden over the centuries. It will raise to the fore in TnT in the near future; by any and all means necessary. The bones of TnT are in a very serious, self-destructive haemorrhaging mode.

TnT is now a private vagrant and public money hornin society and this is not by accident under ethnic supremacy. Cultural expression seemed to be skewed in favour of the ethnic political powers-that-be. And this supremacist action has forced social commentator 'Kenny J' to observe in his 2000 rendition titled 'Radio T&T' as follows:

'Ninety-nine percent East Indian
music on five stations in soca yard
But none for calypso
De culture of Trinidad
It's so sad

Wha we want
Is ah radio station
Ah radio station
To play soca and calypsoes alone
Ah radio station
Ah station dat we can
call we own ...'

The reality is that bones of ethnic supremacy in TnT deals with power and not with one-ah-day-carnival-oriented, powerless, so-called Emancipated Afrikan-Trinis at the bottomless pit of self-inflicted, ahistorical and Euro-centric nothingness and negativity. The bones of Afrikan-Trinis must alert them to the reality that under ethnic supremacy and politics in TnT, 'Shadow' has correctly advised that:

'Somebody will horn yuh
Yuh better believe it
Somebody will horn yuh
Ah hope yuh could take it,
partner ... Boo'

And unlike the inter-personal experience, the politicians who commit this public hornin all have big, big, big multi-million-dollar pay day. This 'rip-off' is allowed to happen because these individuals are working for the ruling government either in the metal industries, health or petroleum sector, among other infected, breeding-nest areas.

The ominous reality is that un-bridled corruption and public financial hornin have become the norm or rule, not the exception, in the bones of TnT's bodypolitics today.

In the final analysis, the concept of sticks and stones in TnT bones reveals that instead of foot and mouth disease, TnT is infected with immoral, massive corruption and political appointees stealing and swindling millions of public funds at all levels of government twenty-four hours a day, seven-days a week and 365 days of every year. It reveals that we not only have 'Somebody Missin' in society but also Some Money Missing in politics. These new drivers can really drive too good. And that ent no lie. It also reveals that the law of Eminent Domain is contemptuously, maliciously and surreptitiously re-directed and re-furnished when it comes to malfeasance in government.

In other words, in TnT current politics, anything goes. That's the 'Trini' way. It reveals that politicians in TnT display a chemical desire and addiction for personal, financial aggrandisement. On the flip side, they defy political sanity and reasoned, calculated, in-depth thinking, analysis and formulation of public policy. Everything is done with a carnival mentality. And in a vicious way, this concept reveals that a potpourri of political vagabonds, crooks, bandits, vagrants and horners now enjoy an untouched, unaccountable and protected field-day or picnic in TnT political life.

Shem Hotep

Dr. Nantambu is an Associate Professor, Dept. of Pan-African Studies, Kent State University, U.S.A. a Public Policy versus Human Needs

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