Constitutional Reform Movement?
April 28, 2000
By Selwyn R. Cudjoe
When I saw, the announcement of the Constitutional Reform Movement headed by David Abdullah and Pantin, I really believed it to be just another Abdullah--OWTU inspired move to capture political power. After all, Abdullah has been involved with so many political movments that only has to discern what shade his new political alignment takes. What I was not catering for was his need to attack those whom he felt had distorted the process because of their racial proclivities. Here is Abdullah in all of his pristine innocence (or is it malevolent musings): "There is urgent need for the silent majority [language taken from the right wing element of the Republican Party] of sensible, decent minded citizens to make their voices heard above the din of noise and heat generated by protagonists of racial conflict."
Thus the question arise, if the protagonists of racial conflict have been advocating constitutional reform, why should they now be sidelined now that Abdullah and his crew have come to the rescue of the silent majority. And why is it that these gentlement of labor and academia always feel that they have the correct answers and the perveyors of racial conflict only engage in noise and fury. And can either of these gentlemen demonstrate that one who is concerned with or has a proclivity for racial conflict knows little about constitutions and reform?
But it is never the intent of these gentlepersons to deal in honest dialogue and debate. One would have thought that as a trade unionist that Abdullah had leared about the diabolical nature of red baiting. But I suppose that when one is desperate, racial baiting would do.
The fact is that the Pantins and the Abdullahs have no monopoly on constitutional reform nor are they necesssarily positioned in any strategic manner to best promote ideas of development. What Abdullah has going for him are the millions of trade union dollars to do anything that he and his comrade leader wants. I await the day, bereft of the millions, that they present themselves to these senible, decent-minded citzens with any program that carry forward their interest.
And then there is the question of the goals of a Constitutional Reform MOvement. These intelletual giants that walk our earth asy of their movement that apart from seeking reforms in our constitution, they want to promote "political, social and economic improvement." So that what begins as a constitutional reform movment will now deal with all of the problems of the island and this I suspect will be alright with the "silent majority" since they will have their silent approval which only they, in their wisdom, will be able to discern.
It always strikes me as silly that in a society where half the population is of one race and the other half another race that these promulgators of progress believes that we could talk about our social and economic affairs without a mention of race and its permutations in the society. Perhpas, it may have come as a silent truth to the officers of T&TUTA that even in education there are racial considerations. Perhaps the Abdullahs would degree that it should not be so. The reality suggests that these are on-going antagonisms that must be worked through and worked out. Race bating never solved the problem. It only gives the Abdullahs a space to launch, yet again, another attempt at political power.
Being as Marx noted, always preceded consciousness or, as some may argue, they always inter-related in the development of human history. Abdulahh and others, in their next reincaration may have to demonstrate how "the protagonists of hate" prevent dicussion on constituional reform or whether he has now descended to using any immoral device to get into power.
LETTER to Trinicenter
From: MC Donald
NADA, NOUGHT, ZERO, ZILCH FOR BLACK PEOPLE
What's the beef with Selwyn Cudjoe's NAEAP?
It seems that his daring to string the words African and Empowerment in the same sentence has been causing some panic in several quarters.
Dr Cudjoe association is no different from the Chinese Association, the Maha Sabha, the Syrian Lebanese Association, ASJA and so many others, in that it is seeking to address the interests of it's people. Many detractors label the Association as racist, others challenge Dr Cudjoe to empower everyone here or to go to the African continent, to empower the Africans there. Let's face it, Africans in this country have never been empowered, despite some of their clan holding political office for over 30 years. This is a commonality in almost all post plantocracy societies. The abolition of slavery and the eventual collapse of the plantation system thrust some Africans into the public service and political office. Others become artisans and tradesmen, some even ventured into business.
Yet the strings to the old plantocracy remained albeit now operating from the distant mother country. It was often these Africans who tutored and helped Indians and the other groups introduced to the society to to fit in. This now seems like ancient history with some of these people, hyped by the direction the political wind is blowing, now claiming that the Africans have done nothing since leaving Africa. This is the state of things.
The African community in this country has the greatest proportion of homeless [vagrants] roaming the streets, the largest percentage of the prison population, the most single parents; in addition to this the African community have more trouble securing bank loans than any other group, many have been forced out of business by various deliberate designs. Combine all these factors with the recent spate of Indian affirmative action on state and statutory boards and if this cannot be justification for Cudjoe or anyone seeking empowerment, then I wonder what is.
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