Racial Imbalance in the Police Service: Defending Attorney Israel Khan


Submitted by Dr Kumar Mahabir

I wish to take issue with the editorial in the Trinidad and Tobago Express dated Thursday August 2, 2018 entitled Israel Khan’s cheap shot.

The editorial severely reprimanded the distinguished attorney for using race to analyse the composition of the local police service which he found to be heavily Afro-dominated. It unfairly denounced the Senior Council by using the following words: “Such loose talk is truly disappointing …. Equally disappointing is the hollowness of Mr Khan’s public statement.”

The editorial continued the rebuke by stating that Khan “indulges in the stunning leap of illogic that the large presence of Trinbagonians of African descent in the TTPS ‘does not augur well for a cosmopolitan nation’”. The editorial persisted in pounding Khan for being allegedly being irresponsible, “superficial,” and “cavalier” on a “sensitive and potentially divisive” issue.

Whew! Please allow me a second to exhale.

In an effort to flog Khan again, the Express Editor-in-Chief, Omatie Lutchman-Lyder, published a hard-hitting letter the following day. It was purportedly written by Dwight Hall and entitled “Shame on you, Israel Khan.” In his letter, Hall accused the learned attorney of “being purely racist” and “very asinine.”

Nizam, Ryan and La Guerre made the same observation

Another attorney, Nizam Mohammed, who was chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), had made the same observation as that of Khan on the racial imbalance in the police service. For this public statement, Mohammed was fired from the PSC in April 2011. But Mohammed had his day in court and won!

Incidentally, Mohammed also won a defamation case against the Express. In his lawsuit, Mohammed claimed that an article on him in the Express was “irresponsibly published” and was against the “tenets of responsible journalism.” The High Court judge ordered the Express to pay TT$325,000 in damages to Mohammed. In her witness statement, Editor-in-Chief Lutchman-Lyder said she wrote the correction and thought it sufficient to correct the errors in the article.

Twenty-five years ago, Drs Selwyn Ryan and John La Guerre had made the same observation as that of Khan and Mohammed. The two professors were lead researchers in the Centre for Ethnic Studies at the UWI.

Ryan and La Guerre reported that in 1991, out of a total of 109 Special Reserve Police (SRP) officers enlisted into the Regular Police Service, only 17 (16%) were Indo-Trinidadians (Indians). The researchers found that Indian police applicants were “generally better qualified (academically)” but scored lower before the interview panel which comprised exclusively of Afro-Trinidadians.

Ryan and La Guerre wrote that “it is expected that cultural factors could account for differentials in interview performance in favour of Afro-Trinidadians. …. In an interview, it is virtually impossible for an interviewer to be detached from his/her ethnic community.”

The two professors stated that “it must however be realised that there are cultural differences in the society, and that for Indo-Trinidadians to fully identify, they need to see their ‘own people’ as authority figures and role models” (pages 232-233).

Dear Editor-in-Chief Lutchman-Lyder, were the findings by Ryan and La Guerre also a “cheap shot”? Were their empirical observations also “loose talk” that were “truly disappointing” as you have ascribed to Israel Khan? Was the establishment of a Centre for Ethnic Studies at UWI also insensitive and potentially divisive?

Racial composition of the police in the UK

Why this harsh, unjustified, unnecessary and excessive criticism of Israel Khan? What is wrong with using race to analyse the composition of any social group? In my article entitled “Why we SHOULD talk about race,” published in www.icdn.today, I wrote that race, ethnicity, class, sex, religion, nationality, geography, etc. are valid, legitimate and appropriate social categories of difference in examining historical and contemporary issues. To sometimes overlook race is to ignore the elephant in the room.

For her Ph.D. dissertation, Bela Bhugowandeen studied the ethnic composition of the police service in England. Bhugowandeen wrote: “All forty-three police forces in England and Wales were required to meet targets set by the government to increase the number of recruits from minority ethnic communities.”

For highlighting this statement, is this Ph.D. student at the University of Poitiers in France racist like the accused Israel Khan? Or equally irresponsible, “superficial” and “cavalier” on a “sensitive and potentially divisive” issue?

According to the CSO population survey (2011), Indians constitute the largest ethnic group (35.4%) in T&T. Africans form the second largest (34.2%). Mixed Afros and Indos (Douglas) make up 8%. Why doesn’t the Express also make a big hullaballoo about the marginalisation of Indian men in visual advertisements? And the proportionately under-representation of Indians as recipients of the Government’s housing scheme? Of the three daily newspapers, why was it only the Express that refused to cover the public street protests that followed the firing of mainly Indian lectures from UTT on May 11, 2018? Shame on you, Express.

31 thoughts on “Racial Imbalance in the Police Service: Defending Attorney Israel Khan

  1. I find it strange that so-called Dr Mahabir should use a mainly black blog to push his brand of Indian nationalism- and it is allowed by the chairman.

  2. LowIQ45..if you knew anything about Trinidad you would know that the Hindi religion is dominant among the indian population..only 5% of afros and indians combined make up the muslim population in TT…very tiny population even smaller than the indo/afro dougla group.

    At least educate yourself before making uninformed, untrue statements.

    Contrary to what the article hinted at in percentages, there is no majority ethnic group on the island..there is really no numerical difference between a 35.4% indian population and a 34.2% African population.

  3. Well Well Wot A Igrunt Female I Is, the article is about Israel Khan, and Khan is usually a muslim appellation. My statement stands, muslims are professional victim-mongers, wherever they are, and they are virulently anti-black..
    FYI, 5% muslim is a level at which they try to take over their host countries.

  4. This racist man should be banned from pushing his racist agenda on a black blog.Agree with you on that Hal Austin.

    What he writes is of no benefit or concern to us and he seems to be using this site to get mileage to push his crap.

    Compare that with the articles by the guy Raymond who writes on Clico etc.At least those articles are informative and balanced.

    BU has to be careful not to allow itself to be used by publishing whatever is sent to him.

    There should be some prerequsites and a minimum standard as to what is allowed on his blog and what he will subject his readers to.

    This man’s agenda is clear and he should be banned.

    • Can you or anybody post the extracts from the article that are racist? Did you read the editorial in Daily Express the author has critiqued?

    • Do you know why the blogosphere has the impact that it does? No wonder Barbados is in the state that it finds itself.

  5. @ T. Inniss and Mr. Hal Austin

    To be fair to the poster it might be that it is not he that is posting but the Honourable Blogmaster who has “lifted” this article and has posted it here as

    (a) an article who elements are quite similar to our own overly black police force
    (b) a mutually reciprocal posting which blogmasters accord each other as a tradeoff for having BU posted on his site elsewhere.

    The two of you however have disturbed me with this unaccustomed xenophobia which, instead of examining the article as it is presented HAVE IMMEDIATELY ASCRIBED TO the author (who may not be the de facto poster) an agenda.

    If I were visiting in the UK, the next thing you might be likely to say is that de ole man should not comment on Brexit issues since I ent a citizen or a resident.

    Then, if you do, WHY DO EITHER OF YOU COMMENT ON DONALD TRUMP MATTERS or on cricket of football, if you play neither or on any other subject IF YOU HAVE NO SUBSTANTIVE participation, you get my drift?

    Not every one of those outside the “castle of our skins” is a John the Quaker, Lawson or a selective Freedom Crier heheheheh (notwithstanding her ideas about Barbados)

  6. Khan has been muslim for decades, nothing new. ..dimwitlowIQ45..now if ya said Abu Bakr, whole another ball game.

    Indo trinis know much better..they know that Afro trinis are nothing like afro bajans to allow a mere 5% population to control their economy, their land, their treasury or their pension…, and indo trinis they respect that fully because they know how the afro trinis can get..

  7. Inniss…really? you want an article writer banned based on what, your own insecurities?

    the article gives insight on issues impacting the indo group in TT you need to know that going forward, ya have a minority group on the island usurping more than their fair share of everything for which the Barbados government are now forced to do something about, it’s is good to know how other islands are addressing issues that can easily cross borders.

  8. Well, Well August 6, 2018 7:08 AM “Indo trinis know much better..they know that Afro trinis are nothing like afro bajans to allow a mere 5% population to control their economy, their land, their treasury or their pension…,”

    Really I wonder who really is uninformed here….”Trinidad and Tobago had little experience with violent extremism until it became the nation with the largest per-capita ISIS population in the Western Hemisphere.” ISIS warriors Trained in Warfare…Abu Bakr, and your arse is grass!

  9. You are uninformed and obviously never lived among trinis or you would know the difference.,…. what I posted is correct….the muslim population is very tiny and the extremist muslim population is even tinier and most of them leave TT and either find themselves stuck in prisons in the middle east or end up dead, those extremists rarely stay in Trinidad…they do not stick around the Caribbean with their heads filled with misguided crap..and they certainly don’t stick around to steal anything from the population..

  10. SOUTHCOM commander: More than 100 ISIS fighters recruited from Trinidad-Tobago

    Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in February, 2018.

    Published: March 5, 2018

    WASHINGTON — More than 100 members of the Islamic State have been recruited from the dual-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean, the admiral in charge of U.S. Southern Command said Monday.

    “There are individuals who have been radicalized, where this pernicious message has taken root. That’s a concern to the government of Trinidad and Tobago. They have focused on it and so I think it’s an area that we all have to take under consideration,” Adm. Kurt Tidd told reporters at the Pentagon.

    Tidd said other nations in the Caribbean are starting to realize Islamic extremism could be a serious problem in the region.

    “I think there was an unwillingness to acknowledge that perhaps they had a problem with radicalization from these extremist messages,” the admiral said. “Now it is a matter of routine conversation that we have in which we recognize, as we saw in our own country, in San Bernardino and in Orlando, as we saw in Nice and as we’ve seen in other countries sadly throughout Europe and the rest of the world, it’s all too easy for radicalization to occur and so it’s something that we must have our eyes open to and be on the lookout for.”

  11. It has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with those who are unable to differentiate between muslims…AND muslim extremists…..lowIQ45..it is no ones fault if you do not understand that there is a difference, no international agency will fail to differentiate between a muslim and a muslim extremist..but yall so narrow minded when trying to cover up ya own criminal acts, every muslim is an extremist for you and those who are NOT slave minded is a communist..but we are going to expose all of you frauds.

    …the article said it..at least 100 trini. muslim EXTREMISTS…are recruited by ISIS and all the other numbnuts…

  12. It is a given that the conversation was on Extremism…

    Trinidad and Tobago: Foreign Office warns visitors to Caribbean islands terror attack is ‘very likely’

    More than 100 citizens believed to have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join Isis ‘are likely to pose a security threat on return’
    • Friday 9 February 2018 01:37

    The Independent Travel

    While the Caribbean is generally regarded as terrorist-free, Trinidad and Tobago is an exception. According to the Foreign Office, more than 100 citizens are believed to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join Isis and “are likely to pose a security threat on return”….

    The recruitment rate, relative to the nation’s population of under 1.4 million, is around six times higher than in Britain.

    Read more @


  13. Pure nonsense, there is not much of a comparison even per capita…the population of UK is at least 67 million people…to TTs 1.3 or 4 million citizens..the muslim population will still remain 5% and the muslim extremist population will be still 100…minus who are in prison in the Middle East and who are dead.

    More extremist muslims and other middle easterners numbering in the hundreds of thousands can be found in the UK any given day of the week…than you will ever find in Trinidad..

    “Islam is the second largest religion in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with results from the United Kingdom Census 2011 giving the UK Muslim population in 2011 as 2,786,635, 4.4% of the total population.”

    “The UK is home to up to 25,000 Islamist extremists who could pose a threat, the EU’s top terror official has warned.

    Officials have warned that the threat from home-grown jihadis who are prevented from joining Isis in Syria and Iraq is increasing, with the group inciting global terror attacks to maintain momentum.”

    ya should be more worried and concerned about the drug dealing, gun running, money laundering, stolen car dealers, human trafficking minority criminals and thieves yall got in Barbados.

  14. I have done my good deed for the day, educating lowIQ45 of the difference between Muslims and Muslim extremists…yall heads are really too hard, ya need to come down from the facade and non existent “white privilege” high…it is dulling ya intelligence and commonsense.

  15. It is unsurprising that two racist trump trolls have started propagating anti-muslim psyops of shock and awe ignorance and hate,

    but it begs the question where’s John* he’s MIA

    (*) for the record I never met a mixed race person who relates more to the white side of his family who can’t dance more than his black side of the family who got the groove and get down


  16. “Who is your Father WWC?”

    certainly not any of you jesus and god freaks and certainly not ya fraud god or jesus ya been pushing on people for centuries….

    the article was about what Khan who is well known in TT since he has been there forever..said.

    He sees not enough indo in the police force, but it is a matter of choice for the indo to join the force, not enough of them are joining…I don’t know how the fact that he is muslim even get into the conversation, I never knew him to be extremist and you will not meet a lot of muslim extremists in TT, certainly not as extreme or visible as can be found in UK.

    The issue remains that they are not recruiting enough indo into. the police force or you would find more, it’s up to the Indians in the police force, of which there are many in top ranks who can do the recruiting..

    Khan did not say there were none, he said it is still dominated by Afro, but there are many, many Indians in the force.

  17. You know I’m just another soldier in the army of love
    I’m just another soldier in the army of love
    Hup two three four; crying sometimes as I go
    I’m just another soldier in the army of love
    Now hate is my enemy; I gotta fight it day and night
    Love is tha only weapon with which I have to fight
    I believe if I show a little love for my fellow man
    Then one day I’ll hold the victory in my hand
    That’s why I’m just another soldier in the army of love
    I’m just another soldier in the army of love
    Hup two three four; crying sometimes as I go
    I’m just another soldier in the army of love
    Now martin, john, and bobby once fought here by my side
    But the captain called then to that command post in the sky
    This army needs you my friend, this army needs me
    And I believe if we all get together right now hatred would cease to be

  18. Well, Well August 6, 2018 11:22 AM

    “ya should be more worried and concerned about the drug dealing, gun running, money laundering, stolen car dealers, human trafficking minority criminals and thieves yall got in Barbados.”

    Well, Well you got me laughing lol.

  19. Freedom Crier August 6, 2018 3:55 PM

    “ya should be more worried and concerned about the drug dealing, gun running, money laundering, stolen car dealers, human trafficking minority criminals and thieves yall got in Barbados.”

    Words of Well, Well… something for you to think about.

  20. Freedom Crier August 6, 2018 6:51 PM

    “Anne you should be more concerned about your friends Spiritual Welfare and yours.”

    Are you judging me. You need to go read the bible. How dare you question my spirituality. You dont know anything about me.

    You seem to be straying from the topic. As the old people say… it is waste of time arguing with a fool.

  21. Ms.Anne I have read my scriptures many times and still do and have taught their Principles for many years…That is why I can say the things I do without equivocation….

    You should be encouraging your friend and seeking after the best for her and not encouraging her down the road of Hatred… Both of you are on the run away Race Train, which a blind man can see. More is revealed than you know!

    Its amazing Really the Topics that emerge on BU in one blog. Depends if one is equipped to answer!


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