Marginalisation of Indians in the CXC History Syllabus

Submitted by Dr Kumar Mahabir, Anthropologist

At a webinar on Zoom recently, I presented part of a research paper I had originally delivered at a conference at the University the West Indies (UWI) in 2017 entitled “The Marginalisation and Exclusion of Indians by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) in the CSEC and CAPE History and Literature Syllabi”. I was later given an opportunity to do the same presentation to the CXC Board at its headquarters in Barbados. CSEC and CAPE are equivalent to the O- and A- Level exams of long ago. In the Zoom and CXC Board presentations, I focused on the history syllabi.

I argued that Indians constitute about half of the population in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname, and form the largest minority in Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent, Grenada and Belize. I emphasised that we must adopt socially-just educational practices and cited the recommendations by UNESCO, the World Forum in Dakar, and the World Conference on Education-for-All in Thailand, that minority ethnic groups should not be disadvantaged in receiving an education, or excluded from the content of the curriculum.

The CXC CSEC Caribbean History syllabus consists of ten Core Topics and nine Themes. I said that the ten (10) Core Topics outlined for the 2011 to 2017 examinations range from “The Indigenous Peoples of the Americas” to “Regional Integration up to 1985”, but that only two (2) of those ten Core Topics partially address Indo-Caribbean History (Indentureship). These are Core Topic F: “Coming of the Chinese, Europeans, Indians and Africans” and Core Topic G: “The Establishment of the Peasantry 1838 to 1900”.

Arriving in the Caribbean after Emancipation under the indentureship scheme, Indians constituted 82.4% (430,300) of all indentured immigrants, whereas the Chinese, Portuguese, German, French and liberated African indentured immigrants together amounted to just 17.6% (91,600). Despite this huge disparity in numbers, Indians are lumped together with all the other immigrant ethnic groups under one heading. Accordingly, there should be a Core Topic on the subject of Indian immigration by itself if the impact that Indian immigrants have had on shaping the region is to be fully understood.

Indian Indentureship virtually excluded

The Core Topic regarding the establishment of the peasantry deals with the period 1838-1900. However, that period cannot adequately document the establishment and development of Indo-Caribbean Peasantry because the majority of Indians acquired their own land, on which they cultivated sugar cane, cocoa, rice and vegetables and reared cattle, after the abolition of indentureship (1917), and so their history and experiences are not sufficiently represented in this Core Topic.

As for the CAPE History syllabus, the marginalisation of Indian history is even more egregious Unit 1: “The Caribbean in the Atlantic World” consists of three modules: Module 1 – “Indigenous Societies”; Module 2 – “Slave Systems: Character and Dismantlement”; and Module 3 – “Freedom in Action”. The topics of settlement and citizenship of Chinese, Indian and Portuguese immigrants constitute just one portion of Theme 1, Module 3, with (i) “their social and economic experiences during indentureship and post-indentureship”, and (ii) “resistance” forming sub-topics. Module 1 focuses on Indigenous Peoples and Module 2 concentrates on African Peoples, rebellions and revolutions. Practically no attention is given to Indian Indentureship which has been described as a new system of slavery by Hugh Tinker and other historians. This module should have at least addressed the Indian Hosay/Muharram Massacre in October 30, 1884 which has been described as the bloodiest massacre in Trinidad and Tobago under British rule.

Unit 2 focuses on the Atlantic World and its global interactions (the interconnections among Europe, Africa and the Americas). There are, again, 3 Modules: “Atlantic World: Interactions”; “Atlantic Development: Identity and Industry”; and “International Relations: Conflict and Liberation” Apart from the topic of Gandhi and the nationalist movement, the Indian/Asian world and its long-standing presence and influence on Caribbean history is completely ignored.

Let us not forget that it was European explorer Christopher Columbus’s search for a shorter trade route to India to acquire more tea, silk, cotton and spices that resulted in the discovery and occupation of the Americas which, in turn, led to the African slave trade. In its day, the spice trade was the world’s biggest industry. It established and destroyed empires, led to the discovery of new continents, and in many ways, helped lay the foundation for the modern world. Unit 2 of the CXC CAPE History syllabus should have also included a theme on the Silk Road or Silk Route which was a network of trade routes that connected China, India, Persia, Arabia, the Horn of Africa and Europe for thousands of years.

Using content analysis as my main methodology, I concluded that the CXC History syllabus was Afrocentric and that standards at the institution were beneath UNESCO’s requirements. Not one of the topics, whether core or theme, does justice to the subject of Indo-Caribbean history and Indian immigration to the region.

Indians NOT Considered Black and Excluded in Reparations Talks

Submitted by Sherry Hosein Singh

Some misguided Indians claim that they are Black, ignoring the fact that they are really Coloured or Brown. They blindly see only two colours in an artist’s palette: black and white. They even foolishly brag that “if you not White, you Black”, again failing to see that Chinese and Hispanics cannot fit into these extreme race categories. On the other hand, Blacks categorize Indians as Blacks for political convenience. 

For those Indians who insist that they are Black, here’s is a slap in their face. The Black Consciousness Festival was celebrated last week (11-13/6/21) with a focus on Reparations for Slavery, not including Indentureship.

The presenters were People of African descent and Indigenous descendants from the USA, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Haiti and France. Its release stated: “The conversations around reparations are important as they seek to build awareness and raise consciousness for our healing and for our agency in this space to chart our destiny as persons of African descent.

“The Black Consciousness Festival provides a global online platform for the celebration and sharing of vital histories and stories that boost the awareness and impact the pride, power and practices of People of African descent.”

The speakers from Trinidad included Earl Lovelace and Nicholas Ward. Guyana was represented by Sule Collymore. Indo-Trinidadian Historian Professor Brinsley Samaroo was not invited to speak although he boasts that he was in the forefront of the 1970 Black Power Movement in Trinidad, locked in arms with Makandal Daaga and Khafra Khambon.

Indo-Guyanese-born Professor, Dr David Dabydeen’s name was also not on the programme, although he is the author of books with titles such as The Oxford Companion to Black British History; Black Writers in Britain; 1760-1890; Hogarth’s Blacks: Images of Blacks in 18th-Century English Art; A Reader’s Guide to West Indian and Black British Literature; The Black Presence in English Literature; and Slave Song.

This second edition of the Black Consciousness Festival Series was done in collaboration with the Africa Film Festival in Trinidad and Tobago.

Sincerely,

Ms. Sherry Hosein Singh

Racism: Time Bomb Continues to Tick

Submitted by Pachamama (as a comment)

There is a political project being planned in Guyana by the Hindu-fascist PPP .of Jagdeo, aimed at covering up its racist conduct.

The PPP wants to dismiss 300 workers from the water authority,, the overwhelming majority of whom are Black.. They seek to replace them with Indians as they have a history of doing and have done since de rasssoul assholes in Caricom interfered in the elections to favour them.

To cover their apartheid policies the PPP is raising the spectre of Rodney as a distraction as they seek to combat complains about their behaviours, as made to the United Nations.

The argument to be made by the PPP is that the UN complaints are invalid because Walter Rodney, an Afro-Guyanese, is being lifted up. However, Black people in Guyana never had much love for Walter Rodney. They generally thought that he was an asshole, puffed up with a sense that he was the brightest man in the world.

Wrong on both counts.

As a youngster Walter Rodney was second to none in this writer”s estimation. However, his family is in no position to ask the PPP government of Guyana to rewrite the clear and true history of the circumstances surrounding his death.

The truth is settled knowledge. Rodney was trying to overthrow the government of Forbes Burnham and was plotting with a military man who was making a bomb with shrapnel intended to wreak substantial collateral damage.

Having arranged to test the bomb against the outer wall of the central prison complex it ended up in his, Rodney’s, lap and detonated, seemingly prematurely or at the betrayal of the military Confederates in this coup. Burnham had nothing to do with these events but currently this schema by the PPP could also cause a fissure within the opposition APNU coalition which comprises Burnham’s party and Rodney’s party.

About this plot to overthrow Burnham, Dr. David Hinds, a WPA member of Rodney’s party, at the time, spent years in jail and has since confirmed these events. Another senior member, of the WPA, we seem to remember his name as Roopnarine, we think, wrote a book detailing events much as we’ve tried to broadly outline.

This writer accepts the mantel of lacking hope in anything officialdom says to us. Doubled with experience of evaluating such plots, our central position is always to assume that everything is a fecking lie until proven otherwise.

David, your Caricom leaders, and the Caribbean, have no ideas about the demons they have let loose in Guyana. We trust that should the worse happen those same interfering misleaders will be military targets.

The Indian community in Barbados: business, religion and race-relations

Submitted by Dr. Kumar Mahabir

Barbados is located in the Caribbean near Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Martinique. It is 34 kilometres (21 miles) in length and up to 23 km (14 miles) in width covering an area of 432 km (167 square miles). The present population of Barbados is 287,000 persons (just more than a quarter-million people) based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data.

Five things that have made Barbados world famous: Rihanna, the international singer, songwriter, actress and designer, was born in Barbados; so too is Sir Garfield Sobers, the greatest cricket all-rounder of all time. And the Honourable Mia Mottley is the first female Prime Minister of Barbados. Barbados has also produced the oldest rum in the world from its Mount Gay Distillery. There are also its pristine, peaceful beaches.

Barbados has the head office of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) which is under attack these days for its grading system. Prime Minister Mottley is also the Chair of CARICOM (the Caribbean Community) which played a critical role in restoring democracy to Guyana during the recounting of votes following the March 2020 elections.

The following are HIGHLIGHTS of an ICC ZOOM public meeting held recently (25/10/20) on the topic “The Indian community in Barbados: business, religion and race-relations.”The Pan-Caribbean meeting was hosted by the Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre (ICC). The meeting was chaired by Sharlene Maharaj of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) and moderated by Sadhana Mohan of Surniname.

The speakers where HAJJI SULEIMAN BULBULIA, Secretary of the Barbados Muslim Association and the Muslim Chaplain of the UWI, Cave Hill Campus; and SABIR NAKHUDA, author of the book Bengal to Barbados: A 100-year history of East Indians in Barbados (2013) extracts of which are reproduced below.The discussant was DR KUMAR MAHABIR, an anthropologist from T&T and an Organization of American States (OAS) Former Fellow.

Affectionately called “coolie-man”

East Indians (Indians) have helped shape the social, religious, cultural and economic landscape of Barbados. To understand these impacts, the focus must be on the itinerant traders (affectionately called “coolie-man”).  

For the itinerant trader, the main driver of undertaking an economic enterprise is to generate income. But his business had several unintended consequences, many of which were positive for the Barbadian society for over 100 years.

The “coolie-man” became more than a friendly trader in the neighbourhood; he became a member of the family, a counsellor and an advisor at times. The “coolie-man” in Barbados has many anecdotal stories (positive and negative) which have entered into folklore of the island and have been immortalized in local songs.

The experiences of those who benefited from access to goods on extremely favorable credit terms, at a time when buying cash was the only available option for the poor, is noteworthy. Credit to the average Barbadian was unheard of, and many residents had to struggle on the meagre earnings they received to get along as best as they could.  

In the Foreword to the book Bengal to Barbados, former Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart, wrote: “… for many years, I experienced directly, the impact this important group made on the village in which I grew up in the parish of St. Philip. I saw these men alleviate the financial distress of many people who lived in Marchfield, St. Philip.

“They took care of back-to-school requirements for parents who could not afford to buy school uniforms by extending generous credit terms to them. At Christmas, the poorest households benefited from credit terms no less generous.”

Unlike the early Indians in Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Vincent, Grenada and other Caribbean Islands who went to work in the sugar plantations in the 1800s, Indian indentured labourers were not brought to Barbados. Those who came never intended to come to Barbados, but eventually ended up in Barbados and made the country their home.

The early Indians came from three different parts of India. The first Indian came to Barbados circa around 1910 from the Hooghly District in West Bengal: Bashart Ali Dewan initially went to Trinidad from India where his father-in-law was residing. He stayed there for a short while and then – for some unknown reason – moved to Barbados. Other Bengalis followed, and Bashart Ali Dewan and these pioneers stayed in the Bridgetown area of Barbados.

From inception, members of the Indian community have continued to practice their culture and religion. The Sindhi-Hindu community made part of their homes into mandirs [temple] until the opening of the first Hindu temple in Welches, St. Michael on the 22nd of October 1995.

The Muslim community continues to practice their faith individually and collectively. In the early days, the Friday jummah [congregational prayers] were performed at private homes at Wellington Street and Cheapside in the city. In 1951, the first masjid [mosque] was built in Kensington New Road.

Indian Lives do not Matter – violent incitement against Indians

Dr.Mahabir

Submitted by Dr Kumar Mahabir

On her Facebook page, well-known ruling People’s National Movement’s (PNM’s) political activist, Juliet Davy, of Trinidad and Tobago, created and shared a blood-curdling video recently.

No one in the mainstream media even made reference to it except for an Afro Opposition United National Congress (UNC) radio talk show host, Barrington “Skippy” Thomas. The video was captured for posterity by a UNC activist, Garth Christopher, who is racially-mixed (25/6/20).

Not even a single Indo-Trinidadian made a public comment, except for journalist Niala Maharaj who has been living in the Netherlands for the past 40 years.

On her blog (30/6/20), Maharaj wrote: Between the BLM [Black Lives Matter] movement and electioneering in Trinidad, Indian-bashing is getting to be the new normal on Facebook. No one blinked an eye last week when a video repeatedly made the rounds with a PNM activist urging ‘Africans’ to jump over the walls of Indian-owned properties, rush into their houses, and ‘deal with them’.

The majority of Afros (Africans) support the PNM while mainly Indos (Indians) back the UNC.

Are Indians really docile and afraid to speak out, even those in the UNC against whom the threat was made specifically? No leader in the PNM distanced the party from, and denounced the violent incitement of Davy.

I instantly reported the matter to Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith via his Facebook page but I did not even receive the courtesy and comfort of an acknowledgement. He is known to scan and respond to every shadow that jumps at him on social media. Beyond a shadow doubt, Davy has committed a seditious act and she should have been investigated, arrested and charged.

A seditious act

The Sedition Act (1920, last amended in 1976) states that a seditious intention is a plan to engender or promote (i) feelings of ill-will or hostility between one or more sections of the community on the one hand and any other section or sections of the community on the other hand; or (ii) feelings of ill-will towards, hostility to or contempt for any class of inhabitants of Trinidad and Tobago distinguished by race, colour, religion, profession, calling or employment (Section 3).

A person is guilty of an offence who has been found to have communicated any statement having a seditious intention. Subject to Subsection (3), a person guilty of an offence under this section is liable (a) on summary conviction to a fine of three thousand dollars AND to imprisonment for two years; or (b) on conviction on indictment to a fine of twenty thousand dollars AND to imprisonment for five years.

Is the Black-dominated Police Service (TTPS) racially and politically biased? In April last year, the police, led by Inspector Wayne Stanley, executed a search warrant at Radio and TV Jaagriti for an audio-visual clip. In the clip, the late Hindu and Indian civil rights leader, Sat Maharaj, is reported to have said that Tobagonians are lazy and the men are rapists. The matter went to court.

Sat’s stereotypical description pales in comparison to that of Davy’s violent instigation: “Is many of you holding it back; many of you holding back. … What we really need to tell them is how they mother really make them. That is what we really need to tell them … We suppose to jump over they fence, run up inside they house, hold them, and deal with them seriously.”

In August last year, Opposition Minority Leader in Tobago, Watson Duke, was arrested for a speech he had made in 2018. As part of the speech, Duke reportedly said: “I am sending the message clear. Let [PNM leader] Rowley them know that the day they come for us in WASA, we are prepared to die and the morgue would be picking up people.”

Duke was arrested, charged for sedition and released on TT$250,000 bail while Davy remains unscathed.

Hinds unscathed

On a political platform in Mafeking Junction, Mayaro, on November 16, 2016, PNM Minister Fitzgerald Hinds urged his mainly Afro audience supporters:

I said to my colleagues, as a younger parliamentarian then, I said the UNC is badly wounded. We need to finish them out. Kill them dead. I want you to understand that on November 28 [local elections day], you have the opportunity to drive a PNM balisier deep into the hearts of the wicked UNC vampires. Take a stake with a balisier on top and drive it deep within their heart and finish them off once and for all.”

His audience howled: “RAYYY!”

Hinds has never been questioned by the police, arrested or charged for sedition for having publicly expressed “feelings of ill-will or hostility” against a section of the community (The Sedition Act, Section 3 (i) and (ii)).

As with Davy, no leader in the PNM has distanced the party from, and denounced his hateful and violent racial and political instigation.

Prime Minister Rowley Can’t Count Indians

Dr.Mahabir

Submitted by Dr Kumar Mahabir

A few days ago, Prime Minster Dr Keith Rowley lashed out at mainly Indo-Trinidadian (Indian) critics by saying that they were “trying to stir up racial hatred” in the multi-ethnic society.

He was reported in the media as saying that his ruling PNM party “continues to be the only true national party” in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) where “every creed and race find an equal place.”

Rowley added: [J]ust remember half of the PNM Government is Indian” and that “those Indians [critics] are insulting the Indian population … please have a conversation with them [Indians in the Government].”

Rowley was trying to deflect criticism by ethnic, religious and women’s groups that his party had promoted violence on a sari-clad Hindu and Indian woman in a skit at its Sports and Family Day on Sunday August 12, 2018.

There are 23 PNM Members of Parliament (MP) in the House of Representatives. Of these, there are only two (2) Indians: Faris Al-Rawi and Terrence Deyalsingh. Indians, therefore, constitute a trifle nine percent (9%) of PNM MPs in Parliament.

Apparently Rowley miscounted. Half of the PNM Government is not Indian. There are only 26 percent (or 6) Indians in Cabinet as Ministers viz Clarence Rambharath, Terrence Deyalsingh, Kazim Hosein, Rohan Sinanan, Franklin Khan, and I reluctantly threw in Faris Al-Rawri too in the daal pot.

Seventy-four percent (74%) or 17 Ministers in government are non-Indians. There is a margin of error of plus or minus one minister whose ethnicity could not be determined.

The PNM Indian minsters are neither recognised nor respected by the vast majority of Indians long before the PNM’s refusal to select Kamaluddin Mohammed or Errol Mahabir as the Prime Minister on the death of Dr. Williams in 1981.

According to Government’s CSO population survey in 2011, Indians consist of 35 percent of the population, the largest ethnic group in the country. Comprising 26 percent in the government, Indian ministers are, therefore, underrepresented and do not find a proportionate “equal place” in Rowley’s PNM administration.

The Ministers in Rowley’s Government who are all members and representatives of the PNM have tremendous rights, powers and privileges. Pursuant to Chapter 5, Section 74.1 of the Constitution, the Prime Minister and Ministers in his Cabinet have been empowered to “have the general direction and control of the government of Trinidad and Tobago …”.

Rohan Sinanan is the only Hindu in Cabinet and Kazim Hosein is the only Muslim. These two non-Christians were installed in the Cabinet in June and November 2016 consecutively, more than a year after the PNM took Government in September 2015.

Rowley appointed these two non-Christian Ministers after complaints by Hindus and Muslims that they were not represented in Government. Sinanan represents six percent (6%) of the Hindus and Kazim 20 percent (20%) respectively in the population. According to the CSO population survey in 2011, Hindus comprise 18% of the population and Muslims 5%. Sinanan can, therefore, be seen as a window dressing because Hindus are grossly underrepresented in Government.

Operating under a republican constitution, the Prime Minister in T&T heads a cabinet of ministers who are chosen by him or her. In the current administration, Rowley has the power to appoint and revoke ministers in his cabinet who are executive, high-ranking decision-makers.

The book Caribbean Islands (1989), edited by Sandra Meditz and Dennis Hanratty, states that in T&T: “The prime minister is by far the most powerful figure in the government and is responsible for running the government. The prime minister chooses cabinet ministers from Parliament, who are then appointed by the president, and he can change ministers and ministries at will.”

There are 19 ambassadors chosen by Rowley to embassies abroad. Of the 19 ambassadors, only three (or 16%) are Indians: H.E. Garth Chatoor in Ottawa in Canada, H.E. Roger Gopaul in South Africa, and H.E. Stephen Seedansingh in China. Sixteen percent (16%) is not half (50%), Mr Prime Minister and Political Leader.

Despite the etymology of her last name, Jenelle Pariag is not an Indian. Pariag is the Acting Consul General in Miami in the USA. His Excellency Dave Persad was T&T’s High Commissioner in India until he resigned in July due to reportedly corrupt “financial accountability” in the embassy.

An attorney and former chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation under the People’s Partnership Government, Persad joined the PNM campaign during the general election in 2015. It is widely believed that he was awarded the diplomatic post for his betrayal of the People’s Partnership.

Appointments of High Commissioners/Ambassadors are made by the President in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister. They are highest-ranking representatives of T&T in their respective host countries and represent the interests and policies of their home country.

The abysmally small number of Indians as directors and heads of State boards would be another article for another day.

Few Indians Joined Black Power in 1970

Submitted by Dr Kumar Mahabir

Saturday April 21st marks the 48th anniversary of the declaration of the State of Emergency to quell the Black Power Revolution in Trinidad in 1970. The uprising was led by Makandal Daaga and his chey-la [disciple], Kafra Kambon, of the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC).

This year also marks the 18th anniversary since Kambon and his gang of followers rowdily stormed out of a conference on the rebellion during my presentation at University of the West Indies (UWI).

On that Holy Thursday, I was simply trying to expose the popular, (politically correct) propagated myth that many Indians actively participated in the Black Power Revolution.

Seven years after Kambon and his gang noisily interrupted my presentation, Professor Bridget Brereton of the Department of History at UWI came out to support my position.

In an article entitled “Contesting the past: Narratives of Trinidad & Tobago,” Brereton wrote: “Most Indo-Trinidadians opposed the movement and rejected the label ‘black,’ which, most felt, subsumed their ethnic identity under a blanket term always primarily associated with people of African descent” (page 19).

At the Black Power conference in UWI in 2010, I began my presentation by saying: “I speak with the knowledge that there is an attempt by NJAC, and a few Indian militants, to sanitize what, according to historian Kelvin Singh was really ‘a bid by Afro-Trinidadians to dominate the multi-ethnic society in a totalitarian way’” (page 5).

In his book East Indians and Black Power in the Caribbean (1986), Professor Mahin Gosine stated that the participation level of Indians was very low. He wrote that Black Power meant a call to African people to return to their cultural roots, to reject White domination, and to seize political power through revolutionary struggle. The ideology, at its core, preached a return to the traditional African past.

Many Indians did not actively participate in the Black Power Movement because of the violence that was involved. Violence exploded on a large scale on the night of March 5, 1970. Each night, the number of targets hit by Molotov cocktails increased.

Indians feared that the violence would be turned against them, their families, their homes and their small business establishments. An Indian-owned factory was burnt in San Juan and four children died in the fire.

Although NJAC led a procession of 20,000 demonstrators to San Juan, and later to Caroni as an apology, and to signal Afro-Indian unity, the damage was already done to the psyche of Indians.

In his journal article entitled “East Indians and Black Power in Trinidad,” foreign-based researcher, David Nicholls (1971), agreed that the “majority of Indians looked with a certain degree of detachment and with some suspicion upon what was going on. They saw it as a confrontation between black demonstrators, black policemen, and a black Government” (page 443).

At the forefront of the movement were a few Indians. These were men like Winston Leonard who could not have claimed for himself to be either a spokesman or a leader of the Indian community. There was also Chan Maraj of the unknown Arouca-based National Freedom Association, whose fame to claim was that he was related to veteran politician Stephen Maharaj.

These men were aliens to the Indian community. Indeed the Indian community saw them as confused men without a cultural identity. They were token Indian symbols used by advocates of the Black Power Movement for strategic, symbolic and political purposes.

Like Raja Ramlogan, these Indian men did not talk about India, Indian history and Indian heritage with the same passion as their African counterparts talked about their ancestral past.

Indeed, while the Black Power leader, Daaga, and his chey-la, Kambon, were sporting dashiki with pride, Ramlogan was sporting dashiki too, instead of the culturally-acceptable Indian kurta shirt.

A few Indian university students were involved. They went beforehand along the Caroni route explaining the purpose of the proposed march. But they were not taken seriously by villagers since they were considered young university students who just had “more book sense that common sense.”

On March 12, 1970, Indian children came out on the streets out of curiosity to see the dramatic procession, complete with colour, props, chants and speeches.

Indian adults on the Caroni route came out not so much in support of the Movement, but more out of the characteristic Indian hospitality to give food and water to any passing stranger in need.

There was also the strong feeling of fear: Give these rebels what they want and let them go quickly.” If Indians did give a hand of support to the protesters, it was really in support against Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams and his ruling PNM (People’s National Movement) who were considered to be the enemies of Indians.

THE WRITER is an anthropologist who has published 11 books.

 

Correspondence – Dr. Kumar Mahabir, 10 Swami Avenue, Don Miguel Road, San Juan, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies. Mobile: (868) 756-4961 E-mail: dmahabir@gmail.com

Discussing Ethnic Minority Dominance In A Small Island Developing State and Implications For A Predominantly Black Barbados

Some interesting research  to complete a Master of the Arts degree was done by Haajima Degia (female) in 2007. The paper titled  ETHNIC MINORITY DOMINANCE IN A SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATE AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT: THE CASE OF BARBADOS makes for eye popping revelations.

From inception BU has recorded our concern at the effect the inflow of various ethnic groups will eventually have on a predominantly Black host population. A dearth of research has made discussion about race and ethnicity an emotional and controversial affair for Barbadians. Degia’s thesis listed the following research questions:

  1. What perceptions do white Barbadians, black Barbadians and East Indians have about the issue of ethnic-dominance?
  2. Do individuals from each of these groups believe that the minority ethnic groups control the wealth and economy of the island?
  3. What does each group think about the ways in which this wealth has been gained?

The document is 138 pages but is riveting by its revelations. The author was raised in Barbados as a member of the Gujarati ethnic group. BU snipped excerpts from the thesis from the first 54 pages for those who do not have time to read the full document.

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GTUC Calls On President Jagdeo To Address Matters Affecting The African Community As Nation Marks ‘International Year for People of African Descent’

Lincoln Lewis, General Secretary Guyana Trades Union Congress

The Guyana Trades Union Congress in recognition of the United Nations International Year for People of African Descent this today delivered a letter to President Bharat Jagdeo, signed by Lincoln Lewis, General Secretary. The letter outlines 25 issues that are deserving of his administration urgent attention and which continue to negatively impact on the African community by virtue of the government’s action or inaction. The Congress embraces the view and aspiration of UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonovic, that “The International Year must become a milestone in the ongoing campaign to advance the rights of people of African descent and it deserves to be accompanied by activities that fire the imagination, enhance our understanding of the situation of people of African descent and are a catalyst for real and positive change in the daily lives of the millions of Afro-descendents around the world.”

This is not a year for fun and frolicking; it is a year for seriousness and achievements!

According to the UN Release, “the General Assembly proclaimed the Year in December 2009 in a resolution citing the need to strengthen national actions and regional and international cooperation to ensure that people of African descent fully enjoy economic, cultural, social, civil and political rights, to advance their integration into all political, economic, social and cultural aspects of society, and to promote a greater knowledge of and respect for their diverse heritage and culture.”

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Barbadians Warned To Safeguard Barbados Against The Ethnic Invasion

Submitted by JN (as a comment)

Sir Garry Sobers

I don’t normally write on blogs but after reading some of these comments I had to intervene because I feel the same way!!!

I  am a young Trini man and I can tell you that you should get rid of those Indo-Guyanese and Indo-Trinis before they try to dominate your country! They work in stages and it must be said they don’t and never will like black people. Bajans you must understand this so don’t be fooled by their smiles and stuff…that’s how it started in TNT all throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, they smiled and befriended black Trinis because we had control of the economy and government and then after the UNC was given two seats by the NAR (because of ANR Robinson’s hatred for the PNM) they got power and that’s when TNT went into racial tensions…for the first time the rest of the population saw their true colours they would call black people niggers almost constantly, saying is “we time now!” and stuff like that the population was really shocked that they were so racists after all they were so nice and cool before 1995…but after reading books about race relations and politics in TNT I discovered that Indo-Caribbean people hate black people and are very resentful of us because our culture dominates…calypso, steelband, music etc and they always felt slighted they call the “fear of creolization (aka becoming assimilated into black culture) So they smiled and laughed with us until they established themselves.

Then they started the cleansing process, Panday fired Manning’s wife who had a high post job in the government I think…they put themselves in the important areas to gain control of the economy….this is a warning to you Barbados if you see them doing this be very very afraid and get them out!! They fired all the blacks in areas of health, medicine, education, business and law and placed their own kind….and over the years the Indians would employ only Indians and not blacks…I remembered they even took black children off the list for colleges in common entrance and put their own it was horrible! and it was easy for them just look at the surnames if its Indian leave it if not delete…health they made sure the heads were Indians so that the newly graduated blacks would be denied from getting jobs and passing exams to start practicing..same thing occurred in law…and the worse was education UWI became completed Indian dominated and lecturers would boldly discriminate against blacks however thanks to the current PNM tertiary education for all now there are a sizeable amount of blacks and other black students from the Caribbean.

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Hindus In Barbados Show Insensitivity

hinduToday’s Nation newspaper in what history may record as a tipping point in the national conversation on race  relations in Barbados published a story titled,  Hindus want to spread the word. The opening paragraph of the article summarized the gist of the message;  HINDUS IN BARBADOS want to spread their religion and customs throughout the country to the point of convincing Government to grant national holidays for the observance of Hindu festivals. BU would have warned Barbadians for the past three years that this day would come.  To quote BU family member Jay, I want to say emphatically that this “Guyana society” must be absolutely nuts to try something like this.If you want your “observance” why not go where it is already recognized……in Guyana.It makes me wonder if this is being done on purpose to hurt the image of Barbados & to have a more conciliatory Government.Just like what has happen currently in Australia.They can already observe the day,why is a “national holiday required” ?

In recent days we have seen an escalation in the immigration rhetoric from David Commisiong and Norman Faria. Now we have this article published by the Nation which touches the prevailing sensitivity linked to the immigration Indo Guyanese issue. It is no secret that there is a group who has tag teamed to lobby the interest of others at the expense of what  the majority of Barbadians want. Does it matter that Barbados has a Black host population of over 80% which has been exemplary in charting the course of this country in our post independence period? We survey other countries blessed with more resources than us but who continue to be mired in economic, political and religious strife.

It is eerie the path which Barbados is beginning to embark. It seems like only yesterday when a similar conversation started in Trinidad. If we were to scan Trinidad’s Public Holidays for 2010 we note there is a Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Indian Arrival Day, Corpus Christi, Id al Fitr (End of Ramadan), Divali (Hindu Festival of Light), Christmas Day and Christmas Day. The Trinidad and Tobago population mix is weighted more towards 50:50 Blacks and others. To this day T&T continues to be challenged by the multi-racial composition of its population. Barbados has the opportunity to define the type of society it wants based on the experience of others. Why should we rush knowingly into a situation when the evidence is available to provide a heads-up?

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The RACE Gap: The Science of Intelligence – Are Blacks Inherently Inferior To Whites And Asians In Terms of IQ and Cognitive Ability?

Submitted by Terence Blackett
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights …Declaration of Independence

In a preamble to my current book manuscript on the issue of “race relations” entitled ‘Unmasking The Phantom’: The Race Factor – Exposing The Problems Of Race Relations In America – it dawned on me based on a recent documentary by a very highly respected Black British journalist that this was the one area that I had not given enough academic resonance to, due in part to the dangerous minefield that has been created around this incendiary narrative.

Race and IQ have created many enemies across the academic as well as the social divide. The most damaging and soul-destroying accusation that can be levelled at any human being is to be classified as sub-human because of a range of numbers on an IQ sliding scale (reference made to the Australian Aborigines).

But first let us examine the social anthropology and the ethno-genesis on this questionable area of science which posits this notion of a hierarchy of intelligence between the “races” while creating a subjugation of the Black race, relegating them to the furthest end of this ideological spectrum.

There are many questions to be answered by social scientists, social policy experts and politicians who continue to bury their heads in the sand over this contention issue – most of them wanting to play the political correctness game as a form of appeasement.

For example, in Britain, the US and Canada – predominate 1st world countries where with an increasing Black population – can governments and policy-makers continue to overlook the escalating problems of Black underachievement in schools and an increasing marginalization of Black males who are jobless, incarcerated, disillusioned and teeter-tottering on the periphery of society resulting in sub-cultural strands of behaviour and exploitation defined as a “hip-hop, Gen-ex generation?

But before I begin to rant about the structural inequalities and the social transmogrification of opportunity based on privilege, class and elite meritocracy – let us go back and look at the paradigms of social anthropology and how the narrative and the dialogue on racial IQ and intelligence became such a medium of contention and how the dumming down of this issue even within academic circles is seen as intellectual terrorism – where the use of the enemy is not a suicide bomber who straps plastic explosives to a vest but rather uses the corollary of subtle genetic science to plant incendiary devices within the minds of groups of people to maintain an ongoing status quo.

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Who Or What Am I?

bajan_prideA few weeks ago we listened to veteran journalist David Ellis expressing exasperation on air about all the race talk around in Barbados. His position as we understand it – educated Barbadians need to conceptualize positions which would move the country forward. We believe if Ellis were to think a little on that utterance he would realise it was an  asinine statement. Bear in mind the issue of race is being discussed in many countries around the globe including the great USA which is described as representing the melting pot of people from all backgrounds. He should also bear in mind the greatest Roman philosophers who we quote freely today were always prepared to enter the public squares to discuss the issues, good and bad with the people. The debate facilitated cross fertilization, more importantly the approach allowed the PEOPLE to vent and for the learned to respond. Hopefully both sides were the richer for the exchanges. It is a model which BU is committed to following for as long as we exist.

For any people including Barbadians to understand who they are and what they want to become, an understanding of their past lives must feature prominently. Decisions in the present cannot be divorce from experiences of the past. The psyche of the Barbadian has been influenced over time based on ALL of our history. Sadly our past is tarred by the experience of slavery and the colonial governance system which enforced it.  Today when we survey our system of government, church and other institutions and symbols which support civil society, the vestiges of our colonial relationship remain visible to all who want to see. For us to move forward as a people we have to discuss and debate how institutions which were active in our pre-emancipation period must be reconfigured to ensure a  Renaissance which the late Right Excellent Errol Barrow would have envisaged for our small but proud nation when he uttered that Barbados would be friends of all and satellites of none. Sad to say Barbados has progressed admirably if we use economic measures but boy have we neglected the social structures which are the intangibles of equal importance.

To understand the Barbadian and the negative reaction we have had to the large influx of Indo-Guyanese, we have to revert to history.

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Open Letter To Norman Faria, Guyana's Honourary Consul To Barbados

Lincoln Lewis, General Secretary Guyana Trades Union Congress.

Submitted by Lincoln Lewis, General Secretary Guyana Trades Union Congress

September 19, 2009

Dear Mr. Norman Faria,

This is an open letter with a copy forwarded to Barbadian and Guyanese Media. I have chosen to communicate with you both privately and publicly since the issue that prompted this engagement emanated from public statements made by you in condemnation of several positions I have taken on contemporary issues and more so those pertaining to Guyana. Today I wish to reiterate my position that I stand on the side of justice and fair play regardless of who heads the government. I stood against what I perceived to be unjust actions of all former governments, and I shall continue to stand against any form of injustice at this time when it is clear that those who are given the privilege to lead consider the country their personal property and the citizens their subjects.

As Honourary Consul to Barbados it is your responsibility to, among other diplomatic tasks, represent the rights and dignity of Guyanese citizens in Barbados. This is however not without serious concerns for your obvious willingness to export and advance the partisan, racist and corrupt politics of the PPP government, whose disregard for human rights is being exposed daily. I am concerned that while you seek to tell us about transgression of Guyanese rights in Barbados at the same time you are silent or embrace programs of rights violations and slow genocide by the Guyana Government against some Guyanese. This is a double standard.

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The Fear Of The Growing Ethnic Factor, Real or Imagined?

Submitted by Yakubu

ethnicityWhile we must be a tolerant society, Bajans must understand that Hindu immigrants, with their high fertility rates, and their dislike of miscegenation with the Negro, have already destroyed the social cohesion of two Caribbean territories–Guyana and Trinidad. Now they are invading Barbados.

We will have no-one but ourselves to blame if we are unable to defend our island from the upheavals that have occurred elsewhere–and not just in the Caribbean. In Fiji, society has been fractured by Indian immigration. In East Africa, there have been decades of turmoil, although Uganda chose to bite the bullet and deport much of its Indian population when they rejected the government’s efforts to integrate them into African society.

A single labour market for the Caribbean will, over a historical period, lead to the political, social and cultural subordination of the Negro in the entire eastern Caribbean. Our politicians, businessmen and academics must be persuaded to abandon this ruinous project.