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posted 2 Sept 2017, 11:31 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 2 Sept 2017, 12:02 ]
Kenneth Peterkin is self-employed


By Kenneth Peterkin 


Fifty five years of independence: as a Trinidadian I should be a happy man. Sad to say I am not. With a country blessed with rich resources after 55 years my people are worse off today than when we became independent.

With the amount of wealth that this country has generated over these 55 years, our people should have been in a far better position that we are today, but we as a people never did move away from dependency.

The political leaders kept feeding the people with a dependency syndrome, while they cream of all the wealth and feed us, the working class, with enough just to survive. The heads of all the government were corrupted, and we as a people know that for a fact.

Over these 55 years no government has done anything to curb the corruption. Instead corruption has become a big business where millions are spent on inquiries and nobody housed in jail. For the amount of the people’s money that has been wasted by these governments, it's a shame today to see the poor people of this country do not enjoy a good health system. Is Panadol the poor are given for any type of complaint. The school system has problems each new term.

When one leaves school with 5 and 6 subjects one can't find a job. Public transport is in a mess and the list goes on; while all this is going on those at the top are asking for better salaries and they still thiefing big and bold as they are the law.

We, as a people, will be this way, because we are a brutal people. We know the right from the wrong, We are good on the talk show programmes and when it comes to educating the next generation we are going in that direction. We want betterment but we want somebody to do it for us. We always support the good but we always in the back. We want manna and waiting for it to come from heaven. We praying to God to make changes, but ent willing to help God.

Happy dependency!

Joanne Viechweg is Owner/Therapist at THE CENTER FOR THERAPEUTIC BALANCE


By Joanne Viechweg

With just a few days separating Emancipation from Independence during the month of August do we as African people involve ourselves in any introspection? Do we contemplate in any serious way the degree to which we are either free or independent? Does it even matter? Is it simply ok to serve at the behest of the 1% controlling class? Are we doomed to continue as slaves for the rest of our existence on this planet? What are we doing to create a better tomorrow for ourselves and our children? These are some of the questions which must be considered if we are to progress and shape ourselves into a significant and valuable asset to this country of our birth.

It is especially important on a significant day such as Independence is to solidify your understanding of self as African Trinbagonian. When that simple conceptual image can be held understood and projected, my African family would have grown in leaps and bounds. To continue to deny the greatness of the African DNA which flows within your body chemistry is like choosing to remain hungry while present at a lavish feast held in your honour.

The time has come when we must take a critical look at ourselves, our environment and how we have been programmed to function within the existing operational system. Is it working for us? Were we meant to benefit from the social structure, the political, economic and even (or especially) the religious frameworks which bind us? Think on it…and let’s reason a bit.

For over 400 years our physical bodies were brutally bashed. The temples of our souls were demolished and shattered; our divinity tragically dislodged. That effort to keep us separate from our African majesty and wisdom has never ended and impacts my African family even more potently in the era of post emancipation.

The physical chains and beatings having been removed and stopped respectively were replaced by more pervasive means of restraint which are quite invisible and intangible but cause an individual to willingly submit to oppressive systems simply to be able to hold on to the illusion of freedom. Alas, this is what was handed to us upon our emancipation; ‘the illusion of freedom’.

Our ancestors embraced the illusion as for them it meant a reduction of the physical violence and hope of being spiritually restored sometime in the future – or so they might have thought. Looking through the rear-view mirror now we can see how the colonial masters shaped the free experience of their former slaves. We only need to revisit The Willie Lynch Letter (Lynch, 1712). http://www.itsabouttimebpp.com/BPP_Books/pdf/The_Willie_Lynch_Letter_The_Making_Of_A_Slave!.pdf

Rediscovery and reconnection with our African truth (not the myths and superstitions we’ve been told) is the way to counter the planned continuous enslavement of the African Family. Not just reconnection in terms of correcting our historical understanding of the stature we held before we were enslaved but most importantly we must re-embrace the spiritual power and wisdom that is our heritage.

African spirituality is laden with symbolic language and ritualistic behaviour patterns which were misunderstood and deemed demonic by them (slave/colonial masters). However, it is up to us now to explore the depths, the body of knowing, understanding and wisdom that supports those observable rituals and symbols, making them meaningful language. Within those depths is where our strength lies and from where victory will come.



By Samuel Noel

It is called economic deprivation, it was handed down from the colonialist to the so called upper class, or privileged, who continue to carry on the legacy today.

Take for example; the minimum wage is not being paid in state owned enterprises*. Yet these items have to be fought for by the workers, who at most times are victimised. Then these matters are fought for years in the industrial court and by the time they are settled " whenver that is", many have died or are in poor health, because they couldn't afford proper health care and even when they get that money they are so far behind in time that it will take a further ten to fifteen years to catch up to where they are supposed to be today.

This is part of the plan to suppress the efforts of the workers and keep them in a wanting state so as to get more from them while paying less and having them hoping that things will get better tomorrow.

It’s like tying a carrot on a stick and placing it in front of a horse that is pulling a cart. No matter if it runs with that cart at top speed, is only the cart owner benefitting.

In the meantime, children are not able to reach their full potential educationally because even though Daddy is supposed to afford because he is skilled, certified and qualified, the children are stagnated and left to delinquency and crime.

So the police service benefits, the prisons benefit, the minister or his friends open a security firm and benefit, high crime rate in the area will lower property value and cause residents to sell out and move out to a housing estate that the system built, and the same ministers and their REAL ESTATE friends benefit.

In the meantime the working class citizen, due to stress and worrying, can’t get the much needed sleep to regulate his brain to improve his productivity, his creativity and for his self balance. Therefore he loses his fighting spirit and is submissive to anything Massaboss says and the boss ends up with some very loyal workers who will sell out anyone who speaks of resistance, because Massaboss to him seems like the only one who can keep his family secured.

Our ancestors went through this and the game has changed but the agenda stays the same from chattel slavery to mental slavery. Control the mind and control the body!

We can march for the next four hundred years, unless the right set of people or their loved ones don't get a taste of the workers’ bitterness, nothing will change. Are we independent?

Fifty five years of change of shift not change of system!

Laurence Brown is a former president of the Communication Workers Union


By Laurence Brown 

It has long been recognized by many of us in TnT that whilst on 31st August 1962 the Union Jack was lowered and the red white and black hoisted in place, what effectively took place was the British Colonial Master going through the motions of dumping its now expensive to maintain Colonies one by one.

The people of Trinidad and Tobago never fought for and thereby never won independence. Following the demise of the West Indies Federation Eric Williams, fully aware of the British machinations, proceeded on the path of so-called Independence.

In effect Trinidad and Tobago was GRANTED Independence with certain conditions which included responsibility for our own financial/economic future, loyalty to the Queen via the Commonwealth, keeping intact and maintenance of all the governmental institutions put in place by the British colonial master, a Regiment and a number of other vestiges of colonialism which are still very much with us.

It must be noted as the colonial power, Britain had only one use for countries like Trinidad and Tobago throughout its empire and that was to extract raw material and exploit people (Slavery/Indentureship) for the purpose of building the mother country.

To do so they put systems in place for that purpose and that purpose only; systems which we were made to keep in place and to which we still hold on to dearly, e.g. system of Governance, Structure of our Society, Education System etc. all of which we still hold on to as our own and for which we are now reaping the whirlwind.

Tony Bedassie is a Petrotrin worker


By Tony Bedassie 

It was the foundation laid by labour leaders like Tubal Uriah Buzz Butler, Adrian Cola Rienzi, Captain Arthur Andrew Cipriani which led to an awakening of our people. This led to the thrust for home rule which culminated in our gaining independence from the crown on this day in 1962.

So much has happened since then. Post-independence, citizens of the country grew quickly disenchanted with the leadership and direction of the country. Their expectations of economic prosperity under home rule was just not being realised quickly enough; so much so that our first prime minister the late Dr. Eric Williams actually attempted to resign from leadership of his party and government. The economy was suffering much as it is now, from low oil prices.

Prior to 1970, activists such as Basdeo Panday, Makandal Daaga, Clive Nunez and others, in keeping with the drive for civil rights in the USA, began agitating against the government. A unity began forming which led to the black power movement and subsequent riots in 1970.

At that time the army was called out to quash the resistance and Raffique Shah and Rex Lasalle together led a mutiny at the Teteron barracks, refusing to take up arms against the citizenry in defiance of the government. The coast guard was called in and they actually began shelling the barracks during which time, one soldier was killed.

They also blew up the bridge leading out of Chaguaramas in order to keep the soldiers from reaching Port of Spain where they intended to join up with civil rights protesters. The rebellion was basically crushed however, resistance fighters identifying themselves as NUFF continued guerrilla warfare for some time afterwards. hiding out in the hills.

In 1976 we became a republic and thus adopted a republican constitution under which we still operate today.

1985-1986 saw people uniting in the country once more. This was a time of deep recession. An alliance of political parties led to the formation of the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) led by ANR Robinson and Basdeo Panday. The party successfully contested the general elections of 1986 delivering the greatest defeat to the then ruling PNM. NAR won the election winning 33 seats and the pnm 3.

The NAR government was forced to implement harsh socio-economic measures at that time in an attempt to restore the economy. A split occurred within the government and Basdeo Panday broke away with his mp's to form CLUB 88 from which the now UNC was born.

1990 saw the Jamaat al Muslimeen staging a coup in the country, taking over the then national television station and storming the red house, effectively taking over the parliament and holding the representatives present hostage. The coup eventually failed with the Muslimeen surrendering under an amnesty. Port of Spain was nearly destroyed, not just from the coup, but from looters. Much of it was burnt to the ground.

I take the time to reflect on some of these occurrences as a reminder to us of our history. As we see once again high levels of social unrest developing within the country, stemming from harsh governmental socio-economic policies, let us be cognisant of the fact that we have been there before. The warning signs are there. All that's needed now is a spark. Long live our independent republic of Trinidad and Tobago!