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Is Tobago racist or is Rampersad an idiot?

The TOP was not routed in Tobago because it is an uninspiring bunch steered by a leader, Ashworth Jack, of questionable integrity and chained to a People’s Partnership that it is dogged by corruption and which treats the electorate as mindless voting machines. Not even close.

Photo: It isn’t you, Ashworth Jack. It’s them.

Tobago voted against TOP because it is a racist island which was lured into its stance by a reprehensible comment from PNM candidate, Hilton Sandy, who warned that a Calcutta ship was ready to sail to the “Sister Isle” and set up for business.

At least that is the view Equal Opportunity Commissioner Dr Indira Rampersad allegedly shared, according to the Trinidad Guardian, in a televised panel discussion.

Rampersad reportedly holds a Bachelor of Arts in Language in Literature, a diploma in International Relations, a Master of Philosophy in Latin American Literature, a Master of Philosophy in International Relations and a Ph.D in Political Science.

If accurate, that statement would suggest she came up short in Common Sense though. So allow me to offer a crash course.

Two years ago, Tobago voted TOP into power for the first time at the General Election despite knowing full well that the party was an affiliate of a UNC-led People’s Partnership coalition. So, ethnicity did not hamper Tobagonians then. And, presumably, they voted for progress.

Did they get it?

Photo: Tobago voted in the TOP at the 2010 General Election. So why change now?

An examination of the People’s Partnership tenure since it was voted into power should have been the first place that Rampersad checked for signs of discontent.

There is a long list of concerns but here are the highlights: Section 34, the State of Emergency, the Galbaransingh/Ferguson extradition matter, the Reshmi Ramnarine appointment, the PURE audit, the Point Fortin Highway, the OPV vessels, the firing of Gibbs and Ewatski and the investigation into the conduct of National Security Minister Jack Warner.

Please raise your hand if any of those aforementioned issues might be deemed racist in nature.

Sandy’s statement was obviously deplorable as the PNM itself acknowledged, albeit belatedly.

It is worth noting that Sandy said it publicly once while he apologised for the statement numerous times. But the TOP replayed the controversial remark, ad nauseum, in political ads for the duration of the campaign.

So, if anyone was playing the race card during the THA elections, then who was it exactly?

Does the PP really believe, like Rampersad might, that one has to be a racist not to fall to his knees when dollar bills are thrust in his face? If so, then the central government has even bigger problems than is widely perceived.

Photo: Was it the Prime Minister’s ethnicity or governance that turned off Tobagonians?

Tobagonians, presumably, know a thing or two about well-to-do non-residents in expensive suits who ask for favours and promise the moon and stars in return. Rampersad allegedly suggested that they are racists; one thing we do know is that they are not prostitutes.

And now that Rampersad has apparently let us into her troubled mind, she ought to really prove her appreciation for the leadership skills of the TOP boss by following his direction and similarly considering her position on the Equal Opportunity Commission.

Where is Rampersad’s research to prove the Tobago, which voted in the TOP two years ago, has suddenly been transformed into a backward, racist little nook?

Who could trust a body that is meant to promote racial harmony when one of its commissioners recklessly seeks to attach the stigma of racism on an entire island?

Without credible evidence to support the claims attributed to her, Rampersad’s position on the Equal Opportunity Commission is as laughable as Herbert Volney returning to head the Ministry of Justice or as ridiculous as it should be to have Warner attempting to thwart crime.

Before President Maxwell Richards vacates his office, he should have a word with the talkative commissioner.

Jack should be off to grow more pumpkins and cucumbers soon. Richards should insist that Rampersad joins him.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 15 years experience at several local and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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101 comments

  1. That would an idiot with a capital “I”…How as a Nation can we progress when a significant portion of our society sees only race?

  2. Hmmmm that’s our political analysis FYI

  3. She is one of the persons along with Devant Maharaj who wanted to see Trinidad divided, what equal opportunity

  4. Lasana it is really a roundabout way of reframing the REAL issue, the REAL way that the ” Intelligenstia” in the PPG see Tobagonians.

  5. It is just the PPG apologists getting butthurt from a sound rejection of their treachery and dishonesty about Tobago’s autonomy. They treated it like a carrot stick, inflated the issue with Hilton Sandy,… and paid the price of pitting Tobagonians against one another.

  6. If Tobagonians are so insular, how come their two seats voted in three different governments: PNM, NAR and People’s Partnership?
    How many constituencies in Trinidad have voted in three different parties since independence?

  7. Pot calling Kettle. When you point one finger at someone, three points at you.

  8. I would NEVER forget the night of the 21st January, 2013 after all the polls were counted and the results said PNM=12 vs TOP=Zero.
    The people were in a state of shock and it got worse when the UNC “independent” political guru said “Tobago voted race!”
    I’m like: “Did I miss something? Were not all 36 candidates of African origin? ”
    Then I put it down to the her being bazodee from the “Red Wash!”

  9. Can I choose both or just one?

  10. Lol but they wasn’t racist in 2010 when Tobago supported them

  11. Ar-rima, ammy (army), cha-rack-ter … I can go on and on.

  12. Rampersad is a Capital Idiot…

  13. I don’t know if they are, but I have been called the “c” word twice while on vacation there. 1. By a man who got mad because we didn’t want to go on his boat to get to the nylon pool and 2. By one of the ladies selling red mango/ snacks etc. near the port. The latter used the word like it was a word in the Webster dictionary. (Very cool and without hesitation). It also happened to me while vacationing in Barbados….a teen walked up to me on the beach and said, “are you a coolie from Trinidad”. I was left speechless and shocked. Later I found out that it was a word used loosely there and without any sort of malice…

  14. I vote…. Rampersad is an idiot

  15. I almost ran off the road recently when a radio host pronounced croisse as ”croy-c”.

  16. I sometimes ask myself whether English grammar is still taught at our schools.If so,the teachers aren’t doing a very good job.

  17. They represent those of us without standards. I cringe when I hear them and I am concerned about the fact that they are hired to read when reading alone seems to be a problem.I also have the same problem of grammar errors with our print media.

  18. But they represent us…or Trinis, whilst the Tobagonian, is fully represented in his lingo by Radio Heritage! They have a right to be Clannish, as we are quietly ambivalent as to who and how we are presented and represented to the world!

  19. lol.Judy Ann,The radio and TV announcers we have now, are the result of our acceptance of mediocrity.It is apparent that most of them do not read extensively or even listen to foreign broadcasters in an effort to hone their skills.

  20. Chidubem, I’m not understanding your comment on our radio and TV announcers who for the most part cannot pronounce simple English words and who are also for the most part strangers to the intricacies of English grammar. I won’t even go into their inability to pronounce names that are foreign (or even local)!

  21. Thanks Miranda,in my humble opinion ,it’s the only way we will move forward as trinbagonians.

  22. Lance is right in saying we need to keep that discussion open.

  23. Lord, no Judy-ann Stewart! That was a reference to Indira. She have some letters behind her name…

  24. Some Indians would have wanted, and may still want to hold on to that class structure, but we know it is not acceptable in this part of the world.

  25. Chabeth, I hope you are not calling Sat an intellectual?!

  26. Yes and they have a right to beChabeth Haynes, seeing that we can’t live side by side with each other in Trinidad, without having “Border wars, “gated communities” and down-right distrust for one another, based on texture of hair or cusine….cause it can’t b based on complexion, when both Races cover the same spectrum of colours!

  27. Chabeth, no so much from those who came immediately after emancipation, but those who came subsequently. India also has a class structure that was never so defined in Africa.

  28. I agree with discussions on matters of race, ethnicity and tribalism. What I keep saying is that TT does not experience racism. there may be vestiges of it that need not be rekindled. What I keep seeing is racism. You have to love racism to understand what it is.

  29. No Chabeth.i speak of structured discussions,not necessarily at the intellectual level.Leaders in communities of different ethnicities engaging the community to speak out.

  30. Miranda La Rose, when you say “Indian immigrants”, you mean people now coming from India or descendants of Indian immigrants?

  31. Miranda,does that comfort have to do with a ”looking down” of sorts on the Afro Trini?Just asking.

  32. Right, Lance Noel, but open discussions across communities isn’t the same as the constant “race talk”, is it?

  33. Excellent point Chabeth,but the only way we can help to erase this is to have open discussions within the different communities.

  34. Like I said, it is who the people are comfortable with.

  35. People still live in enclaves. In Guyana for instance, you might still find a village or villages with only descendants of Africans, or of only East Indians. It is not as rigid in Trinidad.

  36. I’m asking ,why are Afro trinis not hired.I subject myself to your enlightenment Miranda.

  37. I’m just saying, I know some racist black people in this country. People who have said to me, “yuh can’t trust den people, yuh know.” When I say who is “den people”, I’m told Indian people. I’m like you can’t trust any Indian person? The answer was yes, you can’t trust any Indian person. So again, yeah, we all have our personal experience, but please let’s not think any race has a monopoly on racism in this country.

  38. You have to look back at things historically as well. At Emancipation Africans outnumbered Indian indentured immigrants. Today, Indian immigrants in Trinidad and in Guyana outnumber Africans. Do you know why?

  39. Chidubem Al Mutasim, Hahahahaha at the journalist story. I’m just saying though that I think Tobagonians have more pride in Tobago than they do in Trinidad and Tobago.

  40. Pls clarify.the fresh wave you speak of ,are they the people who do not hire Afro trinis?

  41. I don’t know that we have a fresh wave of African entrepreneurs in TT or the Caribbean.

  42. ”Fresh wave”,you say Miranda?I think not.

  43. They are in the minority and they are from a fresh wave of Indian immigrants to TT. You find it with Chinese.

  44. care to hazard a guess why,Miranda?