Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / ‘These PNM cockroaches keep populating’; Tayé and St Clair respond to Ramsaran’s racist rant

‘These PNM cockroaches keep populating’; Tayé and St Clair respond to Ramsaran’s racist rant

Naila Ramsaran: ‘Let us the hardworking UNC supporters continue to pay taxes and mind the loafers that support the PNM… I hope [Prime Minister Dr Keith] Rowley starts putting contraceptives in their water supply yes because these cockroaches keep populating and the only thing they know to do is vote…’

The following is an apology from Naila Ramsaran, a relative—allegedly daughter—of the owners of Ramsaran Dairy Products, for the above remarks made in the wake of the People National Movement’s (PNM) 22-19 General Election victory over the United National Congress (UNC) on Monday 10 August 2020, as well as subsequent responses from Garth St Clair and Dennis Taye-Allen:

Photo: Ramsaran’s Dairy Products are available at most groceries and schools.

(Statement from Naila Ramsaran)

To everyone who has seen the comments circulating on social media that were made by me, I sincerely apologise for hurting you in anyway. I would also like to apologise to my family and the customers of Ramsaran’s Dairy products as I pride myself of always being fair and giving the best customer service.

To clarify the context of the screenshots, they were posted out of anger and in response to years of racial discrimination and criminal acts against myself and my family in the last few years.

I understand that this does not justify my reaction but I do hope that you accept my apology and respect my family and their business’ privacy by not defaming them or the business.

I appreciate everyone who reached out to me and engaged in a discussion as to why this comment was hurtful/racist. I am truly apologetic and have learnt the impact my words have had. It is never my intention now and in the future to engage or promote and form of racism.

I accept total responsibility and hope that we can all move forward respectfully and peacefully.

Thank you.

Photo: A racially tinged Facebook post by Naila Ramsaran on 11 August 2020.

(Statement from Dennis Tayé-Allen, which was emailed to Ramsaran’s Dairy Products)

Good day,

I came across a post online from someone who was identified as a principal of Ramsaran’s Dairy Products.
It is troubling that in these times when we as a nation have to band together to survive, someone who has benefitted so much from the grassroots communities would now turn on us with such scorn and blatant disregard.

Naila Ramsaran’s comments—and her subsequent ‘apology’—resonate a particular brand of racism that affects a specific band of T&T’s business and social elites. It is classified by a short memory.

I remember as a youth that the Ramsaran juice box symbolised that my family had enough spare cash to splurge on a premium product. Fresh milk. Fresh orange juice. Better than the foreign imports and franchises that operated in the market. Local to the core.

Now, with the trend towards heavily diluted concentrates, artificial flavours and fillers permeating the product spectrum, a company like yours would have been poised to take advantage of the opportunity to point your brand towards a client looking for wholesome goodness.

Photo: A racist reference by Alisha Ali in the wake of the 2020 General Election results.

And now this disingenuous ‘apology’ to cover up a truth too nasty to hide behind.

I fully expect that there will be no response to this email, but I cannot carry on like this is not feeling like a personal betrayal of me and my support for your brand over the last five decades.

Very disappointed.

(Statement from Garth St Clair to Naila Ramsaran)

Good morning Miss Naila Ramsaran,

I read your simple-minded apology and I do not accept.

What you really meant to say was: “I am sorry for speaking out loud what I, my circle of friends and family really think about the African community. It’s just that I was emotional because the party I support lost the election again and my thoughts came through my big mouth.

“You all (the African community) really were not supposed to know how we felt about you, but I am sorry that you all found out. I said what I said, please don’t hurt me or our family business because we still need ‘Your Cockroach money’ to live our best life. So let’s move on.”

Photo: Bishop Anstey and Trinity College East claimed to be investigating a series of race-tinged references on the Facebook page of Kamel Ali, who is a teacher there.

To you, Miss Ramsaran, Nadine Maharaj, Harry Singh, Nesar Hosein, Kavita Dawarika, Ingrid Ramjattan, Takhoor Raamsobag, Cintra Soodeen and so many others who have jumped out your whole self, to let us know what we knew all along.

This election, we voted against racism especially. This blessed country is way too small to start a race war. Blame your leaders and supporters for your loss, not us.

Strange, when the People’s National Movement lost the elections back in 2010, I cannot recall seeing all the nasty comments and behaviour we are witnessing now. As a matter of fact, we blamed ourselves.

You all are free to leave when our borders are open because we don’t want to see you all eat the same ‘grass’ that we will be eating soon.

Do enjoy the rest of your day.

Proud African man and Citizen of Trinidad and Tobago.

Respect.
Garth St Clair

Photo: Prime minister Dr Keith Rowley (left) and his wife Sharon Rowley (centre) observe the Independence Day Parade on 31 August 2018.
(Copyright Ministry of National Security)

Editor’s Note: Massy Stores pulled its Ramsaran’s Dairy Products from off its shelves, in response to calls for a boycott while the Ramsaran’s company sacked Naila Ramsaran and distanced itself from her comments. Click HERE to read more.

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25 comments

  1. Eric Williams must be turning in his grave with all the vicious and unhealthy rhetoric spewing out of the mouths of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. Whoever told the Indians that these islands were ever part of India? or the Africans that they formed part of Africa. Do not be ridiculous!! And what of the Jews and other cultures on the islands? These little islands belong to ALL of us – not one group over another. You are all adults and should be educated enough to know that this posture is very wrong and teaches the youth of the nation absolutely nothing. Move on and work together to build a stronger Trinidad and Tobago. You can do it!

  2. ‘ADULTS’ who supposed to be ‘COUNTRY’ leaders must ‘CONDUCT’ themselves in an appropriate manner for the sake of the young minds. History (ANCESTORS) needs to be ‘REVISITED’ before ‘UGLY’ words being uttered about others in public. Too many years of humans become the object of one another’s ridicule or mockery. ‘HUMAN’ is under ‘ONE’ umbrella!

    21 ST CENTURY AND STILL THIS BS!!! PEOPLE NEED TO HAULT!!!
    HELP NOT HATE EACH OTHER!

    There is a much larger issue to ‘FOCUS’ as the ‘WORLD’ is in ‘DEEP’ CHAOS with COVID-19!!!

  3. You’re sick in the head

  4. I do not stand by her statements and her need to apologize is quite necessary. I also do not believe her apology was sincere and it is being driven more from accounting than anything else. However I also believe the sanctimonious self righteous nature of the local cancel culture does not seek to address any underlying issues but merely just be punitive to those that have been judged to have cause grievance. Eye for an Eye..I wont finish that because a frequent poster here hates the man who is most famous for that saying.

  5. Read and re read Naila’s post and yet to see reference to race. Is it assumed all PNM supporters are not Indian or Syrian or Chinese? Young, Sinanan, Imbert etc are what? And whilst calling names don’t forget to call names like Jennifer Braithwaite Cudjoe, Keiwin Lewis, Ann Arrindell, Daniel Popplewell, Latiffa Nedd et al. There is a serious divide in this country and the solution to fixing it lies with two sides because the problem resides within two sides.

    • Lasana Liburd

      So do you think she was wrong to apologise then? Naila’s own words were: “…I am truly apologetic and have learnt the impact my words have had…”
      You would have advised her to stand by her comments then?

      • I do not stand by her statements and her need to apologize is quite necessary. I also do not believe her apology was sincere and it is being driven more from accounting than anything else. However I also believe the sanctimonious self righteous nature of the local cancel culture does not seek to address any underlying issues but merely just be punitive to those that have been judged to have cause grievance. Eye for an Eye..I wont finish that because a frequent poster here hates the man who is most famous for that saying.

      • Too late for tears Naila. Learn that you cannot take back the spoken/written word.

    • I guess you could argue that she was only being anti-pnm and not anti-black if you were blind to all the clear racism that took place both during and before elections.

      However that is entirely your choice and perspective.

      As many BLANK men and BLANK women have been called roaches in their lifetime however I can’t say that calling her statements racist is a “reach” in any manner or form.

      “There is a serious divide in this country and the solution to fixing it lies with two sides because the problem resides within two sides.”

      Part of this divide is the inability to recognise when one party is being racist.

      • Note her apology was for her words. She spoke what was in her heart. Her words defiled her. True acceptance of another persons’ race comes from the heart , not their words.

      • the term “roaches” only apply to Cubans as a racial slur not black ppl… middle class and rich black ppl in Trinidad is privileged (according to black ppl in America)..

        her comments wasn’t racist, she was however talking down to poor class of ppl which was messed up…

        • The term “Inyenzi” is used against the Tutsi ethnic group in Africa. Inyenzi (LITERALLY means cockroach).

          While the slur roach/cockroach has been link to varieties of racial groups in America and else were.

          Honestly people see her statement as racist because PNM has large supporting of Afro-Trinbagonians.

        • Saying that the term roaches only apply to Cubans is…. I don’t think Cuban is a race?

          Okay heres the thing “Coolie” is a slur against Indo-Caribbeans in the Caribbean right?

          But North Americans used it to refer to Asian labours as well.

          So how can the slur roaches not be used racially against non-Cubans?

          I am genuinely confused rn.

          • so a few things, NO one in America calls Asian labours a “coolie” cause its considered hate speech now.. like calling someone a “coon”.. well except the guys who round around the in the woods with the white pointed hoods..

            “Coolie”= a person that lacks avg intelligence or any skills and is only suitable for carrying around heavy objects, also lacks proper hygiene and is illiterate..

            “Nigger”= a lazy, laid back person that also lacks avg intelligence, is also illiterate..

            “cockroach”=Someone who can also be referred to as trash, or is ugly, annoying, usually looks, and smells like poorly associated with Hispanics who are up to criminal activity.. is also illiterate..

            have you ever watched the movie Scarface?? that!

            from my point of view UNC isn’t an Indian party, its really mixed (now).. the party was originally formed to represent the then sugarcane workers which just happened to be mostly Indian.. as for PNM being mostly black, well idk about that cause many big businesses do support them and ppl that aren’t black LIKE THE OWNER OF RAMSARAN.. bet you didn’t know that he is a huge PNM supporter..

            he did dump alot of money into PNM campaigning…

            Carib is PNM but odd thing is that most of their workers is UNC..

            Bermudez (also Kiss and Massy) is PNM but most of their workers is UNC..

            Solo (also Charles and Holiday) is PNM but most of their workers is UNC..

            SM Jaleel (you may know them better as chubby or Busta) is PNM but most of their workers is UNC..

            • LIES…. “coolie” is a sub-caste (Untouchable) in Hinduism and that group came to trinidad during indentureship. In india TO THIS DAY there are hindu untouchables classified as “coolies” by hindus.”Kaloo” is also hindu classification for a certain untouchable sub-castein india simultaneously used as an insult …it is a common surname in trinidad. “coolie” and “kaloo” are offensive to indians who want to escape their caste status, without criticizing the source. The british learned these words from upper-caste hindus in india. “coolie” never had the same weight as “nigger”….nigger refers to sub-humanity of african people as a race. “coolie”, like “kaloo”, is a dirty secret reference to caste origins that indias want to sweep under the rug!It is dishonest to demonize a term referring to the caste origin of indentured indians , without criticizing the varna/caste system and the religion that birthed and upholds it.
              I’ll bet nobody crues racism when called ‘brahmin’ !

              • Dear Truth=Justice=Freedom,

                The widespread harsh and repulsive caste system in India of the past few centuries is largely a modern phenomenon. In the Hindu kingdoms that preceded the Mughal invasion, a subject was born into a caste, but ideally, the profession was determined by the person’s abilities and intelligence. The powerful, much-lauded teacher and advisor to the 3rd Century Maura empire, the Brahmin Chanakya wrote to the effect that whoever had the attributes of a particular profession should be trained in it, and expressly said those who could be brahmins should be trained as a brahmin, no matter the caste of their birth. You could be born into a brahmin family and become an untouchable based on your lifestyle. Furthermore, the Uddhava Gita advises brahmins to take up agricultural or merchant work to avoid living in poverty. There was no “caste pollution” to any work, as there is today.

                Was there discrimination? I’m sure there was. Rich people have always looked down on the poor, and people who work with their hands. Look at the world today.

                The British, in the name of managing the empire, recorded and codified professions and attached a rigid and complex subdivision of castes to them, which did not exist in the centuries prior. They also introduced castes for their Muslim subjects.

                Of course, in India, many people have since found it lucrative to enforce the British-created elements of the caste system and they maintain it today, to their shame.

                The unhappy word “coolie” is derived from Telugu and Urdu “kuli” meaning labourer or slave.

                All castes came to Trinidad in large numbers. The British had stopped production of food crops to grow indigo, which had create famine and unrest. Furthermore, India’s First War of Independence had started in 1857, and many had to flee British retaliation, which had included killing men, and going back and hanging their wives. The idea that Indians lived happily under the British until Gandhi encouraged them to be fed up with it is whitewashed history. Indians largely hated the foreign power and there were countless local uprisings and plots against the British throughout their rule.

                • Thanks for the feedback sanjay! Firstly, don’t you mean brahman-ist(“hindu”) caste/varna system and not indian system? Because it comes from the religious texts and not the soil/geography..right?
                  Also..did you say the the varna system is a’modern’ phenomenon? By modern you mean 3,000 years?So why is the guy in the lecture below saying otherwise? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRmkJh4P4bg
                  Oh, and how is it that thus far, every one of the elected leaders of unc are supposedly upper-caste/upper-varna?
                  e.g
                  Bhadase Maharaj Brahmin
                  Capildeo Brahmin
                  Panday Brahmin
                  Kamla Brahmin
                  seems like a pattern no?Coincidence?

                  • Dear Bratan,

                    The varna system is mentioned in the religious texts and is to be applied to people given their individual abilities, natures and skills, not by the colour of their skin or any other factor. I have no doubt that it has been improperly used in the past to repress others as the unfortunate Dalits are oppressed today.

                    My point is that this present-day highly extremist version was engendered by the British, who exploited and worsened it to divide-and-rule down to the communal level. They invented many subcastes to create further hierarchies of people and professions.

                    A former Indian High Commission representative once said that Hindus in Trinidad live an India of 200 years ago, roughly about the time our ancestors left. He was being complimentary, meaning that we were less rigid about caste, like India 2 centuries ago, compared to India today.

                    To my understanding, Bhadase Maharaj became head of the Maha Sabha because his hard-boiled, brash attitude impressed the other members above any other leadership rivals. Remember the Maha Sabha, among others, were formed to defend Hindu culture against attacks by the various churches. It makes a kind of sense that people would want a tough man to lead and defend them. More pundit-like, diplomatic persons were rejected.

                    Panday was a trade unionist with obvious charisma who formed the UNC; it was obvious that he would head it. Persad-Bissessar got the nod afterwards because she was the most likable alternative. People I spoke to even before the election result were hopeful that
                    Khadijah Ameen will one day lead the UNC.

                    • Hi again Sanjay!
                      So…you’re saying that brahman-ists (“Hindus”) in T&T don’t follow the same texts as in india? That’s strange…did they re-write new texts for T&T, and all the different countries they migrated to during indentureship and after? WOW!… i had no idea…there must be hundreds of different texts.But sanjay, why do indian nationals, INSIST that the indentureship system ONLY utilized UNTOUCHABLE labour (“coolies”, “Kaloos” etc) and that the puja ceremonies gods worshipped, and invented surnames are proof of this fact? Comedian Darrel Dookoo, in the video below admits this (5:34)
                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bZZtyIUC5U
                      Darrel then explains further, that his grandmother “lied to the whiteman” about her last name (true varna/caste/race origin), and that it was originally ‘mycoo’…also darrel elaborates further, that his grandmother said her varna/caste origin and lineage,was tasked solely with latrine building, and that she lied about her name, to escape her varna/caste dharma. Latrine building is the exclusive domain of untouchability. The word “varna”(caste) means colour, and refers to one’s race designated by colour in brahman-ism (“Hinduism”)

                      Have a look:
                      https://scholar.harvard.edu/surajyengde/publications/how-racism-and-casteism-feed-each-other-india

                      I await your scholarly insight.

              • I am a Trinbagonian American and I am going to change my last name to Coolie because in Trinidad and Tobago and the USA “it does not matter” lol . The Indian government to this day is trying to abolish the caste system but in some areas in India it is hard since it is interwoven in some areas. a classmate of mine in college (he is from gudjrat, India) came to me furious and said The indian government is giving classroom seats to low caste high achievers. When I said that this is a good thing he was confused about my “trini” response and try as he may could not convince me otherwise.
                My dear trinidadians and tobagonians, Dr. Eric Williams vision for our beloved Islands is the same that I have. You know what he was the first PM and it does not matter if he was PNM, UNC, PEP, DNC, et al . He built schools throughout Trinidad and Tobago. I know I went to some of dem and I learned among the various.
                ethnicity.

                At the end of de day Rowley Good, Kamla good. Obama good, Trump good Biden good
                You all stay safe. Much love. We fighting with COVID19 here in Florida too and it not easy.

    • She calls PNM voters cockroaches, loafers and calls for putting contraceptives in their water (genocide?) because all they know how to do is to have sex and populate & vote. This is some serious toxic stuff coming from this person, a person whose family is probably living quite well no matter who is in power, the patriarch of that family who founded the company was a PNM member of parliament. Now that the products are coming OFF the shelves and you losing money NOW you realize that freedom of speech isn’t a one way street, you can speak but others can also speak, and based on your statements they can choose to buy from you or not. No business in this country can survive on only indian customers and even if it were so don’t think for a millisecond that they would give up the afro trinbagonian dollars. Is she really sorry or is she only sorry her family losing money that is the question. The boycott will humble them, all you living good, your fridge full of food, you travelling, all you have cars, money, jewelry, you children going good, what you really have to complain about regardless of who in power, check all you self please.
      What you really want Prime Minister Rowley to do, you want him to buy shoes for you, or maybe get you a new Nissan, or maybe he must come and cut your grass at your house, the job of a leader is to provide the infrastructure, utilities and the education and healthcare so YOU can do the rest that is necessary for you and your family to prosper. Those of you living in New York and London etc. you don’t expect Trump to come and paint your apartments, or to wax your car, you know is work you have to work for that. How people who middle class and above could complain so, not even the vagrants in the car park making a scene and they would have plenty reason to do it because look at their condition.

      • no i’ll take money from my black Trinidadians and i show them the same respect as every other costumer, but this crap about calling ppl racist needs to stop… there is ppl that is toxic and is trying to divide our country, these group of ppl is well off so they don’t care if we end up like Venezuela..

        Rowley did win (i didn’t vote for him) so let us get on with trying to make it out of these hard times..

      • so she called PNM supporters cockroaches. If I called UNC supporters cockroaches, am I singling out a particular “race”. You know I hate the word “race” because is only one race on planet earth.
        De point I making is when I look at PNM today, it is a multi “race” party.
        When I look at UNC (former ULF) today. I see a multi “race” party.
        Now if Ms Naila Ramsaran meant only African PNM supporters then I would take it as racial but I am not a mind reader.

        When I look in TV and see people of different “races” representing both the PNM and UNC makes my hair raise and eye water with pride for my Islands.

        I did see a snapshot of Mrs Kamla saying “Blank man” and Mr. Rowley take it up and run with it during election campaigning saying she say “Black man”. but dat is politics at its best. i was laughing meh belly full. Again I can’t read Mrs Kamla’s mind.

        For one to insinuate dat PNM today is a one “race” party will be cited with error
        For one to insinuate dat UNC (former ULF) today is a one “race” party will be cited with error
        There was a report that a ballot was found in some bushes. I did not think for a second dat Dr. Rowley was involved and I dont think he is nor is Mrs Kamla. maybe at a lower level of either party politics or could be a setup…. who knows. again I is not ah mind reader.

        Stay safe everyone. It not easy in America too. Economy is taking a big hit from COVID 19 no matter who is at the helm.