How We Managed to Achieve Black Power and keep Comfortably squeezed in the White Colonial Noose

While a massive amount of comfort can be drawn from the display of our nation’s powerful projection as evidenced in the utterances and actions by President Paula-Mae Weeks and others at the recent opening of Parliament, something important was definitely missing.

Even as we were celebrating victory over white colonialism, I wish to respectfully proffer, one could still hear the loud echo of the white slave master’s whiplash on our backs emanating from the quivering voices of Keith Rowley, Khafra Kambon and even President Paula-Mae Weekes.

“I think it’s unfortunate that so long after Independence the efforts to break that psychological relationship, as though we are still somehow subjects, I think it’s unfortunate that we never completed that process. That’s where my concern is”, said Khafra Kambon, Director of Regional & Pan African Affairs at the Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago in a Loop News interview. 

“As we grapple with the ever-present ills of crime and criminality, racism, unemployment, environmental disaster and recently, in the public eye, child abuse, there is a desperate need for some assurance that things will get better, and people are entitled to demand more of their representatives,” the President said at the Opening of Parliament.

In a similar vein, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley – who had just jumped off a jet plane from Europe where he was selling future energy deals for T+T – unconsciously drew an analogy between the trade effort he had been leading and the worrisome problems of the economy and crime which greeted him on his return when he said:

“Government has closely monitored the state of the global energy market and deemed it necessary to take certain steps, including meeting with leaders of energy companies to negotiate current and future terms of engagement”.

Rowley, whose Energy Minister Stuart Young has been at his side throughout these delicate negotiations with the titans,  said there are concerns that unless investments are made – sooner rather than later – TT’s natural gas reserves would decline severely, causing a cascade effect on TT’s economy and the standard of living of people.

Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

He stressed that government is working (as it has done by defying history and emerging as a healthy democratic republic) “to reverse this trend through meetings and negotiations with international energy companies”.

So with all these positives on our side, why do we allow ourselves to be fettered by the chains of the white slave master as evidenced in the way we treat ourselves in crucial areas of life such as:

  • Our reluctance to place high value on pillars of non-material wealth such as Family, Education, Sophistication, Ethnic Harmony and international Excellence in Sport and Culture.
  • Our fear of taking the bull by the halls and showing who’s in charge as can be seen in the way we have been refusing to make the Caribbean Court of Appeal the supreme court of the region;
  • The continuous efforts by the Opposition to keep pulling down every noble effort made by the government to bring this blessed country in line with key players on the old stage and to ”shine bright like a  diamond “ (Rihanna of Barbados).

In this disturbing scenario where Negativity maintains its dark shadow over whatever positive achievements we record as a people of sophisticated style and culture, it begs the question:

How come?

That’s the culture which produced  the Mighty Sparrow who sang in reference to photographer Anthony Armstrong Jones’

 marriage to Princess Margaret:

I can’t understand

How a Princess

Can marry a cameraman

Or how Trinidad and Tobago made Angostura Bitters carry the Royal Seal of the British Monarchy for decades without hindrance.

The mystery will have to be located somewhere in that Magic which weaves  so sensuously and dangerously through our veins,

In the

  • Shout out of the Midnight Robber;
  • the crack of the whip of the Blue Devil on Carnival Monday morning midday sun;
  • The beat of the Iron in the Engine Room of a Steel Band;
  • The cutting edge moves of Tan Tan and Saga Boy on the cool Savannah Stage.

So that when all is said and done, we will have to consider that Sweet T+T will  be at her best only when the Bacchanal is at its highest pitch, and we – the Warriors of the Mas and the Mask – rise to the grandest occasion.

Until then, let’s keep doing like the late Andre’ Tanker and sing:

Sayamanda! Sayamanda! Sayamanda!

Ring De Bell!

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