Opposition UNC afraid to say the word “Indian” in and out of Parliament
The supporters of the Opposition United National Congress (UNC) in Trinidad and Tobago are overwhelming Indo-Trinidadians. But the UNC is afraid to mention the word “Indian” in and out of Parliament. In fact, it does everything in its power to distance itself from its Indo-Trinidadian identity including playing more calypso, soca and reggae than chutney or pichakaree at its rallies and meetings.
The UNC has taken upon itself the responsibility to champion the cause of Africans rather than its Indo-Trinidadian followers. In Parliament recently, a non-performing Afro-Trinidadian MP, Rodney Charles – who UNC leader Kamla Persad Bissessar gave a safe seat in Naparima – said: “Let me state it openly. The [ruling] PNM does not like Black people. They care about everybody else” (Newsday 25/4/22. p. 11).
Except for UNC dougla Senator Anil Roberts, would KPB or any of her weak MPs or Senators ever say: “Let me state it openly. The PNM does not like Indian people. They care about everybody else.” That and she as Prime Minister again, you would never see.
KPB, leader of the Opposition and the UNC turned 70 a few weeks. Having lead the party since 2010, she became Prime Minster that year and governed until 2015. Under her leadership, the UNC suffered 11 successive electoral losses. Many well-wishers are disheartened with the direction she has taken the party and believe it is time for her to bow out gracefully.
Politics in Trinidad and Tobago are decided along tribal lines. For 52 years the proudly Afro-centric Peoples National Movement (PNM) governed the island and provided the best for people that looked like them. Indo-Trinidadians controlled government for a mere ten years, and under the leadership of KPB, pandered evermore to the African majority.
Like Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill, KPB can’t say the word “Indian”. She is afraid. Neither in parliament nor in public can the Opposition champion the causes of their overwhelmingly Indian supporters. They never say “Indian”. Unlike Florida, Kamla basks in bleeding heart liberal causes, appointing transgendered and LGBTQ affiliates to the Senate. She champions an idealistically diverse party, while neglecting the base and the fact that Trinidadian politics is tribal.
The Opposition under KPB has neglected its supporters. The reluctance to say “Indian” are a pair of blind eyes to the discrimination Indo-Trinidadians suffer for employment in the armed and civil services; HDC Houses, the national university (UTT), State Boards and State Corporations and Agencies (Accreditation Council, Caribbean Airlines, NLCB, NGC, T&TEC, WASA, NALIS, etc.etc.).
The UNC Opposition under KPB has fallen so far practically and ideologically from the potential it had under leaders of past, such as Capildeo, Bhadase Sagan Maraj and Basdeo Panday. She has purged the party of stalwart members and replaced them with young, impressionable cronies. How and when will tangible hope for the Indo-Trinidadians return? Under whose leadership will the Opposition not be afraid to say “Indian”?
Read More Articles From Farah Ali
Please send your letters, articles, photos and short videos to this free online Indo-Caribbean paper: email@example.com