• 24 Jun, 2024

Why no Indo-Trinidadian statue or monument at a roundabout or in Port of Spain?

Why no Indo-Trinidadian statue or monument at a roundabout or in Port of Spain?

Why no Indo-Trinidadian statue or monument at a roundabout or in Port of Spain?

We wish to congratulate the Yoruba Village Monument of Trinidad and Tobago for recently erecting a yet-to-be-named monument of a man and woman of African descent. Commissioned by the mainly- Government funded Emancipation Support Committee (ESC), the monument was unveiled during the 2022 Yoruba Village Drum Festival at the Yoruba Village Square in Port of Spain.

The monument once again demonstrates the marginalization of the Indo-Trinidadians in their own country who constitutes about half of the multi-racial population. No government fund, no directive of the National Trust or Ministry of Culture has found it fit to recognize any Indo-Trinidadian, their lifetime of work, or their journey across two oceans. No highway, no statue, no building, no nothing to mark our work. On the other hand, one particular group is constantly and nationally validated. That is institutional discrimination. 

Nothing for Dr. Rudranath Capildeo who sat in Marlborough House in England and brokered independence with Dr. Eric Williams. Nothing for V.S. Naipaul who won a Nobel Prize, the only Trinidadian to date. Nothing for Adrian Cola Rienzi (Kishna Deonarine) who founded the OWTU and the All Trinidad sugar trade unions. Nothing for writer Samuel Selvon, or playwright and actor Errol Sitahal.      Some of our folks don’t even know who are they. That is glaring unfairness and inequality. It must be remedied. 

Monuments are a testament of an individual's lifetime of achievement. They are installed in places of high visibility so that everyone marvels in wonder as they pass by even as it fades into the background. Trinidad has monuments, but many people do not notice them. 

There is Hyarima, the Amerindian chief and the bust of Kitchener in the Princess Royal Park, Arima.

In Waterloo, a privately-funded statue of Siewdass Sadhu, the man who built the Temple in the Sea. Debe has another privately-funded statue of Sundar Popo , the founder of the Chutney music genre. 

In Siparia, stands famed parang singer Daisy Voisin and Sir Ellis Knights, pan pioneer. Harris Promenade, San Fernando has the busts of Rodney Wilkes, Trinidad’s first Olympic medalist and Latin American revolutionary Simon Bolivar.    Statues of Pan-African philosopher Marcus Garvey and Indian pacifist Mahatma Gandhi also stand on the Promenade. Recently, the Indian High Commission erected another Gandhi statue in Cedros. 

Port of Spain has many monuments. Calypso monarchs Kitchener and Sparrow appear on the St James and St Anne's roundabout respectively. Cricket world champion Brian Lara stands on a promenade named in his honour. The roundabout on Independence Square has Capt. AA Cipriani, local independence leader. There is the Emancipation copper mask by the treasury. Lower down the Square features a broken Christopher Columbus monument and abstract art in honour of Winston Spree Simon, inventor of the steelpan.