C'est Tout...


"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Last Night Google Told Me That My Friend Had Died.

Last night I sat in front of my computer screen and cried like a child. So ended weeks of concern about the silence of an online friend who has kept me company for a long while via my blog and his blog, "Hopscotch" but more so through our e-mail correspondence.

I knew nothing more about Louis Sellier apart from the facts that he was a fellow Trinidadian living in Seattle, Washington. He was from the same generation as my parents and had a similar background. Even though he no longer lived in T&T, he still cared enough to follow the news and to voice his concerns via his many letters which were published by the newspapers back home. He was a husband, a father, a retired person whose mind was more alert and curious than most, a gentle soul who found me through my blog and for some reason stayed close.

He never once asked me who I was. Unlike the people of the "flesh" and "show" who demand among other things that modest Muslim women remove their niqabs or that anonymous writers reveal their identities, Louis was secure and wise enough to be more interested in reading the more telling signals that identify the spirits of the persons with whom he interacted. I listened to his spirit as carefully as he did to mine and we were easy and contented with what our intuitions revealed.

In our e-mail correspondence, Louis and I discussed life, nature, politics, his travels, Trinidad and Tobago and finally in January this year he honoured me by sending me an e-mail to share with me the sad news of the death of his wife. Although we had never discussed his personal life, I felt his sadness as if Elena had been my life partner and I posted this memorial in response. It made me happy that he seemed to appreciate it very much. We continued to correspond but there was a very subtle difference in Louis. He had become quieter. I did not press him. I let him know that I understood that he would need time to come to terms with the death of his partner of forty-six years and the mother of his two children and I assured him that I was here for him whenever he needed to discuss anything that was on his mind.

On March 7 he wrote his last letter to me and he mentioned that his wanderlust was returning but that it was tempered by the awareness that it would not be as much fun to travel without the good companionship that his wife had provided in the past. I replied to that letter and suggested that he should maybe find a group with which he could travel. He never responded...I waited and told myself that I should not press him for a reply. Then I began to worry. It was not like him to remain silent. Weeks after, I again wrote him a gentle message, really worried about him but also just as worried about being too intrusive:

This was my last letter:

From: Guanaguanare the laughing gull
Date: Tue, Apr 12, 2011 at 5:47 PM
Subject: Just checking...
To: lmsell@******.net

Louis,
I know that you must be very focused on making transitions and I don't want to intrude but sometimes I really, really stop what I am doing to just wonder about you. I'm just writing to let you know that I think about you and hope that you are well. I hope that you are on a trip around the world or soaking up the sun on a beautiful beach in Moorea or working on a gorgeous bonsai garden but don't you dare fall ill or leave this world without telling me !!! Wishing you life and peace and renewal with the Spring.
Hugs and blessings,
Guanaguanare

Unknown to me, my dear friend had already left this world.

Last night, desperate for any news, it occurred to me to search for him with Google. I entered his name within quotes and found among the results, on another Trinidadian's blog, "Sweetlime" the shocking news that he had died on March 16 "as a result of a tragic accident suffered during a trip to visit friends in Arizona."

Without ceremony, Google told me that my friend had died. In shock, I rushed automatically to communicate this news to another blogger and good friend of Louis in Malaysia who had been sharing his concerns with me about Louis' silence and then I wrote a message to his daughter who had supplied her e-mail with the news about her father's death.

Later I returned to the location where I had first seen the news. I stared at the screen, reading the words over and over, finding that I was comprehending less and less with each reading until just the immensity of the loss was all that registered and I began to weep with a sadness that was made much more bitter by the knowledge that it was a month ago that I should have cried. How could he have left without my knowing?

I never met Louis in person to hug him or see his smile. I just knew that he was a good person and he treasured kindness more than gold. It was enough that we were kind to each other, that we listened to each other. It was more than some people who work together in the same space share. It was more than some people who think that they know each other experience.

Thinking back on his quietness after the death of his wife, I am wondering if Louis was waiting, waiting patiently for Elena to send for him. I'm wondering if on March 16, only a couple of months after her death, he was not at all sad but extremely relieved to finally be freed to leave this world to join her.

Louis Sellier, my friend, thank you for your life and your trust and your friendship. I miss you and everything good and true that you represented.

Elena and Louis
No es un adiós, es un hasta luego...





16 April 2011 | 22:56
I am beginning to find the offerings that others have made in memory of the life of Louis Michael Sellier and I will continue to collect the links below as I find them:

Condolences. Catholic News | March 27, 2011.

Thanks to Louis and Skye. By Ric Hernandez | Sweetlime | March 29, 2011

A Final Letter to A Dear Friend. By Covert_Operations78 | Combat Loaded & Mission Ready! | Saturday April 16, 2011.

The Demise of Louis Michael Sellier of Seattle... By Pak Idrus | Pak Idrus's Post... | Sunday April 17, 2011.

Louis. By Pat | The English Cottage | Monday, April 18, 2011

You may also wish to visit this site to share memories of Louis with others.

Here Was A Man! [Spoken word]

HERE WAS A MAN
Performed by Johnny Cash

Here was a man!

A man who was born in a small village, the son of a peasant woman. He grew up in another small village. Until He reached the age of thirty, He worked as a carpenter. Then for three years He was a traveling minister but He never traveled more than two hundred miles from where He was born, and where He did go, He usually walked.

He never held political office, He never wrote a book, He never bought a home, He never had a family, He never went to college and He never set foot inside a big city, but, yes, here was a man!

Though He never did the things that you'd usually associate with greatness, here was a man. He had no credentials but himself. He had nothing to do with this world except through the divine purpose that brought Him to this world.

And while He was still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. Most of His friends ran away, one of them denied Him, one of them betrayed Him and turned Him over to his enemies. Then He went through the mockery of a trial and He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. And even while He was dying, his executioners gambled for the only piece of property that He had in the world, and that was his robe. When He was dead, He was taken down from the cross and laid in a borrowed grave provided by compassionate friends.

More than nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the centerpiece of the human race - our leader in the column to human destiny. And I think I'm well within the mark when I say that all of the armies that ever marched, all of the navies that ever sailed the seas, all of the legislative bodies that ever sat and all of the kings that ever reigned, all of them put together have not affected the life of man on this earth so powerfully as that one solitary life.

Here was a man!
..............................................................................................................................
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Bolivia Backs Mother Earth's Rights At Home And At The United Nations

Now this is what I call good news and I am happy to report it and to salute the Plurinational State of Bolivia!

UN document would give 'Mother Earth' same rights as humans.
By Steven Edwards
Postmedia News| April 13, 2011

UNITED NATIONS — Bolivia will this month table a draft United Nations treaty giving "Mother Earth" the same rights as humans — having just passed a domestic law that does the same for bugs, trees and all other natural things in the South American country.

The bid aims to have the UN recognize the Earth as a living entity that humans have sought to "dominate and exploit" — to the point that the "well-being and existence of many beings" is now threatened.

The wording may yet evolve, but the general structure is meant to mirror Bolivia's Law of the Rights of Mother Earth, which Bolivian President Evo Morales enacted in January.

That document speaks of the country's natural resources as "blessings," and grants the Earth a series of specific rights that include rights to life, water and clean air; the right to repair livelihoods affected by human activities; and the right to be free from pollution.

It also establishes a Ministry of Mother Earth, and provides the planet with an ombudsman whose job is to hear nature's complaints as voiced by activist and other groups, including the state.

"If you want to have balance, and you think that the only (entities) who have rights are humans or companies, then how can you reach balance?" Pablo Salon, Bolivia's ambassador to the UN, told Postmedia News. "But if you recognize that nature too has rights, and (if you provide) legal forms to protect and preserve those rights, then you can achieve balance."

The application of the law appears destined to pose new challenges for companies operating in the country, which is rich in natural resources, including natural gas and lithium, but remains one of the poorest in Latin America.

But while Salon said his country just seeks to achieve "harmony" with nature, he signalled that mining and other companies may come under greater scrutiny.

"We're not saying, for example, you cannot eat meat because you know you are going to go against the rights of a cow," he said. "But when human activity develops at a certain scale that you (cause to) disappear a species, then you are really altering the vital cycles of nature or of Mother Earth. Of course, you need a mine to extract iron or zinc, but there are limits."

Bolivia is a country with a large indigenous population, whose traditional belief systems took on greater resonance following the election of Morales, Latin America's first indigenous president.

In a 2008 pamphlet his entourage distributed at the UN as he attended a summit there, 10 "commandments" are set out as Bolivia's plan to "save the planet" — beginning with the need "to end capitalism."

Reflecting indigenous traditional beliefs, the proposed global treaty says humans have caused "severe destruction . . . that is offensive to the many faiths, wisdom traditions and indigenous cultures for whom Mother Earth is sacred."

It also says that "Mother Earth has the right to exist, to persist and to continue the vital cycles, structures, functions and processes that sustain all human beings."

In indigenous Andean culture, the Earth deity known as Pachamama is the centre of all life, and humans are considered equal to all other entities.

The UN debate begins two days before the UN's recognition April 22 of the second International Mother Earth Day — another Morales-led initiative.

Canadian activist Maude Barlow is among global environmentalists backing the drive with a book the group will launch in New York during the UN debate: Nature Has Rights.

"It's going to have huge resonance around the world," Barlow said of the campaign. "It's going to start first with these southern countries trying to protect their land and their people from exploitation, but I think it will be grabbed onto by communities in our countries, for example, fighting the tarsands in Alberta."

Ecuador, which also has a large indigenous population, has enshrined similar aims in its Constitution — but the Bolivian law is said to be "stronger."

Ecuador is among countries that have already been supportive of the Bolivian initiative, along with Nicaragua, Venezuela, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda.
© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth
Mother Earth: Harmony With Nature | April 27, 2010

Working Group 3: Rights of Mother Earth

Proposal

UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MOTHER EARTH

Preamble

We, the peoples and nations of Earth:

considering that we are all part of Mother Earth, an indivisible, living community of interrelated and interdependent beings with a common destiny;

gratefully acknowledging that Mother Earth is the source of life, nourishment and learning and provides everything we need to live well;recognizing that the capitalist system and all forms of depredation, exploitation, abuse and contamination have caused great destruction, degradation and disruption of Mother Earth, putting life as we know it today at risk through phenomena such as climate change;

convinced that in an interdependent living community it is not possible to recognize the rights of only human beings without causing an imbalance within Mother Earth;

affirming that to guarantee human rights it is necessary to recognize and defend the rights of Mother Earth and all beings in her and that there are existing cultures, practices and laws that do so;

conscious of the urgency of taking decisive, collective action to transform structures and systems that cause climate change and other threats to Mother Earth;

proclaim this Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and call on the General Assembly of the United Nation to adopt it, as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations of the world, and to the end that every individual and institution takes responsibility for promoting through teaching, education, and consciousness raising, respect for the rights recognized in this Declaration and ensure through prompt and progressive measures and mechanisms, national and international, their universal and effective recognition and observance among all peoples and States in the world.

Article 1. Mother Earth


1. Mother Earth is a living being.

2. Mother Earth is a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings.

3. Each being is defined by its relationships as an integral part of Mother Earth.

4. The inherent rights of Mother Earth are inalienable in that they arise from the same source as existence.

5. Mother Earth and all beings are entitled to all the inherent rights recognized in this Declaration without distinction of any kind, such as may be made between organic and inorganic beings, species, origin, use to human beings, or any other status.

6. Just as human beings have human rights, all other beings also have rights which are specific to their species or kind and appropriate for their role and function within the communities within which they exist.

7. The rights of each being are limited by the rights of other beings and any conflict between their rights must be resolved in a way that maintains the integrity, balance and health of Mother Earth.

Article 2. Inherent Rights of Mother Earth

1. Mother Earth and all beings of which she is composed have the following inherent rights:

a) the right to life and to exist;

b) the right to be respected;

c) the right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue its vital cycles and processes free from human disruptions;

d) the right to maintain its identity and integrity as a distinct, self-regulating and interrelated being;

e) the right to water as a source of life;

f) the right to clean air;

g) the right to integral health;

h) the right to be free from contamination, pollution and toxic or radioactive waste;

i) the right to not have its genetic structure modified or disrupted in a manner that threatens it integrity or vital and healthy functioning;

j) the right to full and prompt restoration the violation of the rights recognized in this Declaration caused by human activities;

2. Each being has the right to a place and to play its role in Mother Earth for her harmonious functioning.

3. Every being has the right to wellbeing and to live free from torture or cruel treatment by human beings.

Article 3. Obligations of human beings to Mother Earth


1. Every human being is responsible for respecting and living in harmony with Mother Earth.

2. Human beings, all States, and all public and private institutions must:

a) act in accordance with the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration;

b) recognize and promote the full implementation and enforcement of the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration;

c) promote and participate in learning, analysis, interpretation and communication about how to live in harmony with Mother Earth in accordance with this Declaration;

d) ensure that the pursuit of human wellbeing contributes to the wellbeing of Mother Earth, now and in the future;

e) establish and apply effective norms and laws for the defence, protection and conservation of the rights of Mother Earth;

f) respect, protect, conserve and where necessary, restore the integrity, of the vital ecological cycles, processes and balances of Mother Earth;

g) guarantee that the damages caused by human violations of the inherent rights recognized in this Declaration are rectified and that those responsible are held accountable for restoring the integrity and health of Mother Earth;

h) empower human beings and institutions to defend the rights of Mother Earth and of all beings;

i) establish precautionary and restrictive measures to prevent human activities from causing species extinction, the destruction of ecosystems or the disruption of ecological cycles;

j) guarantee peace and eliminate nuclear, chemical and biological weapons;

k) promote and support practices of respect for Mother Earth and all beings, in accordance with their own cultures, traditions and customs;

l) promote economic systems that are in harmony with Mother Earth and in accordance with the rights recognized in this Declaration.

Article 4. Definitions

1. The term “being” includes ecosystems, natural communities, species and all other natural entities which exist as part of Mother Earth.

2. Nothing in this Declaration restricts the recognition of other inherent rights of all beings or specified beings.
SEE TEXT IN SPANISH OF THE DOMESTIC LAW - "LEY DE DERECHOS DE LA MADRE TIERRA"
..............................................................................................................................
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Tomorrow [Song]


Uploaded by foreignmovies

TOMORROW
By Maestro

[La la la la la la-la] People! [La la la la la la-la]

This was once a peaceful place, every race now talking race
[Crazy] Hey! [Everybody crazy]
Smart men preaching salvation, children seek revolution
[Crazy] Hey! [Everybody crazy]
People kicks with politics, addicts kicks with narcotics
[Crazy] Hey![Everybody crazy]

Today trouble we sow will grow and only bring more sorrow tomorrow.
Today trouble we sow will grow and only bring more sorrow tomorrow.

[La la la la la la-la] People! [La la la la la la-la]

Price of everything sky high, people in charge can't say why
[Crazy] Hey! [Everybody crazy]
Starvation and inflation, political malfunction
[Crazy] Hey! [Everybody crazy]
Massas doing what they like, workers daily talking strike
[Crazy] Hey! [Everybody crazy]

Today trouble we sow will grow and only bring more sorrow tomorrow.
Today trouble we sow will grow and only bring more sorrow tomorrow.

[La la la la la la-la] People! [La la la la la la-la]

Unschooled children meek and mild, educated vile and wild
[Crazy] Hey! [Everybody crazy]
Vehicular commotion, commercialised pollution
[Crazy] Hey! [Everybody crazy]
Old blokes saying rearrange, young folks say they want a change
[Crazy] Hey! [Everybody crazy]

Today trouble we sow will grow and only bring more sorrow tomorrow.
Today trouble we sow will grow and only bring more sorrow tomorrow.

[La la la la la la-la] People! [La la la la la la-la]

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance!
..............................................................................................................................
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Old Time Calypso [Instrumental]


Uploaded by jeromeeusebius

OLD TIME CALYPSO
By Island Crew
..............................................................................................................................
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Don't Ever Let Go [Song]


Uploaded by cool4rocknroll

DON'T EVER LET GO

Arranged by Emanuel Ector
Album: Fire | Crazy Records | T&T 1986

Let your mind be free, lift your head up high
Let it all hang out, don't live in the past
But do the things that you really wanted to do for so long
And was afraid, and was afraid.

Don't close out the world, be a part of things
Let your voice be heard, get your best shot in
And fight like hell for your rights, stand up for what you believe
And have no fear, and have no fear.

Now, there is no guarantee this may work each time
--------- is a everyday word
Now listen here now
Whatever happens, don't ever let go
Whatever happens, don't ever let go
Ey-ey ey-ey ey-ey, ey-ey ey-ey ey-ey

Demand your respect, don't fold up inside
Give and you will get, bring along your pride
And know for sure what you want and how far you'd like to go
And look ahead, and look ahead.

Love will take you far no matter who you are
The choice is yours to make, be true and don't be fake
And find a good thing that works and let the time do the rest
Don't hesitate, don't hesitate.

Now if you do realise just how hard it is
To try and please everyone
Now listen here now
Whatever happens, don't ever let go
Whatever happens, don't ever let go
Whatever happens, don't ever let go
Whatever happens, don't ever let go

[Whatever happens, don't ever let go
Whatever happens, don't ever let go
Whatever happens, don't ever let go
Whatever happens, don't ever let go....]

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance!
..............................................................................................................................
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Look On The Bright Side [Song]


Uploaded by jacelynleischner70

LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
By Black Stalin

Times may be rough, life may be tough
But we must keep going.
We feeling the pain, yes, we keep holding strain
But we must keep fighting.
Regardless of how it come, we just can't surrender
We got to keep working towards a better future
We may never be always down
And fighting to stay off the ground
We must remember our day will come.

Chorus:
While we appreciate the little life got to give
Regardless what's the hurt, we must think positive
Look on the brighter side, look on the brighter side
Because I see a silver lining behind this grey cloud whey passing
Look on the bright side, look on the bright side
For the bright side is where we going. Oh!

With a heavy load, yes, we going down the road,
But we must keep going.
Like if we commit a crime and we keep serving time,
But we must keep fighting.
Remember they say that nothing lasts forever
One day is for the slave, one day for the master
So always keep your courage up
Don't allow confidence to drop
One day we'll be right there on top.

Chorus:
While we appreciate the little life got to give
Regardless what's the hurt, we must think positive
Look on the brighter side, look on the brighter side
Because I see a silver lining behind this grey cloud whey passing
Look on the bright side, look on the bright side
For the bright side is where we going. Oh!

The journey may be long and you keep falling down
But you must keep standing.
It keep getting hot, like the pressure won't stop
But we must keep going.
Everybody in life does have they lil setbacks
But we just can't say, "That's that," sit down and relax
Don't care what we go through today
Surrender, we must never say
Where there is a will, there is a way.

Chorus:
While we appreciate the little life got to give
Regardless what's the hurt, we must think positive
Look on the brighter side, look on the brighter side
Because I see a silver lining behind this grey cloud whey passing
Look on the bright side, look on the bright side
For the bright side is where we going.

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance!
..............................................................................................................................
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Carnival Celebration [Song]


Uploaded by harrison martin

CARNIVAL CELEBRATION
By Small Island Pride

Chorus:
Ah Mastife, Mastife, meet me down by the Croisee
Cutouter, Cutouter, meet me down by Green Corner.

Well, I waiting for this Carnival,
Is to jump up with these criminals
I'm going to arm myself with a big stick
Any man in town I meet, that is real licks
'Cause I done tell Mammy already
"Mammy, doudou, tie up your belly.
'Cause is murder, federation, with war and rebellion
When they bar me by the junction."

I gone down...

Chorus:
Mastife, Mastife, meet me down by the Croisee
And Cutouter, Cutouter, meet me down by Green Corner.

Monday morning, I waking early
Two drink ah Vat to steam up mih body
And I jumping up like ah crazy
I alone goin' collapse the city!
With my razor tie on to mih poui
I like a Bajan in the 18th century
And with my stick in my waist, I chip -------- space
Is to spit in ole ------ face.

And I gone down...

Chorus:
Mastife, Mastife, meet me down by the Croisee
Cutouter, Cutouter, meet me down by Green Corner.

Well, to show you I in for trouble,
On mih right hand is mih steel knuckle
My chooker in mih left pocket,
Boys, mih poyah under mih jacket
And I jumping up like if I wild,
I know they bound to say that is old-style
But they could beat me like a child,
I taking licks with a smile
And I pelting bois like I wild.

And...

Chorus:
Mastife, Mastife, meet me down by the Croisee
And Cutouter, Cutouter, meet me down by Green Corner.

Well, as man I consult mih doctor
To check mih lungs and mih liver
I done pay off mih lawyer
So he could pay off mih undertaker
And as I have no mother nor father,
They could post me back to Grenada
'Cause I tell Mr Chance, I done pay in advance
To bury me down in Grand Anse.

Let they come wit dey...

Chorus:
Mastife, Mastife, meet them down by the Croisee
And Cutouter, Cutouter, meet me down by Green Corner
Ah, Mastife, Mastife, meet me down by the Croisee
And Cutouter, Cutouter, meet me down by Green Corner.

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance!
..............................................................................................................................
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Forward Home [Song]


FORWARD HOME
By Andre Tanker (1941-2003)

I went away looking for another home
I try to run away, run way from my destiny
In another world, a world that was strange to me
I try to change myself, change my identity
But strong is the power of love, the power of freedom
The power black music fills my heart yeah
I forward to stay.

Chorus:
I went away, I leave and I forward home
I forward to stay, I must see mih way.
I went away, I leave and I forward home
I forward to stay, I must see mih way.

I went away through clouds and through falling mist
Multinational galaxies floating on inflated bliss
Through timeless loops, distortions and harmonies
And people like octo melodies, some with double agent strategies
And strong is the power of love, the power of freedom
The power black music fills my heart, yeah, yeah
I forward to stay.

Chorus:
I went away, I leave and I forward home
I forward to stay, I must see mih way.
I went away, I leave and I forward home
I forward to stay, I must see mih way.

[I went away] Yes, I pack my bundle
[I went away] Forward in the concrete jungle
[I went away] Was so cold!
[I went away] Early in the morning, no one to hold your hand
No one to understand. Yeah, yeah
When the blues gets you down
When the blues gets you down, down, down.

I had to forward home [Forward home]
Yes, I forward home [Forward home]
Yes, I forward home [Forward home]
And when I clear the airport and I make the highway
And I heard the sound of drums coming from the hills
I follow the sound of drums, I went into a yard
A lady told me, she say, "Son."
Point me to the four corners of the universe
And she rubbed my head with oil
And I knelt down and give thanks now.

Aye ayure, ayana o le le, aye ayure, ayana o le le
[Aye ayure, ayana o le le, aye ayure, ayana o le le]
Aye ayure, ayana o le le, aye ayure, ayana o le le

Chorus:
I went away, I leave and I forward home
I forward to stay, I must see mih way.
I went away, I leave and I forward home
I forward to stay, I must see mih way.

[Forward home, forward home]
[Forward home, forward home]

[Strong is the power of love, strong is the power of love]
[Strong is the power of love, strong is the power of love]

[Forward home, forward home]
[Forward home, forward home]

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance!
..............................................................................................................................
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Setting My Spirit Free

If you are missing something that you once read on this site, it should be cached elsewhere on the Internet. From now on this site will only be about music and songs and lyrics. This reflects my decision to shed some of the preoccupations which have been binding me. I no longer want to be burdened by a need to be vigilant on behalf of those who can and should be doing that work. The information is all there. If we want to be informed, we will be. If we want to solve our problems, we will. If we have problems that linger, they do so because we have no intention of solving them or we intend to do so at some later point in time or we are in the process of solving them. I leave my beloved country in the capable hands of those who live there.
.............................................................................................................................
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Alternative Opinions Re Nizam Mohammed.

I am beginning to look for the opinions of those who had alternative views about Nizam Mohammed's statements and what resulted. If you know of any others, please direct me to them.

Hopeful longing for an equal place.
By Anand Beharrylal
Trinidad Express Newspapers | Apr 6, 2011 at 12:36 AM ECT

The President's decision to revoke Nizam Mohammed's appointment as Police Service Commission chairman, whilst pleasing to some, will neither end the long overdue debate of racial imbalance in the police nor reassure the peoples of Trinidad and Tobago that equality is a right they are entitled to in 2011.

The decision of Nizam not to resign was the right one. No public official should resign if they speak the facts on an important issue within their remit. On the other hand, the decision of the President, whatever his reasons, sends a negative signal to the Indo-Trini members of the community who seek equality in T&T and are prepared to speak out about it.

The preamble to the Constitution states: "Whereas the people of Trinidad and Tobago … (c) have asserted their belief in a democratic society in which all persons may, to the extent of their capacity, play some part in the institutions of the national life and thus develop and maintain due respect for lawfully constituted authority''.

These profound words in the supreme law, that transcend moments in time, inform the way in which the public services should be constituted to ensure all persons in T&T (and yes, this does include Indo-Trinis) play a part in their operation to ensure due respect for those public services as lawfully constituted authority. Unfortunately, these words are honoured more in the breach than the observance.

The racial imbalances in the police service are matters of public importance especially where promotions are concerned, since Indo-Trinis seem to falter at the interview stage where there is an apparent absence of Indo-Trinis on the interview panel.

In England, one of the common problems encountered from the 1960s to the 1980s was that, in the public services, women and black applicants (a term referring to both African and Indian peoples) would often falter at the promotion interview stage, despite being otherwise qualified and articulate.

When the question "Why?" was asked, the answer was simply that they were outperformed in the interview by their white male counterparts, coincidentally before an all-white male panel. That there was discrimination could not be doubted. In time, changes included anti-discrimination legislation, independent monitoring, formal procedures for review with reasons for rejection, feedback on performance and ultimately members of both sexes and ethnic minorities on the interview panel.

Before these changes occurred, however, the white-dominated public services maintained their decisions were not motivated by discriminatory considerations, but were rather based on interview performance and suitability for the job.

The public services also maintained they were in favour of more women and blacks in principle. The trouble with this, even if true, is that it did little to reassure women and blacks there would ever be equality. This gave rise to the justifiable perception that in the public services there was a policy of equality in principle, but not in practice.

Even today, despite much progress, England cannot boast that it has eliminated discrimination.

In T&T, Nizam never argued that there should be substitution for one race over another in the police. The issue he raised was only about equality of treatment for Indo-Trinis when it comes to reaching the highest echelons of the police service, which incidentally is guaranteed by Section 4(d) of the Constitution.

This is not a criticism of the many hard-working Afro-Trini police doing their job. No one should hesitate to call the police in T&T if they are a victim of crime, whatever their ethnicity. Nor should it be misunderstood that the promotion panel should be all Indian.

What was and is being sought is that the two majority ethnic groups in T&T have equal representation in the main institution that wields the law enforcement powers of the state at the highest levels. Surely no one can argue that the Indo-Trinis are incapable of discharging these functions just as well as their Afro-Trini counterparts.

Indeed fellow commissioners Parker and George, at their press conference yesterday, are reported to have discussed the issue in February. They are also reported to have acknowledged that the issue of racial imbalance within the ranks of the police is an issue that must be dealt with, but just not now.

It is regrettable this acknowledgement was not publicly ventilated before the President's decision, but at least no one can say the commission is unaware of the issue; or worse yet only Indo-Trinis are aware of the issue.

One cannot help but wonder what time scale or who the commissioners have in mind to address the issue. But what is clear is that putting it off to some unknown time in the future is a denial of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution that all peoples of T&T have, which cannot be right when we know there is inequality.

Be that as it may we still have the national anthem with that enlightened line "every creed and race find an equal place''. Perhaps all Indo-Trinis are expected to do is keep singing it in the hope that one day, as with all wishes, it might come true.

• Anand Beharrylal is a lawyer

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Can we forgive Nizam Mohammed?
Trinidad Express Newspapers | Apr 5, 2011 at 1:34 AM ECT

The understandable national uproar arising out of statements about an ethnic imbalance in the police service by Police Service Commission chairman Nizam Mohammed, may have opened a fantastic opportunity for us to leap forward as a people.

For amid the knee-jerk and gut reactions of indignation, rage and calls for his immediate removal, there may be many who quietly agree with Mr Mohammed. And herein lies the chance to really unearth and start dealing with a most exciting challenge in our young nation's history.

The situation assumes an entirely different complexion if we consider that, at the heart of the matter, Mr Mohammed's overtly expressed desire for a balancing act with numbers as a means of achieving the notion of equality, might really have been a covert cry for help.

A perceptive observer may discern that within the authoritative shout demanding equality for the group was a small, humble voice politely asking for a large, warm embrace of the same group from the whole in terms of acceptance, inclusion and true arrival.

Could it be that despite their great strides forward as a group in areas of academics, business, economic stature and (now) politics, could it be that our brothers and sisters of East Indian descent still do not feel a sense of acceptance and belonging by the larger society?

Having been generously vaulted into a position of leadership and full responsibility — blessed by the vote of all the ethnic groups — is it possible that Nizam Mohammed is expressing discomfort in the castle of the true "Trini" skin that he is now challenged to naturally wear?

And if this is so, to what extent are many of his "partners" feeling the same discomfort as suggested by early outbursts of agreement by MPs Sharma and Ramadhar?

On reflection, we may have been fooling ourselves to expect a quantum leap in the socialisation process by a group that has traditionally built itself behind a wall of religious exclusiveness, suspicion and fear and consciously distanced human relations management of the other major ethnic group.

Our challenge as a people now would be to take the high road and find strength and resolve in the "Trini" way of being: that fantastically complex and often confusing reality of our sense of collective sense which is also actually the original DNA of a significant number of us.

For example, it would have been this personal "Trini" reality that powered MP Anil Roberts to respond to the Nizam Mohammed situation as he did at a recent press briefing.

So in that context, let us pause and consider using Mr Mohammed's remarks as a wake-up call to summon the confident forces of our true "Trini" wisdom to patiently help the "Nizamites" — and to help us all — to shoot further upward as we evolve into the great, special "Trini" nation we truly can be.

Rudolph Williams
St James
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Nizam Had A Point.
By Lisa Allen-Agostini
Lisa Allen-Agostini | April 5th, 2011

The past couple of weeks have seen the pillorying of Nizam Mohammed, erstwhile chair of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Commission, culminating in the revocation of his appointment by our nation’s President George Maxwell Richards. Mr Mohammed was effectively fired for saying there were too many black people in the high echelons of the Police Service; he made the statement before a parliamentary Joint Select Committee on March 25, 2011 (this Trinidad Express editorial nicely sums up the whole case and its upshot).

The outcry following Mohammed’s statement about the imbalance was loud and ugly. He was called a racist, even though as he himself reminded the public he had been on the side of Black Power insurgents and long supported racial equality. Now the hue and cry has drowned out his protestations of unbiasedness. There are many factors at play–Mohammed made an ill-advised move earlier in his appointment in a confrontation with two police officers and lost a lot of credibility thereafter, and there was subsequently a national petition to have him removed from office–but surely the bigger picture is that he is right about the imbalance in the Police Service and that it ought to be addressed. Read more....

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"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Listen To The Lilting Strains Of Racial Harmonium.



"Drama Island" By David Rudder. See lyrics. Uploaded by TheKhafra

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

---From The Walrus and The Carpenter.
Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There,
Lewis Carroll, 1872

...on second thought, maybe not.

I have, up until today, been deliberately avoiding making any comment on this blog about the firing of Nizam Mohammed, choosing instead to bury myself in my work and monitoring the unfolding of Spring. It cut me to my soul and I really needed some time to be able to react now without the colourful inputs of my inner Canal Conks and La Bas Crab. For those of you who need to be reminded, or never knew, here and here were my opinions on Nizam Mohammed's initial statements.

As for the rest, the varnished or unvarnished mob, I can only conclude that fear was a large factor in their aversion and maybe also a desperate need to maintain the unquestioned status quo. Consider, however, that neither of these motivating factors are conducive to growth or maturity or "rising". Discomfort, challenges, growing pains, teaching others and being taught hard lessons are the rites that must be observed along the rough path to intelligence.

Feeling good, people? Isn't this a great time to be Trinabgonian?

I would love to know what the persons who were adamant before that they were discriminated against, feel about this firing and I can only hope that none of my countrymen of African descent had the meanness or the lack of foresight to celebrate this "killing of the messenger" as a victory of any sort. It is you, especially those of you who are still spinning after these long centuries, who I think had the most to lose. But then again, chess is not as popular as it should be and therefore seldom informs our strategy.

Nizam Mohammed could have been an alien dropping out of the sky to say what he said as I don't know him from Adam and I probably never will. I would have still given his opinions some thought even if they had stung. I would have steeled my chest to take the impact. I would have said as a first response, even if my ears were ringing and my blood was hot and if only to give the impression that I possessed some modicum of maturity and intelligence,
There is more to any story than statistical facts, especially in a society as complex as this one is, but I welcome wholeheartedly any impartial investigation done in the name of justice that is conducted on the hiring/promotion practices of this and any institution in the country. If there have been historical wrongs, let us ensure that we do all in our power to replace them with processes that are transparent and defensible....
How absolutely brilliant that would have been!! I would have dropped to my knees over here facing the location of my country, I would have clasped my hands together and said, "Thank you, Jesus!! Dey moving. Walk with dem!"

Instead what?...Banshees screaming, "Off with his head!" Placebo-dispensers speaking through pursed lips about pigments of the imagination. Fearful trolls of all hues running for cover, making swift recalculations that maybe they should really leave the piddling, flea bitten TTPS turf to those who had claimed it as their own. After all there is plenty more and greener elsewhere to be guarded and they wouldn't want this field-levelling exercise to escape the petri dish of the TTPS and go viral over the entire land. We know Nizam talk truth but like de idiot cyah extrapolate? He ent seeing further down de road. Jam de transmission! Buss dat parrot throat NOW!!!

This had NOTHING to do with race. It is about maintaining the status quo, as unfair as it is to some, the rest of us are prepared to sacrifice the underdogs of all hues for our comfort.

This has NOTHING to do with race. UWI's report didn't find evidence of racism but instead a nepotism which by unfortunate coincidence created an insider vs. outsider friction between my countrymen of African and Indian descent.

I am addressing persons of all hues who have been disadvantaged historically in my country because I feel that there is a perception that is being repeated and amplified and it is that you are easily inflamed brutes who cannot handle "the truth". I watch from the hill so I see that although your flaws are the ones being aired, you are not the only ones who want to avoid the truth. Hard truths are only bitter for those who live the shitty end of them. Hard truths do not cause the ones holding the "clean" end of the stick to lose any sleep. You HAVE BEEN handling the truth people, the shitty end, and all progress will break loose only when you reject and release and no longer maintain your hold on it. The status quo requires that the shitty end remain in constant contact with either your backs or your begging hands. The terror is that if you drop your end, you are then mobile and might appear suddenly behind them.

What am I saying?

You are being played. You are being rewarded for baring your fangs and wrangling with each other in the dust for the scraps. You continue to unashamedly display your learned weaknesses and these will be used against you. You will be kept smart enough to be grateful but dumb enough to continue saying thanks to the wrong people.

Outside of writing these posts, there is no one here with whom I can speak about this issue so I have to imagine what the voices on the street back home are saying. I am hearing everything from the rabidly racist to the sincerely worried to the angry career victims to the "Oh why can't we just get along!"

And you know what? Nothing, nothing, nothing not even the most virulent response that I could imagine seems as hateful as the headline announcing Nizam Mohammed's removal. Because to me, each voice on the street speaks a little personal truth, each voice carries a bit of pain remembered, if not from their own experience, then of hurts handed down to them from the experiences of their ancestors. But this last voice that silences all, it silences the truth and it silences the intelligence required to cultivate it.

Maybe I am a dreamer but I sincerely believe that most of these voices would have stopped mid-sentence, would have deferred to the confidence inspiring voice of a leadership that is not condescending, a leadership that is confident, a leadership that is not backward looking, a leadership that does not shut down chances for open dialogue instead of the now signature, "Talk done, nothing to see here, folks....MOVE ON!"

More continue to jump onto that "move on" bandwagon and another is pompously declaring that it's "patently absurd" to ask for an explanation from the President for his decision to dismiss Nizam Mohammed. Last time I checked, we were not a dictatorship, not de jure anyway...but then again, maybe others know better.

In the mean time, the deeply disappointed among us will have to find our favourite pacifiers to suck on [salt usually works for me], and we can resume listening to the lilting strains of racial harmonium. Doh study, we will behbeh on with the blessed assurance that while we slumber, our Soca Daddy, Machel, will be toiling upward through the night deciding which inanimate object or live ting he will exhort us to "advantage" next year.

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"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

CABLEGATE: COUNTERPROPOSAL - AGREEMENT WITH TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO ON THE STATUS OF U.S. FORCES FOR THE SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS AND OTHER EVENTS IN 2009

Reference ID
09PORTOFSPAIN79

Created
2009-02-27 13:49

Released
2011-04-06 00:00

Classification
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Origin
Embassy Port Of Spain

.................................


VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSP #0079 0581349
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 271349Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9717
INFO RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUMIAAA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS PORT OF SPAIN 000079

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR WHA/CAR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KTIA MARR MOPS PREL PM TD
SUBJECT: COUNTERPROPOSAL - AGREEMENT WITH TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO ON THE
STATUS OF U.S. FORCES FOR THE SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS AND OTHER
EVENTS IN 2009


REF: State 16716

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED; PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

¶1. (SBU) Post delivered ref counterproposal to the GOTT February 25,
the first day the government reopened after Carnival. Charge
contacted Foreign Minister Gopee-Scoon and Summit Inter-Ministerial
Committee Chair Mariano Browne that day on the note and its urgency
and also spoke to the Attorney General's key aide on this issue,
Karel Douglas. We also were in touch with National Security
Ministry International Affairs Advisor Antoinette Lucas Andrews and
with MFA lead attorney Gerald Thompson.

¶2. (SBU) As of late morning February 27, the GOTT was still
reviewing the note and working on a response. We were told that a
draft is due on the Attorney General's desk by COB today.

KUSNITZ
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"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Federation [Song]



FEDERATION
By Small Island Pride

Lillian, change yuh plan,
Next year is Federation
There'll be no discrimination
Between a Trinidadian and a Grenadian.

Well, it have a Grenadian living next to me
If you know how dem native does torture she
It have a Grenadian living next to me
If you know how dem native does torture she
Every time they in for a confusion, they does bawl,
"Small island, go back to your land!"
But the Grenadian sit down and she draft a plan
To stop them from all this tormentation
Every time they shout, "Smally, find yuh land!"
She does jump up with this lavway like a mad woman.

And all she bawling...

Lillian, change yuh plan,
Next year is Federation
There'll be no discrimination
Between a Trinidadian and a Grenadian.

The Trinidadian turn to the Grenadian and said,
Gyul, can you explain me what's Federation?
The Grenadian said, Gyul, Federation is a combination of generation
Because mih mother was a Barbadian
She married to mih father - a Trinidadian
I made two children, one for a Chinee man
And they say the next one is a St Lucian
Try yuh best and contact the generation
And the answer to that is Federation. Hah! Hah!

Lillian, change yuh plan,
Next year is Federation
There'll be no discrimination
Between a Trinidadian and a Grenadian.

The Trinidadian, Hush, yuh stupid woman!
Every night I does bounce up Federation
Monday night I went out with a Chinee man
Tuesday night, girl, I slept with an Italian
Wednesday and Thursday, I dine with two Martiniquan
Friday night I get a cuff from a Yankee man
Saturday morning I was in the hospital van
Fighting hard to deliver Federation. Hah! Hah!

Lillian, change yuh plan,
Next year is Federation
There'll be no discrimination
Between a Trinidadian and a Grenadian.

The Grenadian jump up and she pound she hand
She said, Gyul, is we brought 'bout Federation
With the Bajan mix with the Grenadian
Dem St Lucian tie up with the Antiguan
She said that Captain Cipriani rehearsed this to me
That T. Albert Marryshow does fight for we
So don't mind dem just-come politician
They don't know one damn thing 'bout Federation.

Then she change up...

Lillian, change yuh plan,
Try yuh best and hold down yuh man
When they sign this Federation
I going to leave you
Like Moses on the promised land. Hah! Hah!

Lillian, change yuh plan,
Next year is Federation
There'll be no discrimination
Between a Trinidadian and a Grenadian.

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance!
..............................................................................................................................
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Family Brawl Drowns Out Opportunity's Knocking.

Thank you, Camille Bethel, for your article yesterday, April 2, 2011, [See below] which dusted off the 1994 report, "Ethnicity and Employment Practices in Trinidad and Tobago. Volume I—(The Public Sector)" and brought its contents to a wider audience. I didn't have this information when I expressed my opinion on the matter but it just strengthens my conviction that Mr. Nizam Mohammed should be commended rather than hounded for giving us this rare opportunity to discuss these matters out in the open.

If there was something objectionable [and I have no proof of this] about the spirit with which Mr. Mohammed expressed his views or his intention to remedy the situation, then he would have learned by now how NOT to approach such matters in the future. If, however, he put his views on the table in good faith, as part of his contribution to correcting what he perceives to be an imbalance, it remains the work of those assigned to address such matters to give his opinion the attention which it deserves. The issue cannot simply be blown out of the water or swept under the carpet. The same people who are now crying race may one day find themselves in a situation where they need their complaints about discrimination of any sort to be taken seriously and not shouted down or ignored.

I found this quote from the report very interesting:

"It was found that in a number of cases, what was perceived as 'racial discrimination' was in fact the end result of a number of factors such as patronage, family network or membership of a clique."
I am absolutely no expert on these matters but doesn't this prove that we still have a problem? Patronage, family network or membership of a clique??? So in this situation we have a "meritocracy," not based on academic, psychological and physical qualifications but on who you know? Is nepotism somehow better than racism?

You may be interested in reading this comment that was submitted on August 7, 2009 to the blog "Set Our People Free..." The writer was protesting on behalf of a group of applicants of East Indian descent who were of the opinion that they had been discriminated against and rejected, despite having successfully completed all stages of the TTPS application process. I have no idea if their suspicions were justified but I felt frustrated on their behalf that there appeared to be no office to which they could turn for assistance.

Intelligent debate, and not these knee jerk reactions that we have been witnessing, has to be the only way forward. The way I see it, victory for one group is a victory for all when it comes to securing people's confidence in their homeland and its commitment to guarding their rights. If we cannot see that, it is because we have something to gain from maintaining a status quo which does not allow every creed and race to find an equal place.

I support the TTPS as I have said repeatedly and I want it to be as thorough as possible when it comes to policing itself.

UWI study: Ethnic imbalance in Police Service spans decades.
By Camille Bethel
Trinidad Express Newspapers | Apr 2, 2011 at 10:38 PM ECT
"The ethnic imbalance within the upper echelons of the Police Service, that favours Afro-Trinidadians, was pushed centre stage by Police Service Commission chairman Nizam Mohammed two Fridays ago at a Joint Select Committee (JSC) meeting at the Parliament, when he stated his intention to fix the disparity. But this is not the first time this issue has been raised.

A 1994 report entitled "Ethnicity and Employment Practices in Trinidad and Tobago" Volume I—(The Public Sector) compiled by the Centre for Ethnic Studies, University of the West Indies, St Augustine, gives insight into the very controversial issue by looking at the ethnic composition of the Public Services, including the Police Service, and the differences in the rate of mobility for each ethnic group over three decades.

Obtained from the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), UWI, St Augustine, this report is the first survey that was compiled on the issue and looks candidly at the employment practices in the Public Sector as it relates to Afro and Indo Trinidadians.

Dr John La Guerre, now chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, was the Centre co-ordinator at the time and held the responsibility for the direction of the survey and its analysis.

The analysis is seen within the executive summary and recommendations section of the 328 page report where it is noted that the Police Service was one of two areas, the other being nursing, where appointments were shrouded in ethnic controversy.

Part IV of the report, looks at the "National Security Services" data from the Public Service for the years 1970, 1980 and 1992 and attempts to determine whether the hiring and promotional practices gave equal opportunity to all citizens, regardless of their race or ethnicity, and whether there were any changes in the ethnic make-up of those hired over that time span.

In the report this is described as a difficult task, since records had been lost or destroyed in the Police Headquarters in the 1990 attempted coup, but the Centre managed to put together a "fairly complete statistical overview".

The figures obtained showed that in 1970 of a total of 149 sergeants only six were Indo-Trinidadian and out of a total of 274 police officers only nine were Indo-Trinidadian. This was despite the fact that "for the rank of sergeant and higher the Indo-Trinidadians tended to be younger than their Afro-Trinidadian counterparts with the exception of the sole Indo-Trinidadian Assistant Superintendent of Police", the report stated.

Ten years later, only 22 of the 244 sergeants were Indo-Trinidadian; there was only one Indo-Trinidadian who held the rank of Assistant Superintendent out of 47; there were nine Assistant Commissioners of police of which only one was Indo-Trinidadian and out of a total of 1,282 police officers only 180 of them represented the Indo-Trinidadian population.

The report states that by 1980 the population percentage of Indo Trinidadians had grown to 40.7.

"Given equal representation, the expected ratio in the police force in 1980 is 40.7. Indo-Trinidadians at this time were grossly under represented in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service," the report states.

By 1992, the strength of the Police Service had more than doubled and there was an increase in the intake of Indo-Trinidadians, yet the number of Indo-Trinidadians represented still remained less than their Afro-Trinidadian counterparts.

Out of a total of 4,672 police officers only 1,153 were Indo-Trinidadian, there were 43 sergeants out of a total of 282, and six of the 47 Assistant Superintendents were Indo-Trinidadian.

"Apparent discrepancies between policy and fact are readily observable on looking at recruitment figures. The declared policy in the selection process for police officers is based on qualifications, both physical and academic, as well as character. However, the records of recruitment over the past 13 years, for both male and female applicants, reveal that Afro-Trinidadian applicants have an advantage of 1.5 to 2 over their Indo-Trinidadian counterparts."

However, the report said there may have been another factor that influenced the low number of Indo-Trinidadian females applying for the Police Service.

"It was felt, and possibly still is felt, that the Police Service was not a suitable place of work for an Indo-Trinidadian female."

Although in 1992 to 1993 more Indo-Trinidadian women put in applications only two of the 40 women recruited into the Police Service were Indo-Trinidadian.

"All things being equal, and given the fact that Indo-Trinidadian candidates are generally better qualified academically, it should follow that the number of Indo-Trinidadians selected for training should be higher. It seems that they tend to do less well in the interview than do their Afro-Trinidadian counterparts," the report states.

This phenomenon was explained as having resulted from the fact that at that time the members of the interviewing panel were all Afro-Trinidadians themselves.

Looking at promotion within the Police Service, the then chairman of the Police Service Commission who was interviewed for the report was recorded as having indicated that promotion within the Police Service was based on merit and creditability in performance.

"Regulation 20 of the Police Service Commission regulations states that eligibility for promotion takes into account inter alia, seniority, experience, educational qualifications, merit and ability together with the relative efficiency of all officers."

However, aspects of the promotional process were seen as less than transparent and left room for dishonesty and discriminatory practices, the report states.

It states that "one of the major findings of the investigation was the tendency for Indians to be heavily under represented at the higher reaches of the public sector, particularly in the central public services" there was no doubt that historical and cultural factors would explain an ethnic imbalance.

"In Trinidad and Tobago, over the years, a peculiar division of labour had developed according to which the Indians were allocated to the agricultural sector, the Whites to the higher reaches of the economy and the Africans to the public services of the country. With time these ideas hardened into conceptions of preserves.

"It's persistence into the present is, however, also due to the operation of the seniority principle and the possible influence of the political will in appointment beyond a certain range," the report states.

So although "the perception of discrimination did exist, were felt strongly, and materially affected the dedication and productivity of a number of the officers from both major ethnic groups" in the end many of the cases of racial discrimination that were raised could not be substantiated with the available evidence.

"It was found that in a number of cases, what was perceived as 'racial discrimination' was in fact the end result of a number of factors such as patronage, family network or membership of a clique," the report states.

I also want to congratulate the National Joint Action Committee for their confidence inspiring, measured and thoughtful response to this matter. I present their statement below because this is the attitude that is required for any meaningful meeting of minds. Anything less, in my view, supports continued silence, suspicion and resentment.

Nizam Mohammed Issue
Posted by National Joint Action Committee at 4:34 PM
The People's Blog | Thursday, March 31, 2011

"The National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) considers that the recent statement made by Mr. Nizam Mohammed, chairman of the Police Service Commission at the hearing of the Joint Select Committee on Friday 25th March 2011 was of a nature that could only be considered insensitive.
His statement about the Police Service that there were more persons of African descent in leadership positions, as opposed to their East Indian colleagues gave the impression that there was discrimination against the East Indian population with regard to their entry into and their promotions within the Trinidad & Tobago Police Service.
NJAC finds such impressions are not accurate because there has always been a marked reluctance of certain sectors of the population to join the Police Service. The local Police Service has long had a stigma attached to it and at an earlier time, a substantial amount of police men were recruited from our neighbouring islands, in particular, Barbados, Grenada and St Vincent.
We find that Mr. Mohammed’s statement to be even more insensitive in the context of the current environment where there are provocations of ethnic tension brought on by political rhetoric that does not speak well for the future development of the good communal relations in Trinidad & Tobago.
In the light of the frequent mention about race in Trinidad & Tobago NJAC asserts that this is the ideal time to mandate a national body to investigate all our country’s institutions, whether public or private, in order to progressively eliminate all and any manifestations of racial bias in employment."

Bravo!, Bravo!, Bravo!!!

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"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

There Must Be A Way [Song]


Uploaded by cool4rocknroll

THERE MUST BE A WAY

By Merchant
Arranged by Eddie Quarless
Album: There Must Be a Way | Charlies | T&T 1986

Du-du dit du du du du, du-du-dit du,
Du-dit du-dit, du-dit d- dit du-dit du-dit du du

The present look of the world today is dim
And if we don't take heed, my friend, the chance is slim [Chance is slim]
Conflict and war, like nobody cares anymore
Is there no peace? Will this slaughter ever cease? Woh oh

Chorus:
There must be a way and we got to find it today [To find it]
And let there be harmony, live life in unity
There must be a way, I say, there must be a way. Ah ha
Tu-tu du-tu tu-tu- tu-du-du, tu-tu du-tu tu-tu-tu-du-du

It seems man's basic aim is destruction [Destruction]
And nuclear is his deadliest invention
Could we stamp down on that is humanly wrong?
Each creed and race must find an equal place. Woh oh
Tu-tu du-tu tu-tu- tu-du-du, tu-tu du-tu tu-tu-tu-du-du

Chorus:
There must be a way and we got to find it today [To find it]
And let there be harmony, live life in unity
There must be a way, I say, there must be a way. Ah ha

And now we face the threat of starvation [Starvation]
And haven't yet got rid of racialism. No, no
Use and abuse, and human rights are refused
Justice must be what it was made out to be. Woh ho

Chorus:
There must be a way and we got to find it today [To find it]
And let there be harmony, live life in unity
There must be a way, I say, there must be a way. Ah ha
Tu-tu du-tu tu-tu- tu-du-du, tu-tu du-tu tu-tu-tu-du-du

Each time I hear the world news, Lord, it scares me. [It scares me so badly]
To think of all the lives that perish daily
Then what is the worth of our lives here on earth?
There's so much more to life than waging war. Woh oh

Chorus:
There must be a way and we got to find it today [To find it]
And let there be harmony, live life in unity
There must be a way, I say, there must be a way. Ah ha
Tu-tu du-tu tu-tu- tu-du-du, tu-tu du-tu tu-tu-tu-du-du
There must be a way and we got to find it...

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance!
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A Note From The Gull


Thank you, Merchant!

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

The Laughing Gull [Laurus Atricilla]


Uploaded by houstonmania2007
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"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

To Be Thankful For [Song]


Uploaded by kaiso22

TO BE THANKFUL FOR

By Baron

How well I remember ------- in Rhodesia
Bloodshed in Nigeria, famine in Biafra
Even in Éire land, religious confusion
We have a lot to be thankful for.

Think of how far we have travelled from
Years of deprivation and starvation
The indignity suffered by our forefathers
Didn't stop them from carrying on
The world we enjoy now is God's blessing
Let us stop our grumbling and quarreling
Love and peace must exist so let us cherish it
We have so much to be thankful for.

So many races living together
Homogenous mixture, we do for each other
What about our culture, our greatest treasure
Just these and a few more to be thankful for.

Think about the world situation
So much hate, strife and degradation
One slip over Iran could cause a total destruction.
Them leaders could take a tip from our book
And then this world of proverbial hope
Let love, respect breed in each man to one another
This we have to be thankful for.

True, we have our problems and our limitation
Our waste of resources could cause frustration
But here in this nation it's absolute freedom
Democracy at its best, put it to the test

Look at how many religions
And a hundred and one denominations
Existing here and without any molestation, no prosecution
Where else in the world there's democracy
Expressed freely and abundantly
Bear this in mind, we have stood the test of time
'Cause we have so much to be thankful for.

[To be thankful for] No deprivation, no starvation
To be thankful for
Tell them I say [To be thankful for] to be thankful for absolute freedom, no starvation
[To be thankful for] Tell them I say [To be thankful for] no frustration
To be thankful for absolute freedom, no strife, no hate, no degradation
[To be thankful for] Tell my mother and father
[To be thankful for] Tell Trinidad and Tobago [To be thankful for]
Tell all them I say [To be thankful for] no degradation, absolute freedom, no frustration...

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance!
..............................................................................................................................
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare