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RACE: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

Published: 
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
ROBIN MONTANO

For some time now there has been a discernible air of despair in the country. The “PNM till ah dead” brigade insist that all of our troubles are the fault of the UNC and the UNC brigade insists that the PNM are not only incompetent but corrupt as well.

What people and pundits fail to address is the real elephant in the room: race! Let’s face it, the core support of the PNM vote is African and the core support of the UNC vote is Indian. The politicians on both sides pretend that they are blind as to the racial problem but their fringe supporters openly espouse racial discrimination and behind closed doors with their “own kind” only in attendance they voice their biases openly. And both sides openly appeal to their core supporters when election time comes around.

I am fed up. The truth is that both sides practise discrimination against the other side whenever they get into power. Oh! They dress it up and pretend that they don’t. I can hear the cries now! “Prove it!” They (whoever “they” are) will say. But if you ask any ordinary person he will say that this is most certainly his perception. And how do you think that this perception came about? Both sides are covertly (and often openly) racist.

No. I am fed up. And I am willing to bet that everybody who thinks is also fed up with the games that both sides continue to play. Perhaps the time has come to have a real Government of National Unity. Why can’t everybody get together? We have two serious problems facing us: crime and the failing economy. At this stage I am not interested in whose fault it was or is that we have reached this situation. The fact is that we are here.

Now, what are you, the politicians doing about these two problems? Why can’t you (the politicians) agree on solutions? Who cares whether you are African or Indian or black, brown, white, yellow, blue, green, red, purple or any other colour? Aren’t we all born here? Or is it that only members of a certain tribe (the one that you belong to) are the ones to whom this country really belongs?

The truth is that you (the politicians) love to play the race card because it is always easier to activate tribal feelings (regardless of what tribe you belong to) than it is to come out with real proposals and policies. “Vote for me because I am African/Indian (delete whichever is inapplicable)” is the real rallying cry. And to the Devil with real solutions!

It is time that we reject these divisive politics of race and start demanding better from our leaders.

You can test it this way: can anybody tell me what are the basic philosophical differences between the PNM and the UNC? And I’m not talking about “who t’ief” and “who t’ief more”. I am talking about the philosophies and principles that ought to be the underpinning of any and all modern political parties. Because I can’t and I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that most people can’t either.

We vote governments out of office when we perceive that they have messed up. Wouldn’t it be nicer if we voted a government in because we actually liked their policies and ideas?

ROBIN MONTANO