T&T has had an excellent record for changing governments without conflicts, upheavals and with minimum disruption. The 2020 General Elections was conducted along the same lines for the most part however, with Covid-19 we saw the same “picong” and fatigue with some degree of racial comments mainly on social media.
Racial comments on social media made by a young girl who is a member of the family that owns Ramsaran Dairy Products caused tremendous negative response from the public. The chief executive officer of Massy Foods hastily instructed all his store managers to pull all Ramsaran dairy products from their shelves.
Other supermarkets followed and did the same.
The President of The Supermarket Association of T&T (SATT) advised its members to boycott Ramsaran dairy products but not all supermarkets complied.
Two days later, SATT rescinded this advice indicating that the association was satisfied with the actions taken by the company to rectify this unfortunate situation.
Additionally, on Sunday August 16, 2020, Gervase Warner of Massy Foods apologised and replaced the products on their shelves.
It appears that little consideration was given to the effect of boycotting any company in a depressed economy which could easily result in workers losing their jobs, damage to corporate brands and a reduction in the circulation of money in the system. Revenge breeds revenge.
This was seen when persons on social media made calls to the public not to buy from supermarkets that did not carry the Ramsaran products. Not forgetting, if we asked ourselves the question, some of our worst enemies are those who carry the same blood in their veins are “our loving family”?
This can be proven when we look at matters in the local court. Who knows whether this case was as a result of a family dispute.
No one questioned the girl’s family or asked for an explanation of the remarks.
The young lady later apologised on Facebook and the CEO of company also apologised with a full-page advertisement in the newspaper.
My fellow citizens of my beloved country T&T, my mother always told me “when you go to the toilet, always check if there is toilet paper, so when you mess up yourself, you would have something to use to clean.”
Also, she also often said that before you speak, think twice and speak once.
As a foundation member of SATT for over 50 years I am kindly asking the president of SATT and its members to revisit their constitution and mission statement and make amendments to include regulations and policy to avoid any recurrence of this unpleasant situation.
Our multicultural society allows us to enjoy Carnival parties, 20-20 cricket, football, etc with everyone hugging, dancing, drinking and having fun.
“All are we is one!”
“Trini to the bone!”
No Afro- and Indo-Trinbagonian only Mother T&T. But when General Elections time comes-it is “we and them”—yellow Caroni and red Laventille.
As Parliament starts the Opposition and Government exchange abuse, insults, walkouts, total chaos and disrespect for one another with each side only “kicksing” in Parliament.
Our children watch on television as our leaders display all these abnormalities.
It is clear that our leaders must change their attitude.
Our population is made up of 34 per cent Afros, 35 per cent Indo and 28 per cent mixed.
I asked myself what lies ahead for the future of our mixed races population of which “douglas” are the majority.
In 1996, when Basdeo Panday won the election, a group was started called “The Architect of Peace” for the purpose of educating the people of T&T that “every creed and race has an equal place.”
This country has a wealth of culture, religion, ethnic foods and we have learnt over the past years how to share and enjoy one another’s culture and religion.
In a matter of days, we would be celebrating 58 years of Independence and we heard some people still addressing each other as “we and them”.
T&T along with the rest of the world is suffering depressed economic times as a result of the effects of Covid-19 and a decline in oil and gas prices, we cannot afford to allow any business especially manufacturing companies to suffer depression.
Not forgetting the warnings and guidelines by the CMO Dr Roshan Parasram and his medical team as it relates to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Upon the appointment of the new government, everyone should be included in an effort to assist in the re-invention of our economy.
A few months ago an Afro American was killed by police in America.
This caused lots of protest.
I would like to see laws and regulations put in place so that police brutality would never happen again in any part of the world.
Finally, I am calling on the Government to consider starting a Committee that may include people like Pastor Dottin, Knolly Clarke, Tony Watkins, Thomas Isaac, the PRO of both the PNM and the UNC, myself and any other responsible persons in order to have a conversation to discuss possible framework for ethnic and race relations in T&T.
My hope is that this would go a long way in healing the divide and leading to the fulfilment of the establishment of a true rainbow country.