The highly publicised audio recordings of a medical doctor verbally abusing a female employee while using racist and derogatory language have once again shined a light on this country’s racist underbelly.
The series of audio recordings of the doctor, who operates a private facility in South Trinidad, is even more alarming since they also call into question the conduct a medical professional tasked with providing health care and saving lives regardless of race, creed or class.
The Medical Association of T&T has condemned the comments of the doctor and has thrown its support behind any investigation into his conduct.
Some government officials and political figures have also strongly condemned the conduct of the medical professional.
But the doctor’s disparaging comments about police officers and the statement that “a lot of people don’t want Negro nurses dealing with them, a lot of patients racial so we prefer Indian nurses dealing with them”, exposes a side of this multi-ethnic country that can no longer be ignored.
Both of the major political parties in this country stand accused at some time of pushing the race card. Only recently National Security Minister Stuart Young was asked to leave the house of representatives for a few minutes after throwing “race” comments across the floor at the opposition.
Weeks before that, the country’s racist underbelly was front and centre when Opposition supporters used racist and inflammatory language to describe those who voted for the ruling PNM.
These racist outbursts aren’t just an indication of discrimination but examples of money/privilege being abused.
We have seen on social media those who are regarded as upper-class or as we say in local parlance, “come from money”, making denigrating remarks about others and acting untouchable because of their financial standing.
The “private beach” incident in September, where a woman boasted about her access to a beach while seemingly flouting COVID regulations, followed by an onslaught of offensive comments from her relatives, is a prime example of how those with money show little regard for the rules and even the law.
Collectively these incidents undermine the foundation of this country and have the potential to cause division, discord and even physical conflict.
However, there is a glimmer of hope since the vociferous outcry and condemnation following these racist episodes, particularly from young people, show that much of the population does not condone or approve of racism and classism.
When the National Anthem was written in 1962, it was meant to reflect on the nature of the people who make up this beloved twin-island, but one wonders how much have changed since then.