Saturday, May 31, 2014

Reflections on Arrivals Caribbean society in transition


Having a sense of where we came from
Indian Arrival Day in Trinidad and Tobago: 

...more than a people defining themselves, there must be a better understanding of who we are and not allow political allegiances to mark out lines of segregation - Dr Kris Rampersad.


Interview with Dr Kris Rampersad, Media Cultural and Literary Educator
 By Marcia Braveboy in 
Caribbean News Now Senior Correspondent

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad -- Indian Arrival Day is being celebrated in Trinidad and Tobago on 30th May. On the eve of the occasion we are summoned once again by our foreparents to contemplate this burning sense of our past that engulfs our thinking with sparkles of thoughts about who we are and where we really came from.
This gentle meliorism by a conscious people whose             gaze is set only on progress, must through active aspirations wonder into the deep and beyond the stars to find answers of a sometimes forgotten past, to reconnect the links for future generations. 
The flames of 200 years ago by our ancestors and predecessors refuse to go out under a people it still challenges to define their purpose on this journey to a better Trinidad and Tobago.

Writer, author, journalist Kris Rampersad says that, more than a people defining themselves, there must be a better understanding of who we are and not allow political allegiances to mark out lines of segregation among our peoples and for the removal of denominational and ethnic inhibitors to national development and to see the dream of a people becoming one come true. 
“We as a country and a region are losing so much of understanding ourselves when we define and confine ourselves through all kinds of narrow allegiances, and that is not to downplay the value of identity to all of us.”

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou RIP

Thank you for sharing your mind and emotions and the spiirit and the power with us Maya Angelou. So many women drew energy from you, now flights of angels follow u to rest

Friday, May 23, 2014

Calling Musicians, Singers, Composers, Artists: Song for #DanaSeetahal



Murder She Wrote: Death Written in Stone in Dana Seetahal Assassination

Creating UNESCO Centres of Peace in Trinidad and Tobago

The Price of Independence:#DanaSeetahalAssassination

Conceive. Achieve. Believe

Demokrissy: Wave a flag for a party rag...Choosing the Emperor's ...
Oct 20, 2013 Choosing the Emperor's New Troops. The dilemma of choice. Voting is supposed to be an exercise in thoughtful, studied choice. Local government is the foundation for good governance so even if one wants to reform the ... http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Apr 07, 2013 Old Casked Rum: The Emperor's New Tools#1 - Towards Constitutional Reform in T&T. So we've had the rounds of consultations on Constitutional Reform? Are we any wiser? Do we have a sense of direction that will drive ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Apr 30, 2013 Valuing Carnival The Emperor's New Tools#2....http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
See Also:
Jul 30, 2013 Wherever these breezes have passed, they have left in their wake wide ranging social and political changes: one the one hand toppling long time leaders with rising decibels from previously suppressed peoples demanding a ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Oct 25, 2013 Some 50 percent did not vote. The local government elections results lends further proof of the discussion began in Clash of Political Cultures: Cultural Diversity and Minority Politics in Trinidad and Tobago in Through The ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Oct 14, 2013 They are announcing some political meeting or the other; and begging for my vote, and meh road still aint fix though I hear all parts getting box drains and thing, so I vex. So peeps, you know I am a sceptic so help me decide. http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Jun 15, 2010 T&T Constitution the culprit | The Trinidad Guardian · T&T Constitution the culprit | The Trinidad Guardian. Posted by Kris Rampersad at 8:20 AM · Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Related:
Apr 30, 2010 'How we vote is not how we party.' At 'all inclusive' fetes and other forums, we nod in inebriated wisdom to calypsonian David Rudder's elucidation of the paradoxical political vs. social realities of Trinidad and Tobago. http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Oct 29, 2013 An indication that unless we devise innovative ways to address representation of our diversity, we will find ourselves in various forms of deadlock at the polls that throw us into a spiral of political tug of war albeit with not just ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Oct 16, 2013 Sheilah was clearly and sharply articulating the deficiencies in governmesaw her: a tinymite elderly woman, gracefully wrinkled, deeply over with concerns about political and institutional stagnation but brimming over with ... http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Oct 21, 2013 Ain't Trini politics d BEST! Nobody fighting because they lose. All parties claiming victory, all voting citizens won! That's what make we Carnival d best street party in the world. Everyone are winners because we all like ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Jan 09, 2012 New Media, New Civil Society, and Politics in a New Age | The Communication Initiative Network. New Media, New Civil Society, and Politics in a New Age | The Communication Initiative Network. Posted by Kris Rampersad ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Demokrissy: Wave a flag for a party rag...Choosing the Emperor's ...
Oct 20, 2013 Choosing the Emperor's New Troops. The dilemma of choice. Voting is supposed to be an exercise in thoughtful, studied choice. Local government is the foundation for good governance so even if one wants to reform the ... http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Apr 07, 2013 Old Casked Rum: The Emperor's New Tools#1 - Towards Constitutional Reform in T&T. So we've had the rounds of consultations on Constitutional Reform? Are we any wiser? Do we have a sense of direction that will drive ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Apr 30, 2013 Valuing Carnival The Emperor's New Tools#2....http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
See Also:
Jul 30, 2013 Wherever these breezes have passed, they have left in their wake wide ranging social and political changes: one the one hand toppling long time leaders with rising decibels from previously suppressed peoples demanding a ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Oct 25, 2013 Some 50 percent did not vote. The local government elections results lends further proof of the discussion began in Clash of Political Cultures: Cultural Diversity and Minority Politics in Trinidad and Tobago in Through The ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Oct 14, 2013 They are announcing some political meeting or the other; and begging for my vote, and meh road still aint fix though I hear all parts getting box drains and thing, so I vex. So peeps, you know I am a sceptic so help me decide. http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Jun 15, 2010 T&T Constitution the culprit | The Trinidad Guardian · T&T Constitution the culprit | The Trinidad Guardian. Posted by Kris Rampersad at 8:20 AM · Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Related:
Apr 30, 2010 'How we vote is not how we party.' At 'all inclusive' fetes and other forums, we nod in inebriated wisdom to calypsonian David Rudder's elucidation of the paradoxical political vs. social realities of Trinidad and Tobago. http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Oct 29, 2013 An indication that unless we devise innovative ways to address representation of our diversity, we will find ourselves in various forms of deadlock at the polls that throw us into a spiral of political tug of war albeit with not just ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Oct 16, 2013 Sheilah was clearly and sharply articulating the deficiencies in governmesaw her: a tinymite elderly woman, gracefully wrinkled, deeply over with concerns about political and institutional stagnation but brimming over with ... http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Oct 21, 2013 Ain't Trini politics d BEST! Nobody fighting because they lose. All parties claiming victory, all voting citizens won! That's what make we Carnival d best street party in the world. Everyone are winners because we all like ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Jan 09, 2012 New Media, New Civil Society, and Politics in a New Age | The Communication Initiative Network. New Media, New Civil Society, and Politics in a New Age | The Communication Initiative Network. Posted by Kris Rampersad ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/



Death and other threats The Ash Wednesday syndrome

Death threats to journalists?
Is Trinidad and Tobago, the media, and related organisations just waking up this foreday morning?
Mark Bassant, forced to flee from death threats, as the reports say, is not an isolated case and did not surface overnight as I am sure his superiors and colleagues and others in various media and other institutions may well know.  (See related article below. Pls note date of publication.)
This blinkered shortsightedness must be Ash Wednesday syndrome in Carnival city.
The current climate of unease and unrest did not start with last week's murder or drug haul.
That journalists, who dare to go beyond the boundaries of 'he said she said" or soapbox reporting are intimidated, threatened, face withdrawal of support, and even chased out of town in one way or the other, not just by some external third parties, but very much also from within the jurisdictions within which they function is not the new nine-day wonder.
That some must battle daily with their conscience on the personal price of their professional pursuit, without any support, systematic or otherwise, is not the new wonder drug in town. Guarding democracy could be a very lonely place even in a place clamouring for guards to guard t he guards and there is no where to turn, except grit one's teeth and bite the bullet, literally, as in the case of #DanaSeetahalAssassination.
This Ash Wednesday syndrome surrounding Bassant's plight only point to the degree to which even the media, and watchdog institutions are so mired in admiring their own reflection in the limelight as defenders of democracy that they fail or just plainly refuse to see or admit the presence of the shadows hanging over their colleagues in danger; some even taking great delight in feeding the climate of unease and unrest in the interest of a great sound bite or headline or to poke some political ire - until the next one takes the limelight.
The long sleep-perchance-to-dream state of the body politic and now this Ash Wednesday reawakening until the next band rolls along has our democratic institutions - the media, the judiciary, the executive and the legislature - on the sapotay soil that we now seem to find ourselves, and not altogether not of their own making(double negative intended). If only we would subject ourselves to some serious self analysis and self scrutiny and acceptance of responsibility and ownership, which surely must, like charity, start at home.
We must be one of the few countries in the world where the free media does more to censure itself, if by default, inaction or uninformed, ill informed or incredibly blinkered actions, than anywhere else I can think of, offsprings of the chicken and egg paraducks. (clarified below)
Do media institutions provide a facilitatory environment for journalists to function and also to voice complaints?
Does the media fraternity provide a safety net and support system for their colleagues who may feel threatened, outside of the driven need to sensationalise such cases in the interest of a soundbite, headline, the next day's news; the impulse to stir unease and unrest for ratings or pander to some political interest or the other?
If we were to think of a correlation between the rise of crime news, for instance and the crime statistics we may want to ask which come's first, wouldn't we? The proverbial 'chicken and egg paraducks'. (See article below. Note date of publication).
So seduced by our Carnival mentality, we have so lapsed in developing and strengthening healthy mechanisms for exhalation of the social toxins.
If we cant cultivate a society that appreciates independent thought and action, debates, transparency and challenge, should we be surprised that attempts at contradiction seem to stimulate trigger happy responses in spouses, in the police, and from those in whom we ought to be able to place our trust.
Come on my friends, colleagues. countrymen! Wake up, my people!
 Or wake me up when 'tis all over.
This would be news.


Sunday 11th May 2003 (Guardian)


  
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Laventille’s chicken/egg paraducks
A radio talk show was asking callers last week who was responsible – the people or the politicians – for the problems of Laventille, manifested most recently in increased killings in that area. It might as well have been asking the proverbial impossible question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The implied paradox in that brain teaser has been that one must have eggs to hatch chickens. At the same time, any poultry farmer with commonsense knows it is the chicken, in the first instance, that lay the eggs that hatch into chickens. So, is it the politicians who have nurtured the culture of violence in Laventille? Politicians of the PNM can cockily profess Laventille’s rebellious spirit predates the PNM, and anyone with even a layman’s sense of the evolution of Trinidadian society and politics knows that to be fact. And every school child knows, too, that it was from among Laventille’s gangs came the divinity of steel pan music, for instance. And then came the PNM/politicians. (Now that may imply the PNM/politician is chicken; the people of Laventille, egg – something that certain MPs may want to roll up sleeves and tear off jackets to scuffle over, but in the interest of completing this evolution theory, can we not just ignore that, and obliviously take a line out of the Prime Minister’s book and pacify ourselves, if for the moment, that that question does not arise?) If the PNM did not create Laventille, then Laventille must accept responsibility for the politicians/(community) leaders it has spawned. Those who called in with that view reasoned the district voted for, hence created, its politicians. A contentious thought, but support for this view can be had in scientists’ attempt to crack the question: Chicken leads to egg; or egg to chicken. The answer actually proves wrong all poultry farmers, and similarly others who pride themselves on their commonsense, like politicians, Ministers etc (see “Virgin Births” inset). They conclude since a zygote (a non-chicken) must first split into cells that form the whole chicken, the egg must come first. If the scientists are to be believed, then it must be that “core” and “grassroot” supporters who egg on political parties/leaders in districts like Laventille (and in the case of the UNC, Caroni) are responsible for hatching their own problems – politicians. Their unflinching support “…no matter what; ’til ah dead,” is really a licence to their leaders to do as the leaders damn well please. And they do. It can hardly be in the politician’s interest to make his supporters less dependent financially or ideologically upon him. It must be in the chicken’s interest to make the egg believe without chicken, egg would not have been laid. The politician’s stable guarantee of core support – that is born out of their supporter’s ignorance and deprivation – may be upset when supports’ conditions improve. DEWD, URP, CEPEP ensure temporary appeasement, and permanent dependency, hence loyal support. Better education, greater income security may increase voters’ desire to choose leaders on the basis of criterion they set for themselves, rather than what is set by the leaders. All this implies, of course, that the country’s political situation – the inability of government to pass legislation it wants – is essentially not in Parliament or with the politicians at all, but rather rests with the grassroots, like Laventille and Caroni, where, assured of support no matter what, politicians have no real reason to effect change. If the egg knew it did not need the chicken to be, it has already turned the power tables on the chicken. If, then, as with the virgin growth, the eggs are made to know (or tricked into) a different method of hatching its leaders – a way of fertilisation that would produce disease-free cells – from the many good people of Laventille – that would multiply to create disease-free organisms, wouldn’t we have found a cure for the lesions on the body politic? For, certainly, if scientists believe that by using good eggs, they can produce good chickens, can’t one infer that it is the rotten eggs that are hatching such rotten politicians?


 

 

 

Published: 
Friday, May 23, 2014

Bassant has since left the country.
In a video clip on the TV6 news on Wednesday night Bassant said on May 7 he got a call from an underworld source to say certain criminal elements wanted to harm him because of stories he wrote recently. “I made a report on it. The next day I was liaising with certain police officers involved in a specific investigation, only to later learn from other trusted sources that these same officers who I had spoken to earlier were leaking information about me and what I knew to the said individuals who organised for my demise,” Bassant claimed.

He said he then informed a high-ranking intelligence source and another trusted senior intelligence officer. The senior officer, Bassant added, later told him his name was on a hit list, together with others. “In fact, he told me they had already been given the order to engage the targets, including me, and that the hit against me was starting at $20,000,” Bassant added. He said the incident had left him angry, especially since journalists, who work for the people, could easily be threatened. Contacted yesterday, TV6’s head of news Dominic Kalipersad said when the threat was reported to Griffith he said the suspect was “ruthless.”

Griffith also assured the police were monitoring the situation closely. Kalipersad described Bassant as a strong and committed journalist who would not want to be put in a position which prevented him from performing his calling in a fair manner. Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams yesterday promised the police were doing all they could to ensure the matter was properly investigated and said Supt Kenrick Edwards, head of the Criminal Intelligence Gang Unit, was leading the probe.

Media groups concerned
The Media Association of T&T (MATT) also has expressed concern and urged the police to move swiftly. In a press release yesterday the association said if the allegations were proven to be true, law enforcement officers must bring the perpetrators to justice, adding that a free and fair press was important to the country’s democracy. “A free and fair press is crucial to the functioning of all institutions and right-thinking members of the society should also condemn any threat or attack on members of the media. “These threats can result in a journalist operating under fear which weakens the role of the fourth estate as a watchdog,” the association added. On its Facebook page the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) said the fact that Bassant had been forced to flee the country underscored the seriousness with which both his media institution and the State’s security forces were treating the matter. “We join with the Media Association of T&T in calling for urgent action to get to the bottom of this situation. “Our international partners are similarly concerned and we all look forward to a thorough and expeditious investigation and the prosecution of anyone found to be behind this threat,” the ACM added.

Pin your NVZs - Non Violent Zones of Trinidad and Tobago

I've been plotting the violent crimes in Trinidad and Tobago in red to see what complexion our country will take on if we were to pin the violent crimes and murders and crimes against children, and women. The resulting image is too depressing so I am asking citizens to instead join me and pin your spaces as Zones of Non Violence on this NVZ map  to declare your spaces Non Violent Zones. welcome the Peace initiative of the Inter-Religious Organisation and Ms Ela Gandhi, holder of an international peace award, grandaughter of founder of the Satya Graha movement, Mohandas Gandhi  to Trinidad and Tobago.
I share the Prayer for All of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO for use and adoption by any individual or agency who wishes to do so, an organisation devoted to "Building Peace in the Minds of Men and Women and urge you to create centres of peace in your communities.






Creating  Centres for a Culture of Peace in Trinidad and Tobago

Statement, Chair, National Commission for UNESCO and
Trinidad and Tobago Representative on the UNESCO National Commission on creating a Culture of Peace in Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Kris Rampersad
May 5, 2014

I invite the national community to reflect on actions that will help promote and advance the cultivation of a culture of peace and non violence in Trinidad and Tobago as it works to help the society strengthen its peace-driven defence mechanisms to counteract what seems to be an escalating culture of violence among  men, women and children in our society.
As the country tries to come to grips with the most recent of brutal actions on our citizens with the murder of Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal, we draw attention to the UNESCO programme of action for Culture of Peace and Non-Violence, and invite individuals, groups and agencies to work with us to devise positive actions to cultivate values and practices of peace and non violence in various spheres of daily national life.  The action plan recognises that legal provisions are necessary to creating the right conditions and environment for the harmonious development of women, men and children towards building a culture of peace.
We believe more than ever in the relevance of the principles of a new humanism and soft diplomacy towards creating a culture of peace and non violence begins with, and in, our daily lives, as espoused by this action plan.

It states that: “that peace is more than the absence of war, but living together with our differences – of sex, race, language, religion or culture – while furthering universal respect for justice and human rights on which such coexistence depends.

As such, we also draw attention to the UNESCO Constitution and Charter to which Trinidad and Tobago is a signatory, and the commitment made to advance universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms contained in Article 1,  based on which the National Commission is developing its own Charter for Peace.


We see these as mechanisms that can be used to sustain hope for the new humanism that focuses not just on prevention, mediation, reconciliation and law, but also more proactive promote  preventative actions to cultivating values and culture of peace and non violence in our everyday lives.
The United Nations has mandated UNESCO as its line agency to promote a culture of peace. It defines such a culture of peace as comprising values, attitudes and behaviours that promote “freedom, justice and democracy, all human rights, tolerance and solidarity, that reject violence and endeavours to prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes.”
As the line agency of the United Nations charged with building a culture of peace, UNESCO acts on the declaration that “since wars begin in the minds of men and women it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed”.
We look forward to the strengthening of national “culture of peace” programmes and creation of spaces for peace within communities, home, schools and other social institutions.
Meanwhile, on behalf of the President, Minister of Education, Dr Tim Gopeesingh, Commissioners and the Secretariat of the National Commission for UNESCO, I extend condolences to the family and friends and the Trinidad and Tobago national community so deeply affected by the violence in our society in general, and the loss of Ms Seetahal in particular. The principles of law and justice to which Ms Seetahal devoted her life’s work are reflected in
We note that Ms Seetahal has added, not only in actions but also in words, considerably to the intellectual stock of knowledge and efforts at transforming agencies of the judiciary and the society in generalin the Commonwealth, among them in her work for promoting prison reform which speak to the environment of a new humanism that UNESCO driven by its Director General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova has been promoting. Ms Seetahal’s publication of Law in the Commonwealth Caribbean has become one of the standard legal texts in international legal practice.
Dr Kris Rampersad
Chair, Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO and Trinidad and Tobago Representative on the UNESCO Executive Board

Related Links: LiTTscapes at Greeenpeace: http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/2014/05/littscapes-at-greenpeace.html

Murder She Wrote: Death Written in Stone in Dana Seetahal Assassination

Creating UNESCO Centres of Peace in Trinidad and Tobago

The Price of Independence:#DanaSeetahalAssassination

Conceive. Achieve. Believe

Demokrissy: Wave a flag for a party rag...Choosing the Emperor's ...
Oct 20, 2013 Choosing the Emperor's New Troops. The dilemma of choice. Voting is supposed to be an exercise in thoughtful, studied choice. Local government is the foundation for good governance so even if one wants to reform the ... http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Apr 07, 2013 Old Casked Rum: The Emperor's New Tools#1 - Towards Constitutional Reform in T&T. So we've had the rounds of consultations on Constitutional Reform? Are we any wiser? Do we have a sense of direction that will drive ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Apr 30, 2013 Valuing Carnival The Emperor's New Tools#2....http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
See Also:
Jul 30, 2013 Wherever these breezes have passed, they have left in their wake wide ranging social and political changes: one the one hand toppling long time leaders with rising decibels from previously suppressed peoples demanding a ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Oct 25, 2013 Some 50 percent did not vote. The local government elections results lends further proof of the discussion began in Clash of Political Cultures: Cultural Diversity and Minority Politics in Trinidad and Tobago in Through The ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Oct 14, 2013 They are announcing some political meeting or the other; and begging for my vote, and meh road still aint fix though I hear all parts getting box drains and thing, so I vex. So peeps, you know I am a sceptic so help me decide. http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Jun 15, 2010 T&T Constitution the culprit | The Trinidad Guardian · T&T Constitution the culprit | The Trinidad Guardian. Posted by Kris Rampersad at 8:20 AM · Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Related:
Apr 30, 2010 'How we vote is not how we party.' At 'all inclusive' fetes and other forums, we nod in inebriated wisdom to calypsonian David Rudder's elucidation of the paradoxical political vs. social realities of Trinidad and Tobago. http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Oct 29, 2013 An indication that unless we devise innovative ways to address representation of our diversity, we will find ourselves in various forms of deadlock at the polls that throw us into a spiral of political tug of war albeit with not just ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Oct 16, 2013 Sheilah was clearly and sharply articulating the deficiencies in governmesaw her: a tinymite elderly woman, gracefully wrinkled, deeply over with concerns about political and institutional stagnation but brimming over with ... http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Oct 21, 2013 Ain't Trini politics d BEST! Nobody fighting because they lose. All parties claiming victory, all voting citizens won! That's what make we Carnival d best street party in the world. Everyone are winners because we all like ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/
Jan 09, 2012 New Media, New Civil Society, and Politics in a New Age | The Communication Initiative Network. New Media, New Civil Society, and Politics in a New Age | The Communication Initiative Network. Posted by Kris Rampersad ...http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/