An immediate rebutt was already on my lips: ‘Whey yuh chain?’ He would understand that I meant the paraphernalia folkloric lagahoos are reputed to drag in the afterlife, since he had now migrated to the other side. Picong was always part of our discourse.
That void is adequate breeding ground for vigilantes.
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Take back schools and communities from so-called community leaders, chair of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO, Dr Kris Rampersad told educators last week.
She was addressing the closing ceremony of a joint initiative by UNESCO and the Ministry of Education in Port of Spain for pilot training of some 125 principals, school supervisors and teachers.
“For too long our children have been kidnapped and our society has been hijacked and held to ransom by bandits and criminals who are held up as community leaders and to whom, tragically, the society now seems to be turning for advice to address the very problems they create. You are the community leaders,” Rampersad told the graduates, before they were presented certificates of completion of the course, Leading for Literacy Now!
So do you feel it? Here I mean, in the Caribbean. Or is it that we are in that time lag – between being informed and accepting the information? Given that unlike other countries we perhaps have some lead time to prepare, have we considered in any cohesive way what our response would be: do we want to embrace this or shut the door on it – because, to quote a former Prime Minister, speaking in a similar context – no one shall remain unscathed….
Next: Addressing the Democratic Deficit
See….the dawn of Trinidad and Tobago’s Arab Spring…..read more in The Clash of Political Cultures – Cultural Diversity & Minority Politics in Trinidad and Tobago in Through the Political Glass Ceiling. Get Your Copy today Order NOW SPECIAL ELECTION DISCOUNT; email firstname.lastname@example.org; visit https://sites.google.com/site/krisrampersadglobal or visit Demokrissy: http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com
While Charlie King Junction in Fyzabad South Trinidad was reliving the labour struggles of the early 20th century that preceded Independence, Ambassadors, diplomats, their spouses and other enthusiasts enjoyed a simulating CiTTyscape LiTTour – Journey Through the Landscapes of Fiction of Trinidad and Tobago based on the book: LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago by Kris Rampersad.
Among those who participated were Excellencies, Ambassador of Japan Yoshimasa Tezuka and Mrs Tezuka; Ambassador of the Republic of Korea Wonkun Hwang and Mrs Kumdan Hwang; Jan Karlsson spouse of the Ambassador of the Netherlands; Anke Kessler, spouse of the Ambassador of Chile; members of Alliance Francais, musicians Katy Gainham and Eleanor Ryan; Ben Gilbert, son of the Security Adviser to the UN Department of Safety and Security for this region; artist Wendy Nanan and Alliance Francais Marie and Frank Abdullah. The tour was facilitated by author and educator in Caribbean literature, culture and heritage
Found missing DNA link to my blue blood Jahaji Bhai #Prince Harry and William and Bahin Kate. Complete ClandestineConfessions in #LetterstoLizzie: Scandalous liaisons, concocted birth certificates and fabricated blood ties in our bloodline when our ancestors came west through Amenia from India via #EastIndiaCompany, a perilous and fatal journey for Jahaji Bahin, #Princess Diana, and Bahut Aajis great gran mamas Eliza Kewart and Katherine Scott…In Letters to Lizzie coming soon…
Welcome to the family #RoyalPrince:
Photo and story from Clarence House Website. This site claims no copyrights
I am a bastard. The name I carry is not the one I was born with. And I do not refer only to the truncated byline that accompanies this article. See also prince-williams-indian-connections
(That was the Guardian’s doing. Days into what would turn out to be a career, not many moons ago, a dashing sub-editor faced me with the ultimatum of truncating my name or run the risk of not being credited for my articles. My given name would take up an entire paragraph, and space was a valuable newspaper asset, he argued, rather convincingly. I acquiesced. It reincarnated into Kris, his option over Krissy – that one had come in the late years of primary school, so christened by a teacher from “town,” fresh out of Training College.) For years I harboured clandestine thoughts that I was a bastard. In times when I wanted to disown my family, I convinced myself I was orphaned; on better days I savoured my secret – that I was a love child. While I combed her hair, made wavy from decades of plaiting, or massaged her back, I would smilingly indulge in this little secret I shared with my ma. She groaned approvingly every time I massaged an ache out. I dread to think what her real reaction would have been had I voiced my thoughts…But it was not just my imagination running wild. My bastardisation was the doing of the State. It began when I discovered my birth certificate a few weeks before sitting the Common Entrance examination. Under the column “Father’s name” there was a dash. Nothing else. A dash, then blank. Everyone assumed I was Rampersad because my many, many brothers and sisters carried one of my father’s names, and when you’re number 10 on the list you can’t really choose your name, or so they thought. I’d disprove it trice. Though all my official records made me his, his name was not on the birth certificate. Instead, that carefully rolled, still crisp but yellowing piece of paper ma kept in her secret place stated I was a Sookraj. Even when Rampersad went to the Red House in Port-of-Spain to swear I was his, I reserved the option of being Sookraj when I wanted. Really, I should be Kris (blank) or Kris — (dash). Three years ago, I again saw Sookraj named on paper. One then long-unknown cousin, Nelson Ramdeen, was tracing his maternal ancestors and it led him to my mother. He jotted down all our names, and the names of the children of my siblings, and the names of ma’s siblings, and their children, and her mother’s name, and her father’s name: Sookraj, a grandpa I had never known. Her unregistered Hindu marriage to my father not being recognised by law, not even 10 children later, I was stuck with her father’s name, her maiden name, hence her love child, and my romanticised bastard status. So Rampersad is the name that defines my place in a place that didn’t recognise my parents’ cultural relationships – an oral culture – but placed emphasis on things written. Writing made things real. In that way too, Moneah became real. From Ramdeen’s research, she popped to life. He traced my mother’s lineage to this faceless woman, who, for whatever reason, at age 22, from Dinapore village in Patna, India, packed her husband, Ramchurn, and her Jahaji bundle; boarded the Hougoumont on October 13, 1870; braved four months of treacherous, unfamiliar kala pani, to arrive in Trinidad four months, two days later – on February 15, 1871, one day after what would come to be known as Valentine’s Day. Thus began her love affair with Trinidad, which would outlive two husbands, spawn 10 (known) children, some 50 grandchildren (and counting, some blanks still exist); each of those had on average 40 grandchildren; each of those some 30 grands. Five generations later, I need a better capacity for math than I now possess to calculate Moneah’s contribution to Trinidad and Tobago’s voting and working population and to the Trinidad diaspora in North America, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Caribbean, which a rough estimate places beyond 5,000 human souls in various professions. (All except politics, the family jokes, and on the agenda is a motion to disown from Moneah’s lineage any who enters that profession at the next clan gathering – the first was three years ago, 130 years after Moneah’s arrival, so the next might not be until another century or so.) Moneah now lives: In the faces and the mannerisms and quirks of character of the some 3,000 women who can trace a bloodline to her. From what I know of some of those women in her lineage, I could see her, on Ramchurn’s death two and a half years after their landing, pulling her widowed orhini over her head and shrugging off considerations of becoming Suti and dying with her husband, saying, “Sati who? Mere nam, Moneah” (Meh name’s Moneah). She would mourn him properly in the traditionally defined ways, and two years later consort with our grandsire, Shewpersad, who said farewell to his cows and his village Semaie in Boodha, Gorukhpur, boarded the Brechin Castle (ship) on December 26, 1874, to Trinidad and 25 years of Moneah. Those two would seed Trinidad soil with cane and cabbages, pumpkins and pawpaws, and offspring like peas. Though only one of her sons, one great grandaughter, and two great, great grandsons would demonstrably exceed her level of fertility, the average offspring of each of the descendants over five generations stands around six. Several have inherited her genes of outliving husbands. They include beef-eating Hindus, pork-eating Muslims, bhajan-singing Christians; through their veins have flowed T&T’s coconut water and Carib, French wine, Scottish whisky, Japanese sake, India’s lassi, and whatever other beverages rage in the places they have settled and spawned their own dynasties – in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and India. A solid bridge now stretches seven generations – each step boldly labelled – towards Moneah. Because we know her name.
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So masmen are enflamed. Again. Over prize money. Again. Are at loggerheads with the powers that be. Again.
It’s the continuing saga of bacchanalia.
Unless we weed out the endemic systems of dependency on which the celebrations were founded; and the governance system recast itself as mechanism that has the will to act; to revamp and develop adequate systems and structures and institutions that nurture and support artists and creators in ways that make them self-reliant, and that make the Carnival and other Festival Arts into the viable and sustainable creative industrial sector they can be, the recurring impasse over prizes, prize structure and prize money for pan, mas, calypso, soca, chutney, stickfighting, Hosay, Divali, Phagwa, Pichakarie, and everything in between would remain the never-ending story.
Somewhere in there is also the recurringly invisible cultural policy in state of perpetual draft over the last 50 odd years of so – yes, 50 years – and each time it resurfaces merely replicates the dependency syndrome!
Is it any wonder that we cannot see our way, despite the rich amalgam of talent and creativity we exhibit in our daily lives. Shortsightedness continues to doggers.
Where are the well-thought-out budgets that look beyond just the annual seven day wonder to an Industry? That takes into full account the contributions and the value – social, economic, political and other value included – of the cultural sector so budgetary focus can match that contribution, not reflect tokenism.
Where is the vision for building proper supportive trade and commercial structures and mechanisms?
Where are the mechaniims and facilities and facilitation for those more meaningful forms of compensation as insurance, pensions, support grants, support training and services that would build and strengthen the sector so ever so regularly we would not have to hear of how another of our artists is close to the breadline?
And where is the will by those in the sector – policy and decision makers, the corporate sector, and practitioners alike, to make it happen?
Are we really serious. Who’s fooling whom?
These are some of the endemic systematic changes and modes for institutional reform in a culture of transformation that discussions on constitutional reform should also take into account – how to redress the kind of institutional malaise that are inhibiting progress and meaningful development and effectively restructure public institutions, their relationships with the state and the state’s relationships to the civic mechanisms that they ought to sustain.
Yeah, the shame runs deep and so too the damage done, so how do u begin to repair? more in Letters To Lizzie see https://sites.google.com/site/krisrampersadglobal
Britain’s colonial shame: Slave-owners given huge payouts after abolition