Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Winston "Gypsy" Peters says in 1997 when he sang "Little Black Boy" he was criticised by "black" people. He said nothing had changed since he sang the song. Peters said young Afro-Trinidadians were still killing each other and the jails were occupied by them. He said it was unfortunate the hotspot areas were populated by Afro-Trinidadians. He was speaking in the Parliament on Sunday during the debate on the extension of the state of emergency. The extension has been approved for three months with a reduction in the curfew hours.
Peters said: "It was me, who many years ago when I looked at what young black people were doing to themselves in this country, I wrote a song called 'Little Black Boy' and the very black people today who are castigating this Government and who are in some way implying that they are calling a state of emergency only to suppress black people, they themselves, Mr Speaker, when I said to them:
'Little black boy, go to school and learn;
'Little black boy show some concern;
'Little black boy education is the key to get you off the streets and off poverty.'
"Mr Speaker, black people are the ones who came down on my back very, very heavily and said I didn't like black people for telling them that." he added.
Peters said the price the country was paying today for crime didn't start with the current administration.
He said what was happening today was the effects of what was not corrected over the years. Peters said: "And so today, Mr Speaker, we have to call a state of emergency." He said the statistics he has seen showed the people who were dying "most" were young Afro-Trinidadians. Peters said: "When I look at the people who are murdering these people, are themselves young, black people. "Mr Speaker, when I look at the jails and in my song, I did in fact say:
'Look in the jail and see who you see too;
'I see a lot of little black boys just like you.'
"Mr Speaker, nothing has changed."
He said right-thinking people would not mind the inconvenience caused by the state of emergency for the next three months and that any poll would show the majority of citizens was in favour of it. Peters said Government took an oath to protect the people of the country and was addresing the escalating crime situation. He said while the Opposition MPs made their contributions, he saw pain etched on their faces.
He said they didn't even believe in what they were saying.
He added: "They want the state of emergency, you know. It's just that they don't have the will and their collective responsibility is to follow their leader." The state of emergency was a legal tool and justified under the conditions prevailing in society, he said.