President of the National Association for the Empowerment of Africans (NAEAP) Professor Selwyn Cudjoe has heavily criticised members of the media, accusing them of discriminating against against Afro-Trinidadians.
Cudjoe's also criticised the Law Association and UNC MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh for his recent statements on ethnic cleansing at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital. Speaking at the ninth annual dinner of NAEAP at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya, on Friday night, Cudjoe accused media personnel of unfairly reporting against Africans in the country.
Dressed in African attire, Cudjoe said the media have said nothing of the systematic silencing of African people, although the headlines are blazoned with everything that is negative about black people. "Yet the truth remains, nothing that we say in the black community is ever reported," he said. "No black person who expresses a view that is contrary to the dominant ideology of the media is ever given any space in the newspapers or on the television.
"Only negative stereotypes of African people are presented in our media. If one were to look at our newspapers on a daily basis, one would be led to believe that the only thing that black people do in Trinidad and Tobago is to kill and maim one another." He said nothing of African people's uniqueness or their contributions to society was published. "Instead, anything that Gopio or the Maha Sabha says is news," Cudjoe said. He said the media should not entirely be blamed for the shortcomings of Africans.
The black community, he said, has not built up its social and cultural resources to promote their achievements and to withstand the onslaught that will only intensify as time goes on. He warned of turbulent times ahead for Africans in the country. Cudjoe also called on the Government to give more systematic support to organisations such as NAEAP. The Government must be conscious of its responsibility not only to act fairly but to be seen as acting fairly to its entire population and it must also be aware of the implications of its actions, Cudjoe said.
UNC MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh was also slammed for his recent statements, claiming that there was ethnic cleansing at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital. Some three Fridays ago in Parliament, Gopeesingh spoke about there being "ethnic cleansing," and that most of the East Indian doctors from this country have had to leave the Port-of-Spain General Hospital. Gopeesingh had also accused the Government of being guilty of mass discrimination in the public health sector.
Prime Minister Patrick Manning has, however, called on Gopeesingh to withdrawn the remarks to which he has refused. Cudjoe said after Gopeesingh made his remarks on "ethnic cleansing," NAEAP issued a statement on the matter but it was never heard about in the media.