I write this open letter to Queen of the Warao Nation, Donna Bermudez and Shabaka Kambon.
My father is of African decent and my mother is a descendant of the Caribs.
You have been in recent days advocating for the removal of Christopher Columbus statue. You have pointed out that he was the main cause of enslavement of your people.
Let me teach you a little history lesson that I am sure that you are aware of but have hidden from public view to your own gain.
Fact 1: Long before Christopher Columbus came to these shores, there was inter tribal rivalry between various Amerindian groups which saw enslavement of one group over another.
History showed that the Caribs were the main perpetrators of this, having enslaved their weaker companions the Arawaks. The same could be said of the Aztecs and Mayan civilisation. This was the practice for many years before Columbus came.
Fact 2: You speak of erasing colonial ways of life yet you cling and took advantage of colonial ways of life such as in the Spanish and English colonial educations system, health system, clothes that you wear, language that you speak (English) and technology such as the cellphone which was developed by a westerner.
If you so believed in your ideas and conviction why not give up all these luxuries? I noted that in you meeting with the Mayor of Port of Spain, Kambon wore a colonial grey suit not African attire whilst Bermudez wore jeans and jersey—colonial attire.
You speak of erasing colonial artifacts and traces but wear it.
Fact 3: The white man did not just go into Africa and the new world and forcibly enslave the native population. No white Portuguese and English trader could have gone into Africa by themselves and successfully capture and forcibly remove large hordes of Africans without the complicit help of African chiefs who knew the interior and layout of the land and who history would show, captured the slaves for the white man in exchange for gun powder, rifles, gold, precious metals and glass etc.
In other words, the Africans themselves sold their brothers into slavery and it was common practice to trade in slaves in Africa at the time between tribes.
The same thing could be said for the new world where some chiefs aided and abetted the capture of their weaker tribe folk for 30 pieces of silver.
Fact 4: Slavery and conquest among people existed and will always exist in one form or another. Of course it is wrong, but we must learn from the past and not try to erase memory of it for fear of it being repeated.
I am a proud Trinidadian. I would also like to take a page out of Gary Griffith’s book and ask the question.
What has Kambon done for African people in T&T who continue to slaughter each other daily via gun violence. I have not heard his voice once, calling on this violence to stop.
Similarly what has Bermudez done to help our people. Her voice is silent on the crime and genocide that is taking place in T&T right now. Your call for removing Columbus statue is racist in itself as you do not respect other views or other races contribution to society.
You people are opportunists looking for attention, as you have realised that you are becoming irrelevant in society and are hypocrites. You preach one thing and do another.
If you would like to stand up for your people, do like the indigenous people of Canada who dress in their indigenous clothes, eat indigenous foods only and don’t partake in western luxuries of life.
Give up your cars, western foods, don’t use planes to travel and don’t travel to any western country for vacation because they are colonial.
Why don’t you get funding to make a statue commemorating African and Amerindian People who contributed significantly to your community? I am sure no one will object to that, Mr Martinez.
Don’t be fooled by these people who are just opportunists looking for an opportunity to sound relevant. I am a proud Trinidadian and would like my Columbus statue and all other relics to stay so that our history can be preserved.