Express Editorial : Daily

Exactly 50 years ago today, on February 26, 1970, the first salvo in what has become known as the Black Power Revolution occurred right across the road from this newspaper.

The day had started off relatively tame by news standards. A group of students and others from the St Augustine campus of The University of the West Indies, who had organised themselves as the National Joint Action Committee a year earlier, arrived in Port of Spain to stage protests outside two Canadian entities, the Canadian High Commission and the Royal Bank of Canada. The protest was an act of solidarity with Caribbean students who had been arrested and charged after staging a sit-in protest against racism at Sir George Williams University in Montreal, Canada.

With the crowd growing behind them, the protesters headed to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Independence Square where they declared the Catholic Church the biggest symbol of the “white power structure” and raised the cry of “Power to the people!”

In a symbolic statement, they threw black cloth over white statues and stuck a placard saying “Freedom Now” into the arms of one.

Any chance of the protest ending there disappeared with the arrest of eight of the protesters on charges of disturbing a place of worship and incitement. Within days, the lit spark turned into political dynamite as the frustrated hopes of newly independent Trinidad and Tobago boiled over into the streets and coalesced under the banner of the National Joint Action Committee. With the rallying cry of “Indians and Africans Unite”, NJAC launched an onslaught against the government of the People’s National Movement led by Dr Eric Williams, accusing it of protecting the colonial power structure that privileged a small white elite at the expense of the large majority of Afro and Indo-Trinidadians. Within weeks, the burgeoning Black Power Movement was transformed into the Black Power Revolution of 1970 as thousands took to the streets daily in the biggest social upheaval since the Labour Riots of 1937. For two months, the country was convulsed by massive protests to which the Williams administration seemed to have no response. Violence erupted with a series of attacks on businesses, including arson, to which the Riot Squad responded with tear gas.

On April 21, 1970, the government declared a state of emergency and curfew, prompting a mutiny in the Regiment led by young officers. What followed was a season of mass arrests, censorship and State repression which has impacted T&T’s political evolution to this day. With this also came the undeniable breakthroughs wrought by the Black Power Movement, including the thrust towards State ownership of the commanding heights of the economy, reconfiguration of the financial sector to accommodate ordinary people, and the breaking of barriers of race and colour in areas once considered the preserve of “white” Trinbagonians.

While many organisations have planned commemorative activities, the 50th anniversary of the 1970 Black Power Revolution should be embraced nationally as an opportunity to review the state of our Independence and democracy as a basis for understanding current conditions.

We can start by being less afraid and more honest about our own history.


There could be no doubt that the post-pandemic situation is fraught with many problems ranging from concerns for health, education, economy and personal situations.

Among these that may be prioritised according to our individual cares come the national concerns. Even then debate will range over which should be our priorities.

My view is that the greatest and most enduring problem will be our loss of “effective teaching-learning” time over well nigh two years.

The question posed above is probably the single most common question asked of rape victims in our pervasive culture of blaming and shaming of victims for crimes committed against them. The fact that decades of education and generations of experience have not succeeded in destroying this obvious fallacy is testimony to the enduring power of culture in shaping attitudes that inform behaviour, including self-destructive behaviour.

Then Almitra spoke, saying, We would now ask of Death. And he said, you would know the secret of death.

—Kahlil Gibran

So, one of our senior paediatricians, RT, died last week Monday and is being buried today. She was young. I was not her best friend so I would not even begin to feel the hurt and pain her friends and close colleagues are feeling at the moment. But I was a friend. The paediatric specialists family is a fairly small one in Trinidad and almost all paediatric-based persons, whether general paediatrics or subspecialty, know and interact with one another often, whether through the Paediatric Society, the hospitals, or liming groups. We all trained each other for specialty exams at some point, and everyone knows everyone.

Minister of Tourism and the Chaguaramas Development Authority staff, have you seen the state of the Chaguaramas boardwalk recently? The boardwalk is looking horrible and run-down.

The shops are no longer open, and there is a lot of moss and overgrown bush around, and not to mention the pollution.

The boardwalk can be used by criminals for illegal activities, so please upgrade the entire area. If monies were allocated to upgrade the Paramin lookout, which was not necessary, money can be allocated to update the boardwalk before the Carnival season.

We need to do better with all of our tourist attractions.

J Ali

The Christmas spirit is starting to spread around us in the malls, grocery stores and our homes. The cleaning, painting and other things that go along with Christmas are beginning to take centre stage. The heart of this is the message of love, and sharing all that pertains to love; this is what I call the spirit of Christmas.

It is a known fact that this year we have had many challenges, some much more than others, and amid everything, “bad blood” may have been created—even more so in the political arena, where we often see our two major political parties going after each other. There is tension all around us, and many are hurting for various reasons.

Reginald Dumas, don’t try to distract the public from all that is taking place in our country today. Focus on bringing bills to protect our women and children.

A 2019 poll indicated confidence in the Judiciary at around ten per cent! And to “independent” Senator Vieira, that kind of writing is on the wall. You may have confidence in the CCJ, but who has confidence in you and other independent ­senators?

The majority of people who seek justice from the courts will never actually reach to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) nor the Privy Council. Our leaders need look to improve our own justice systems instead.